Brewers owner gives general manager Doug Melvin a vote of confidence

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Despite back-to-back losing seasons Brewers owner Mark Attanasio gave general manager Doug Melvin a strong vote of confidence yesterday, saying: “He’s the guy next year.”
Attanasio admitted to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Melvin had “a tough season” but added that “in my six seasons here this was his first tough season” while noting the GM “still has two years on his contract.”
However, the owner stopped short of giving the same vote of confidence to manager Ken Macha, saying instead that “Doug is still doing his work” in evaluating Macha and “Doug and I will meet and have an end-of-the-season assessment and go from there.”
His reluctance to include Macha in the vote-of-confidence mix is noteworthy because earlier this week Buster Olney of ESPN.com reported that Macha is likely to be fired “unless there’s a last-hour change of heart on the part of the Brewers.”
Macha was hired to replace Ned Yost, who Melvin fired with a dozen games remaining in a 2008 season that saw the Brewers win 90 games and make the playoffs for the first time since 1982.

Jon Gray will start Opening Day for the Rockies

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Manager Bud Black has tabbed Jon Gray to start on Opening Day for the Rockies. That will be Monday, April 3 in Milwaukee against the Brewers in an afternoon contest.

Gray, 25, is starting Opening Day for the first time in his career. He’ll be the sixth different Rockies pitcher to start Opening Day in as many years.

The Rockies and Gray had a bit of a scare on Friday as he left his spring training start with discomfort in his left foot, but everything came up clean in an MRI. He pitched again on Wednesday with no issue.

Last season, Gray went 10-10 with a 4.61 ERA and a 185/59 K/BB ratio in 168 innings. A consensus top prospect entering each of the previous three seasons, Gray surprisingly put up better numbers at Coors Field — the most hitter-friendly park in baseball — than away.

Blake Treinen named Nationals closer

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Today Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker named Blake Treinen as his closer. Treinen has saved exactly one big league game.

There wasn’t necessarily an obvious choice, however. Last year Washington had Mark Melancon, but with him gone and GM Mike Rizzo’s failure to land a high-profile closer in the offseason, it became a contest between Treinen Shawn Kelley and Koda Glover.

Treinen posted a 2.28 ERA with 31 walks and 63 Ks in 67 innings in 2016. His big improvement last year came against lefties, who had tattooed him in the past. He pitched well this spring as well, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything.

The Nats are our favorites to win the NL East, but we do have some questions about the pen. Blake Treinen will take the first crack at answering them.