UPDATE: the Jim Joyce Twitter account is a hoax

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UPDATE: No one has said so or anything (OK, now they have!) but just plain logic is causing most people to believe that the Joyce Twitter account is a fake. The avatar thing is just too nuts. And it’s not likely that that Major League Baseball would allow such a thing anyway.

How did I get suckered? Just lazy, I guess. Fake accounts tend to be over the top. That this one wasn’t probably threw me. I’m usually sharper and more skeptical than that, so who knows what my problem was. I suppose I was just caught up in a credulous moment this morning.

Still, there was something positive here. As I said a few minutes ago, I heard about this from secretly viewing Jon Heyman’s Twitter feed (shhh! don’t tell him!). Which means that someone is
pulling a prank on Heyman, because he believed it. I don’t approve of Twitter hoaxes, and I sure as hell don’t like being duped just like Heyman was, but I do
approve of people messing with Heyman, so consider me conflicted
here.

11:35 A.M.: Here’s something I wasn’t expecting: infamous-then-noble umpire Jim Joyce started up a Twitter account late last night. The best part: at first his avatar was a screen-cap of his call at first base in the Galarraga game, showing that Joyce has either a good sense of humor or a great perspective or both.  He changed it, though, because people thought it was one of the many hoax celebrity (such as he is) Twitter accounts.  This is legit though. (Update: rather, it probably isn’t)

If I had to guess it will soon go quiet, like so many Twitter accounts do. At the very least by the beginning of next year because I bet Major League Baseball doesn’t want umpires on Twitter.  I kind of hope not, though.  Anything that cuts through the filters and static between newsmakers and the public is a good thing.

Gerrit Cole named Pirates’ Opening Day starter

BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photograph during MLB spring training photo day on February 19, 2017 at Pirate City in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.

The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.

Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.

Brett Anderson and Mike Montgomery could share Cubs’ rotation spot in 2017

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 01:  Mike Montgomery #38 of the Chicago Cubs throws a pitch during the seventh inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game Six of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 1, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon hasn’t selected a fifth starter for his 2017 rotation yet, but told reporters that he could envision left-handers Brett Anderson and Mike Montgomery sharing the spot throughout the year. Neither pitcher was stretched out to the full 200-inning threshold last year, Maddon added, and suggested that the two could alternate innings out of the rotation and bullpen as needed (via MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat).

Anderson, 29, was acquired by the Cubs in January on a $3.5 million deal. He’s coming off a rough 2016, during which he underwent back surgery and missed all but 11 1/3 innings of his last season with the Dodgers. His last full, healthy year in the majors yielded a 3.69 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 5.8 SO/9 over 180 1/3 innings with Los Angeles in 2015.

Montgomery, meanwhile, is vying for a rotation spot after pitching almost exclusively from the bullpen during the second half of the Cubs’ 2016 run. The 27-year-old lefty put up a 2.82 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings for Chicago last year, returning in the postseason to post a 3.14 ERA during the Cubs’ championship finish.

Maddon also mentioned the possibility of throwing a sixth starter into the mix, which would help prevent his other starters from getting overworked too early in the year. Either way, Anderson and Montgomery are expected to get a lot of looks early in spring training as rotation spots are finalized in the weeks leading up to Opening Day.