Kevin Gregg could return to Blue Jays next season

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The Blue Jays declined a pair of options on Kevin Gregg this week, making him a free agent. But with no in-house favorite to close games with Scott Downs and Jason Frasor also poised to hit the free agency, Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos told Robert McLoed of the Globe and Mail that he isn’t ready to dismiss the possibility that Gregg could return next season.

“Like I explained to Kevin last night, we’re not prepared to lock him in right now,” Anthopoulos said. “But we may very well come back to him in two weeks or three weeks from now, after we’ve had a chance to continue to work through the off-season and the market.”

Anthopoulos added that Gregg was “very open” about the possibility of returning to the club.

Gregg, 32, posted a 3.51 ERA, 58/30 K/BB ratio and 37 saves in 43 chances over 59 innings this past season. The Jays gave him a $750,000 buyout this week, which suggests that Anthopoulous didn’t think it was worth it to retain Gregg for $3.75 million next season. He certainly isn’t anything special as far as closers go, but the Jays would do well to revisit the situation if the market dries up.

Check out Minute Maid Park without Tal’s Hill

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During the offseason, the Astros finally got rid of Tal’s Hill in center field. It was a throwback to older stadiums, some of which had uneven topography — Crosley Field, namely. As unique as it was in the age of cookie cutter sports stadiums, most of us were holding our collective breaths hoping no one ruptured an Achilles or suffered another brutal injury trying to navigate the hill while attempting to catch a fly ball.

We saw what it looked like during reconstruction:

And now, via Julia Morales of ROOT Sports, we see what it looks like after all the work has been done:

The Astros are allowing fans with Lexus Field Club tickets to stand on the new warning track to watch batting practice and shag fly balls as well, Morales notes. Lexus Field Club is where Tal’s Hill used to be.

Good riddance, Tal’s Hill.

Jhoulys Chacin will start Opening Day for the Padres

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Jhoulys Chacin will start on Opening Day, April 3 against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. It will be Chacin’s second Opening Day start, the other coming in 2013 with the Rockies against the Brewers. He’ll be the fifth different Padres pitcher in as many years to start on Opening Day.

Chacin, 29, inked a one-year, $1.75 million contract with the Padres in December. The right-hander spent the 2016 season with the Braves and Angels, compiling an aggregate 4.81 ERA with a 119/55 K/BB ratio in 144 innings.

Lin notes that Chacin will be followed in the rotation by Clayton Richard and Jered Weaver. It will be an interesting rotation, to say the least, as it will arguably be the worst in baseball.