Justin Verlander to make fourth straight Opening Day start for Tigers

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Jim Leyland has joined the early Opening Day starter announcement fun, saying that he’ll go with Justin Verlander in Game 1 for the fourth consecutive year.

Leyland added that Max Scherzer will start Game 3 in order to line him up for the Tigers’ home opener, but didn’t say who’ll be getting the nod in Game 2. Rick Porcello, Phil Coke, and Brad Penny are expected to fill out the rest of the rotation.

Verlander, who’ll kick things off against the Yankees in New York on March 31, got a no-decision against the Royals on Opening Day last season while allowing four runs in five innings.

Dallas Keuchel to return to Astros’ rotation on Friday

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Astros manager A.J. Hinch told the media, including MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart, that starter Dallas Keuchel will come off of the disabled list and rejoin the rotation on Friday against the Tigers. Keuchel has missed nearly two months with a neck injury.

Prior to landing on the DL, Keuchel was 9-0 with a 1.67 ERA and a 69/18 K/BB ratio over 75 2/3 innings. He seemed to be on his way to potentially win another Cy Young Award.

Hinch also noted that Collin McHugh will start on Saturday and Lance McCullers will start on Sunday.

Video: Ketel Marte hits an inside-the-park home run

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Braves starter Aaron Blair had a nightmarish bottom of the third inning on Wednesday afternoon against the Diamondbacks. He had just given up a run on a Daniel Descalso triple hit to center field that center fielder Ender Inciarte read poorly. In the following at-bat, Ketel Marte laced a curve ball to right field. Sean Rodriguez wasn’t able to get to it in time, so the ball bounced off the fence and caromed back towards the stands along the right field line. By the time Rodriguez was able to retrieve the ball, Marte was already on his way home and scored standing up.

The inside-the-park homer will certainly provide a boost to Marte’s stats. He entered Wednesday’s action batting .196/.255/.370 in 51 plate appearances.