Nats name bench coach John McLaren as interim manager


The Nationals were shocked and upset by manager Jim Riggleman’s sudden resignation after Thursday’s victory over Seattle. But it didn’t take long for the team to find a temporary replacement.

According to Ben Goessling of MASN, bench coach John McLaren has been promoted to the post of interim manager and will skipper his first game Friday night against the White Sox.

McLaren served as manager for the Mariners in parts of 2007 and 2008, posting a 68-88 win-loss record. He was also a player at one time, but his career peaked at the Triple-A level and he hung up his cleats for good at the end of the 1976 season.

Mark Zuckerman of CSN Washington has heard from sources that McLaren is only being viewed as a “short-term” option and that another interim manager could be named later this summer. Either way, the 59-year-old takes over a promising 38-37 squad and will do all he can to keep the good times rolling.

Blue Jays name J.A. Happ their Opening Day starter

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The Toronto Blue Jays have named J.A. Happ their Opening Day starter. He’ll face off against Luis Severino and the New York Yankees on March 29 in Toronto.

Based on last season’s stats you’d assume Marcus Stroman would get the Opening Day assignment, but he has been slowed by a right shoulder inflammation this spring. He’ll get three extra days rest to start the season and start the finale of the four-game series against the Yankees. After Happ will come Aaron Sanchez and Marco Estrada. Jaime Garcia will be the fifth starter.

Happ, 35, is entering the final year of a three-year, $36 million deal.  He went 10-11 with a 3.53 ERA in 25 starts last season.