Pirates place Jose Tabata on DL with quadriceps injury

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Jose Tabata was carted off the field Friday with a quadriceps injury and today the Pirates placed him on the disabled list, calling up Josh Harrison from Triple-A to take his roster spot.

Tabata avoided a serious injury, with the official diagnosis being merely a strain, but there’s pretty good chance the 22-year-old outfielder will need more than the minimum 15 days on the sidelines.

Alex Presley figures to see most of the action in left field with Tabata out and is deserving of an extended opportunity at age 25 after following up last season’s .320 batting average between Double-A and Triple-A with a .336 mark at Triple-A this year.

Prior to the injury Tabata had taken a small step backward from his strong rookie season, hitting .265 with three homers, 14 steals, and a .705 OPS in 71 games.

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.