Dusty Baker doesn’t expect Scott Rolen to play again this year

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Scott Rolen has been out since mid-July following shoulder surgery and manager Dusty Baker told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer that he doesn’t expect the veteran third baseman to play again this season.

Rolen was initially given a 4-6 week recovery timetable and as recently as August 29 expressed optimism about being close to a return, but he also has a long history of shoulder problems and with the Reds out of contention there’s little reason to push him for some relatively meaningless late-season appearances.

Rolen, who hit just .242 with a .676 OPS in 65 games before being shut down, is under contract next season for $6.5 million at age 37. He’s hopeful that the surgery will eventually give him increased shoulder strength, but at this point Rolen will enter 2012 as a big question mark.

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.