Ryan Vogelsong and Freddy Sanchez likely to begin season on the disabled list

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Ryan Vogelsong and Freddy Sanchez are both making progress from their respective injuries, but neither are expected to be on the Giants’ active roster come Opening Day.

Vogelsong was slowed in the early days of camp due to back spasms and just made his first appearance of the spring yesterday during a minor league game. He threw only 24 pitches and likely won’t be stretched out in time for Opening Day, so Giants manager Bruce Bochy told Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com that they are considering skipping his first turn in the rotation and starting him when the team first needs a fifth starter on April 15.

“We’re being cautious and he knows that, Bochy said of Vogelsong, who strained his lower back in the weight room in early February. “We’ll take this slow. We’re not going to push him to get him ready for his first start.”

As for Sanchez, he is currently working his way back from season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder last August. The 34-year-old is expected to make his first start at second base this weekend in a minor league game, but the Giants have given him the option not to throw on ground balls in the hole if he doesn’t feel comfortable.

That doesn’t sound like someone who is anywhere close to ready and Bochy admits there’s a “strong possibility” that Sanchez will begin the year on the disabled list. Ryan Theriot and Mike Fontenot will likely fill in at second base until he’s ready to go.

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.