Michael Morse will ‘for sure’ return to the Nationals by June 8

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The Nats are about to get an injection of power.

According to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post, Nationals manager Davey Johnson told reporters Wednesday that rehabbing slugger Michael Morse will “for sure” be ready for activation by June 8.

That’s when Washington will kick off a three-game interleague series in Boston, where Morse will be allowed to serve as the team’s desiganted hitter.

The 30-year-old has been on the disabled list since the end of spring training with a torn right lat muscle. He recently headed down to Viera, Florida to being participating in extended spring training games.

Morse posted a sparkling .303/.360/.550 batting line, 31 home runs and 95 RBI last season.

The Nationals enter play Wednesday night with a half-game lead over the Braves in the NL East.

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.