Terry Francona broadcast last night’s Yankees-Red Sox game for ESPN, but before that the former Boston manager had what Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe describes as “a long conversation with six players and bench coach Tim Bogar” in the Red Sox clubhouse Saturday.
Francona apparently feared that might upset the man who replaced him as manager, so he sent an apology to Bobby Valentine via text message.
“I didn’t think it was any big deal,” Valentine told Abraham. “I didn’t see it. I wasn’t there partaking in the conversation. But what’s the big deal?”
And then Sunday morning, as part of the usual pregame prep for ESPN, Francona and his announcing partners Dan Shulman and Orel Hershiser met with Valentine. And according to Valentine the previous day’s clubhouse meeting and subsequent texting didn’t even come up.
Realistically this whole thing isn’t much of a story, but the real headline here is that Valentine turned down an opportunity to make a big deal out of something.
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.
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.