Paul Konerko making progress from concussion

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Paul Konerko landed on the seven-day disabled list with a concussion on Friday after taking an elbow to the head during a play at first base last Tuesday, but the White Sox are encouraged by his progress.

According to Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com, White Sox manager Robin Ventura said Konerko underwent a battery of concussion tests at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago today and was cleared to begin limited physical activity tomorrow.

“Everything is looking good,” Ventura said. “(Tuesday) he’ll probably start riding bike and doing physical stuff. I don’t know if he will do a whole lot of baseball stuff, but he will start getting some activity in to see how that goes. But things are progressing.”

Konerko will likely be limited to riding a bike and perhaps playing catch before progressing to to other baseball activities. It remains to be seen how he’ll respond to the increased activity, but Ventura didn’t completely rule out the possibility that he could return when he’s first eligible Friday.

Konerko, 36, is batting .318/.388/.504 with 18 home runs, 54 RBI and an .892 OPS in 101 games played this season. The White Sox are 2-2 during his absence.

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.