Nationals first-round pick Lucas Giolito re-injures elbow

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Lucas Giolito was in the mix to be the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft until an elbow injury ended his high school season.

He fell to the Nationals with the 16th overall pick and signed just before the deadline for $2.925 million. And now after just one minor-league start his elbow is injured again.

Keith Law of ESPN.com reports that Giolito was pulled from his debut after two innings because he showed decreased velocity and the right-hander will be examined later this week by Dr. Lewis Yocum.

Elbow surgery wouldn’t be a death sentence for an 18-year-old pitcher, obviously, and the Nationals would probably still have taken Giolito at No. 16 if they knew he’d need to go under the knife. Even after 12 months on the sidelines and the uncertain nature of the recovery in general his upside would still be much higher than a typical mid-first rounder. And clearly they knew it was a strong possibility.

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.