Aroldis Chapman feels “a lot better” after recent bout with shoulder fatigue

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Aroldis Chapman is currently getting a bit of a break due to a fatigued left shoulder, but he’s confident he’ll be blowing away opposing batters again real soon.

According to Christina De Nicola of MLB.com, Chapman said he felt “a lot better” after making 40 throws earlier today while playing long toss from a distance of 40-50 feet. He hopes to return “in a few more days.”

The Reds decided to shut Chapman down this week after he showed diminished velocity while walking three of the five batters he faced on Monday against the Pirates. This was one appearance after he blew a save against the Astros last Friday by giving up four hits, including a three-run homer to Matt Dominguez.

Chapman said he has dealt with fatigue multiple times in his career and chalks it up to a matter of conditioning.

“There’s a long season and sometimes you forget about continuing to do some exercises and you get fatigued,” Chapman said.

Chapman has an incredible 1.60 ERA and 119/20 K/BB ratio over 67 2/3 innings this season and is currently tied with Braves’ closer Craig Kimbrel for the National League lead with 35 saves. The Reds opened play tonight with an 11-game lead in the National League Central, so they have the luxury of resting him until he’s right.

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.