Mike Rizzo wasn’t kidding about Davey Johnson winning a fishing tournament

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When talking to reporters yesterday about why Davey Johnson remains unsigned Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo noted how the manager was keeping himself busy: “I know he was in a fishing tournament. And he won the damn tournament.”

Sarah Kogod of the Washington Post did some digging and found that, sure enough, Johnson recently took part in the Redbone fishing tournament in Islamorada, Florida and “was named celebrity grand champion.”

Florida Sportsman Newswire has the details (and the accompanying photo):

Davey Johnson, manager of the Washington Nationals, released three redfish on artificial and one bonefish on bait to be named celebrity grand champion. A resident of Winter Park, Fla., Johnson fished with Islamorada’s Captain Paul Tejera.

Preceding the silver anniversary event, Johnson and Nicole Ellis, daughter of Redbone founder Gary Ellis, placed a memorial wreath in Florida Keys waters. Nicole Ellis, now 28, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at birth.

The ceremonial wreath signified remembrance of the late Boston Red Sox slugger Ted Williams, who was instrumental in helping Gary Ellis initiate the light-tackle fishing tournaments. To date, the Redbone series has raised some $18 million for the cause.

Would it be too easy to make a joke about Johnson not handing the fish to Drew Storen because he’ll let it get away? Yes? OK, nevermind then.

The Tigers are trying to convert Anthony Gose into a pitcher

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Tigers’ center fielder Anthony Gose wants to try his hand at pitching, according to comments made by manager Brad Ausmus on Sunday. Gose is poised to start the year in Triple-A Toledo after receiving a midseason demotion to Double-A last summer following an altercation with Triple-A manager Lloyd McClendon.

While the experiment won’t detract from Gose’s outfield work in Triple-A, the 26-year-old is expected to take on additional bullpen sessions throughout the year. According to MLB.com’s Jason Beck, the left-handed hitter last took the mound in high school, where his fastball was clocked as fast as 97 m.p.h. Gose ultimately rejected the idea of starting his professional career as a pitcher, despite receiving favorable assessments from scouts.

Ausmus said the idea first surfaced at the end of the 2016 season. It appears to be a fallback option for the outfielder, who has struggled at the plate over his five-year career in the majors. Via Chris McCosky of the Detroit News:

Doolittle in Oakland did it and he was in the big leagues a couple of years later,” Ausmus said. “It’s going to take some time. He’s going to have to be a sponge and catch up on experience fast. But we feel it’s worth investigating.

Stephen Strasburg is the Nationals’ Opening Day starter

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Nationals’ right-hander Stephen Strasburg will take the mound for the club on Opening Day, manager Dusty Baker said on Sunday. The news is hardly surprising given Max Scherzer’s questionable status this spring, though it had yet to be confirmed by the club.

Strasburg is approaching his eighth run with the club in 2017. He went 15-4 in 2016, finishing the year with a 3.60 ERA, 2.7 BB/9 and 11.2 SO/9 in 147 2/3 innings. This will mark his fourth Opening Day assignment with the Nationals.

Scherzer, the Nationals’ Opening Day starter in both 2015 and 2016, is scheduled to make his season debut sometime during the first week of the season. The right-hander is expected to take things more slowly this spring as he finishes rehabbing a stress fracture in his finger.

The Nationals will open their season against the Marlins on April 3.