According to Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle, Roger Clemens is on the verge of taking an “active role” with the Astros. While there were all sorts of rumblings late last year about him making a comeback, the 50-year-old will not be pitching.
As of now, the Astros envision Clemens providing guidance to their pitchers during spring training and the regular season. The seven-time Cy Young Award winner is scheduled to meet with general manager Jeff Luhnow next Monday to discuss some of the details.
“We’ve got the whole calendar mapped out and we’re going to sort of figure out what makes sense,” Luhnow said Monday. “But the idea is to plug him in in spring training, plug him in throughout the season, and just have him get a lot more involved with our pitchers.”
Clemens agreed to a personal services contract under former Astros owner Drayton McLane, but he hasn’t been involved with the club since 2007. However, after he was acquitted of all charges in his perjury trial last summer, new owner Jim Crane said that he would welcome him back into the organization. Now he’s ready to make good.
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.