Dodgers sign Jesus Flores to minor league deal

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Once upon a time Jesus Flores was a promising young catcher and part of the Nationals’ long-term plans, but injuries derailed his career and he was non-tendered after falling to third on the depth chart behind Kurt Suzuki and Wilson Ramos.

Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports that Flores has agreed to a minor-league deal with the Dodgers that includes an invitation to spring training, where he’ll compete to back up starter A.J. Ellis.

After missing most of 2009-2011 he played 83 games and logged 296 plate appearances last season, but Flores hit just .213 with a .577 OPS and threw out 15 percent of steal attempts.

At age 28 he seemingly has a decent shot to win a bench job in Los Angeles.

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.