Victor Martinez “really happy” with first game action since knee surgery

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Victor Martinez saw his first game action today since knee surgery ended his 2012 season before it even began and felt pretty good despite going 0-for-2 against the Braves.

Martinez, who will stick to designated hitter this year and not see any time behind the plate for the Tigers, told Chris Iott of MLive.com:

I’m going to go home really happy. I thought I made good contact. I saw the ball good. It felt good … Honestly, I’m not really thinking about the knee. I’m just letting the fans know, I’m not thinking about it. I come to spring training now like I used to be: just getting ready to get to the season.

Last season Tigers designated hitters combined for a .257 batting average and .687. Martinez hit .330 with an .850 OPS in 2011 and has never posted an OPS below .800 in a full season.

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.