What special skills does it take to be the Opening Day starter?


Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com reports that, because Matt Garza may not be healthy by then, Jeff Samardzjia could be the Cubs’ Opening Day starter. Here’s what Dale Sveum says about that:

“We’re still waiting to see what happens with ‘Garz,’ how he comes along,” Samardzija said. “They know where I stand on it and how I feel. But it’s nice to have a few guys that are capable of doing it. Hopefully, it gets decided out on the field instead of in the training room.

It’s a baseball game. What starting pitcher who makes a 25-man roster is not “capable” of doing that?  I realize being named the Opening Day starter is often an honor, but I sure hope we’re not allowing our fetishization of that to creep beyond the narrow topic of Jack Morris’ Hall of Fame credentials.

It’s one game, often a weird one, played in cold weather, after a bunch of festivities which often delay the start time and in front of a sellout crowd regardless of the team’s quality or the game’s actual strategic import.

Indeed, it would probably make sense to put your cannon fodder out on Opening Day. He’s not gonna hurt the gate at least.

Reds claim Kennys Vargas off waivers from Twins

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The Twins’ Dustin Morse announced on Thursday that the Reds claimed first baseman Kennys Vargas off waivers. The Twins had designated him for assignment last Friday.

Vargas was a man without a spot on the Twins’ roster as he has only played first base and DH, but the club has Joe Mauer and Logan Morrison for those spots. The Reds aren’t much better as Joey Votto lays claim to first base and there is no DH in the National League. Vargas switch-hits and has some power, so he will presumably provide that off the bench for the Reds.

Across parts of four seasons in the majors, Vargas has hit .252/.311/.437 with 35 home runs and 116 RBI in 859 plate appearances.