For the second straight season Edinson Volquez will get the Opening Day start for the Padres.
Volquez wasn’t very good last year, walking a league-high 105 batters in 183 innings while posting a 4.14 ERA that was much worse than average considering the Padres’ pitcher-friendly ballpark. He was particularly bad in the second half, allowing 117 baserunners in 75 innings on the way to a 5.14 ERA.
Of course, the Padres don’t have many other options for the Game 1 assignment. Clayton Richard was slightly more effective than Volquez in 2012, but his 3.99 ERA was hardly impressive and he gave up 228 hits in 219 innings.
Update (6:48 PM EST): Topkin reports the contract will be of the major league variety.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays and free agent reliever Shawn Tolleson are close to finalizing a contract.
Tolleson, who turns 29 years old on Thursday, had an ugly 2016 season, finishing with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He was one of the Rangers’ best relievers in the two seasons prior to that, however, which included saving 35 games in 2015.
The big presidential pardon news today concerns the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence. We’ll leave that aside. For our purposes, know that someone in the world of baseball was pardoned: Willie McCovey.
Yes, Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, who in 1995 pleaded guilty to income tax fraud related to the non-reporting of income received from memorabilia and autograph shows. Duke Snider pleaded guilty alongside McCovey. They were given two years probation and fines of $5,000. Snider died in 2011. McCovey still works with the San Francisco Giants as a senior advisor and goodwill ambassador.
President Obama’s release of McCovey’s pardon was pretty succinct. But it’s enough to scrub the record of one of the greatest sluggers of all time.