Tigers option Bruce Rondon to Toledo, will go with a closer-by-committee

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The Tigers’ clubhouse was closed this morning and that means cuts. One cut that is somewhat surprising: reliever Bruce Rondon, who the Tigers had given every opportunity to win the closer’s job this spring. But he’s headed to Toledo and the Tigers are going to go with a closer-by-committee setup.

Rondon is immensely talented, but he had an erratic spring. Rough going early, but then he righted the ship somewhat. Overall he struck out 18 batters in 11 and two-thirds innings this spring. But he walked nine and gave up 15 base hits. That’s a recipe for a lot of antacids for Jim Leyland in the ninth inning, and it seems he just didn’t want to deal with that yet.

Rondon will eventually be pitching in late innings in Detroit. For now, though, it’s going to be some mix of Phil Coke, Joaquin Benoit and Al Albuquerque handling closing duties.

Check out Minute Maid Park without Tal’s Hill

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During the offseason, the Astros finally got rid of Tal’s Hill in center field. It was a throwback to older stadiums, some of which had uneven topography — Crosley Field, namely. As unique as it was in the age of cookie cutter sports stadiums, most of us were holding our collective breaths hoping no one ruptured an Achilles or suffered another brutal injury trying to navigate the hill while attempting to catch a fly ball.

We saw what it looked like during reconstruction:

And now, via Julia Morales of ROOT Sports, we see what it looks like after all the work has been done:

The Astros are allowing fans with Lexus Field Club tickets to stand on the new warning track to watch batting practice and shag fly balls as well, Morales notes. Lexus Field Club is where Tal’s Hill used to be.

Good riddance, Tal’s Hill.

Jhoulys Chacin will start Opening Day for the Padres

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Jhoulys Chacin will start on Opening Day, April 3 against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. It will be Chacin’s second Opening Day start, the other coming in 2013 with the Rockies against the Brewers. He’ll be the fifth different Padres pitcher in as many years to start on Opening Day.

Chacin, 29, inked a one-year, $1.75 million contract with the Padres in December. The right-hander spent the 2016 season with the Braves and Angels, compiling an aggregate 4.81 ERA with a 119/55 K/BB ratio in 144 innings.

Lin notes that Chacin will be followed in the rotation by Clayton Richard and Jered Weaver. It will be an interesting rotation, to say the least, as it will arguably be the worst in baseball.