UPDATE: It looks like Andy Martino had this story first, and in greater detail. His is a better account, so be sure to check it out.
This is something you don’t hear every day: two Mets prospects — Zack Wheeler and Aderlin Rodriguez — got into a kerfuffle during a couple of intrasquad games in Port St. Luice recently.
Adam Rubin reports that Rodriguez hot dogged his way around the bases after hitting a home run off Wheeler in one game and then, in a subsequent game, Wheeler drilled Rodriguez in the hand, which Rodriguez had feared was broken. Rodriguez then threatened Wheeler. They have since been called on the carpet and things are allegedly OK now.
All that said: Wheeler has a ticket to the big leagues in the near future. Rodriguez is a third baseman on the one team in baseball who has the least need for a minor league third baseman any time in the next several years. So it would not be at all surprising to see Wheeler and Rodriguez renew their special friendship for different teams one day.
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.
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.