Nationals place Stephen Strasburg on the disabled list

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Stephen Strasburg tested his strained lat muscle by throwing a bullpen session this afternoon and it went poorly enough that the Nationals have placed him on the disabled list.

Because the move is backdated to Strasburg’s last start Friday he’ll be eligible to come off the disabled list on June 16. In the meantime Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com reports that the Nationals aren’t sure who’ll fill in for Strasburg this weekend, in part because Ross Detwiler won’t be ready to return from an oblique injury of his own yet.

Before leaving Friday’s start after just two innings Strasburg had thrown 72 innings with a 2.49 ERA and 71/21 K/BB ratio this season, including a 0.96 ERA in his last four outings.

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.