Erik Kratz undergoes surgery on left knee, out 6-8 weeks

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From beat reporter Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer comes word that Phillies catcher Erik Kratz underwent surgery on Wednesday afternoon to fix a medial meniscus tear in his left knee. He’s expected to need 6-8 weeks of rest and rehab, which plots his return for sometime near late July or early August.

Kratz suffered the meniscus tear on Saturday during the Phillies’ 4-3 loss to the Brewers. The 32-year-old was batting .229/.290/.436 with eight home runs and 22 RBI through his first 43 games this season.

Humberto Quintero and Steven Lerud will share time behind the plate until Carlos Ruiz is recovered from his severe right hamstring strain. Ruiz is still at least 10 days away.

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.