The Alfonso Soriano Hug Watch is on, but while the aging slugger isn’t in the Cubs lineup for Wednesday’s game against the Diamondbacks, it was simply a scheduled day off, according to CSNChicago.com’s Patrick Mooney.
The Cubs have newcomer Junior Lake filling in for Soriano in left field tonight. Lake had been playing center field the last few days, but David DeJesus came off the disabled list today and has reclaimed his old position. Dave Sappelt was sent down to make room for DeJesus.
Soriano was rumored to be headed back to the Bronx with the Yankees on Monday night, but it appears the New York Post jumped the gun there, and even if a trade does get agreed to, Soriano hasn’t committed to waiving his no-trade clause.
“If they get something close, I want to have time to think about it,” Soriano said Tuesday. “But now there’s nothing to think about.”
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.