Matt Kemp still isn’t comfortable, may not return on Monday

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Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp made his second rehab start with Rancho Cucamonga yesterday, but still doesn’t feel comfortable yet, reports Bill Shaikin. Kemp has been sidelined since July 22 with a sprained ankle.

The hope was that Kemp would make a few rehab starts and be ready to return to the Dodgers after this weekend, but it sounds like Kemp will need some more time. He is 0-for-8 thus far and has driven a ball out of the infield on only one occasion.

Kemp, the runner-up to Ryan Braun in the 2011 NL MVP balloting, has been on the disabled list three times this season. The first, between May 30 and June 25, was due to a strained right hamstring. The second, between July 6-21, was due to inflammation of the AC joint in his right shoulder. The third, of course, is the continuing issue with the ankle. When he has been on the field, he posted a .700 OPS in 251 trips to the plate.

Manager Don Mattingly said that, when Kemp returns, he will not be used on an everyday basis.

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.