Don’t expect Nelson Cruz back in Texas

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Nelson Cruz is still a free agent and still talking to the Rangers about potentially re-signing, but both Cruz and general manager Jon Daniels have made a reunion sound highly unlikely.

Here’s what Cruz told Jeff Wilson of the Forth Worth Star Telegram:

It’s been tough, but I understand it’s part of the process. Hopefully, we’ll work something out. It’s something that’s a fit for me and my family. We’ve talked. They say that they want me, but it’s a business.

According to Wilson the Rangers were hoping to get Cruz to re-sign for two years plus a third-year option, but it’s looking like he has four-year and maybe even five-year deals on the table elsewhere. As a good but not great 33-year-old corner outfielder it’s tough to blame the Rangers for avoiding a huge commitment, especially since they’d get draft pick compensation if he signs with another team.

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.