Marlon Byrd is pretty open about his PED suspension

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Marlon Byrd was suspended for PED use in 2012 and, after a surprisingly productive 2013 season, people still whisper about him.  But he’s pretty open about how he tested positive and why and doesn’t shy away from it. From CSNPhilly.com:

“Guys that don’t like talking about it are the guys that were trying to beat the system. I wasn’t,” he said. “I was just stupid, I took something, didn’t do my due diligence, simple as that. So it’s easy for me to talk about. First time I talked about it was easy.”

If you read the explanation of his positive test and believe it — and there is no obvious reason not to believe him — it definitely makes you wonder if all of the talk for 100-game bans or even lifetime suspensions for first time positive tests is anything close to a good idea. Sounds like quite a bad idea, actually. Because for every evil cheating no good A-Rod everyone is so hot to punish, there’s going to be one or two Marlon Byrds or J.C. Romeros who just made a mistake and almost certainly didn’t benefit from much in the way of enhanced performance as a result.

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.