Nationals interested in reliever Ryan Madson

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James Wagner of the Washington Post reports that the Nationals were among the teams in attendance at Ryan Madson’s showcase last Friday in Phoenix and came away impressed by the free agent reliever.

Madson reportedly hit 93 mph with his fastball on multiple occasions during the workout and should soon land a minor league contract from one of the 15-or-so clubs that showed up to watch him pitch.

The 33-year-old right-hander hasn’t appeared in a major league game since the 2011 postseason due to elbow issues, but he was among the best late-inning arms in the sport before Tommy John surgery sidetracked his career. Madson posted a 2.45 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 126/29 K/BB ratio in 113 2/3 innings during his final two seasons (2010-2011) with the Phillies.

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.