Ron Washington paid a fine from MLB with 20,000 pennies

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I love when old stories like this surface.

A few years ago Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre and manager Ron Washington were tossed out of a spring training game by an umpire and then … well, I’ll let Stefan Stevenson of the Forth Worth Star Telegram take it from here:

However, after the ejection Washington never left the dugout as required because the ballpark at Peoria Sports Complex isn’t exactly flush with great places for a manager to hang out if ejected. MLB fined him double — $200 — for not leaving the dugout.

Washington responded by filling a box with $200 in pennies and mailing it to Bob Watson, MLB vice president in charge of discipline. Cost to mail it to New York: About $45.

Watson called after receiving the box. Watson: “And you just had $200 in pennies hanging around? Washington: “Yes. Bob, I didn’t have my checkbook. I wasn’t trying to be funny. Now go to the bank and put that in the [change] machine and get your $200.”

There’s actually a website called PayWithPennies.com that’s devoted to “culture jamming involving large payments in pennies to organizations that are difficult to deal with.”

Ron Washington: Culture Jammer.

Also, apparently you can be arrested for trying to pay for something with a huge amount of pennies, although it’s mostly about dumping them on a counter or otherwise making things annoying for the person being paid. Washington sent them in a nice box and even paid $45 extra to get it to MLB, so he’s probably in the clear there.

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.