We’re mere hours away from the official start of the regular season, when the Dodgers and Diamondbacks will square off in Australia. The Dodgers have made some last-minute roster decisions which includes 27-year-old Cuban infielder Alexander Guerrero making the Opening Day roster.
The Dodgers have placed Matt Kemp, Josh Beckett, and Chad Billingsley on the disabled list retroactive to March 19, per the team’s official Twitter. Dan Haren, Zack Greinke, and Brandon League have been placed under a roster exemption while Carl Crawford has been put on paternity leave, also per the team’s Twitter. Because he has options, the Dodgers optioned catcher Tim Federowicz to Triple-A to keep Drew Butera around as the back-up catcher. Lastly, Joc Pederson, Zach Lee, and Miguel Rojas have also been optioned to the minor leagues.
Justin Turner will start at second base and bat second in the lineup. Guerrero could be used as a pinch-hitter in either of the two games in Australia against the D-Backs. Because he still needs to make some defensive adjustments, Guerrero is likely to report to Triple-A before the Dodgers open up the regular season back in the United States on March 30 in San Diego.
Astros manager A.J. Hinch told the media, including MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart, that starter Dallas Keuchel will come off of the disabled list and rejoin the rotation on Friday against the Tigers. Keuchel has missed nearly two months with a neck injury.
Prior to landing on the DL, Keuchel was 9-0 with a 1.67 ERA and a 69/18 K/BB ratio over 75 2/3 innings. He seemed to be on his way to potentially win another Cy Young Award.
Hinch also noted that Collin McHugh will start on Saturday and Lance McCullers will start on Sunday.
Braves starter Aaron Blair had a nightmarish bottom of the third inning on Wednesday afternoon against the Diamondbacks. He had just given up a run on a Daniel Descalso triple hit to center field that center fielder Ender Inciarte read poorly. In the following at-bat, Ketel Marte laced a curve ball to right field. Sean Rodriguez wasn’t able to get to it in time, so the ball bounced off the fence and caromed back towards the stands along the right field line. By the time Rodriguez was able to retrieve the ball, Marte was already on his way home and scored standing up.
The inside-the-park homer will certainly provide a boost to Marte’s stats. He entered Wednesday’s action batting .196/.255/.370 in 51 plate appearances.