Kevin Kouzmanoff to undergo back surgery on Tuesday, will miss 8-12 weeks

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Last week, it was reported that Rangers third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff was diagnosed with a herniated disk in his back and surgery was a possibility. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Kouzmanoff will indeed require surgery. The procedure is to be done on Tuesday, and Kouzmanoff will need eight to 12 weeks to recover.

Kouzmanoff, 32, proved to be a godsend after Adrian Beltre went on the disabled list with a strained left quad. Signed by the Rangers to a minor league deal back in December, Kouzmanoff posted a 1.029 OPS with two home runs and 10 RBI in 51 plate appearances before his back issues flared up.

Fortunately for the Rangers, Beltre is back so they won’t have to go digging further down into the system for a third baseman. However, since returning from the DL, Beltre is slashing .217/.250/.304 in 24 plate appearances.

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The Tigers are trying to convert Anthony Gose into a pitcher

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Tigers’ center fielder Anthony Gose wants to try his hand at pitching, according to comments made by manager Brad Ausmus on Sunday. Gose is poised to start the year in Triple-A Toledo after receiving a midseason demotion to Double-A last summer following an altercation with Triple-A manager Lloyd McClendon.

While the experiment won’t detract from Gose’s outfield work in Triple-A, the 26-year-old is expected to take on additional bullpen sessions throughout the year. According to MLB.com’s Jason Beck, the left-handed hitter last took the mound in high school, where his fastball was clocked as fast as 97 m.p.h. Gose ultimately rejected the idea of starting his professional career as a pitcher, despite receiving favorable assessments from scouts.

Ausmus said the idea first surfaced at the end of the 2016 season. It appears to be a fallback option for the outfielder, who has struggled at the plate over his five-year career in the majors. Via Chris McCosky of the Detroit News:

Doolittle in Oakland did it and he was in the big leagues a couple of years later,” Ausmus said. “It’s going to take some time. He’s going to have to be a sponge and catch up on experience fast. But we feel it’s worth investigating.

Stephen Strasburg is the Nationals’ Opening Day starter

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Nationals’ right-hander Stephen Strasburg will take the mound for the club on Opening Day, manager Dusty Baker said on Sunday. The news is hardly surprising given Max Scherzer’s questionable status this spring, though it had yet to be confirmed by the club.

Strasburg is approaching his eighth run with the club in 2017. He went 15-4 in 2016, finishing the year with a 3.60 ERA, 2.7 BB/9 and 11.2 SO/9 in 147 2/3 innings. This will mark his fourth Opening Day assignment with the Nationals.

Scherzer, the Nationals’ Opening Day starter in both 2015 and 2016, is scheduled to make his season debut sometime during the first week of the season. The right-hander is expected to take things more slowly this spring as he finishes rehabbing a stress fracture in his finger.

The Nationals will open their season against the Marlins on April 3.