A’s activate Eric O’Flaherty, designate Jeff Francis for assignment

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As expected the A’s have activated reliever Eric O’Flaherty from the disabled list, completing his comeback from Tommy John elbow surgery 12 months ago. To make room on the roster they designated left-hander Jeff Francis for assignment.

O’Flaherty was an elite setup man for the Braves from 2009-2013, posting a 1.99 ERA in 250 innings. He would have been in line for a big payday as a free agent if not for the elbow injury, but instead settled for a two-year, $7 million deal from the A’s.

Francis has become a sort of defacto fifth starter/long reliever, joining multiple teams for short stints before being let go. He made nine relief appearances for the A’s, posting a 6.08 ERA, and Francis has a combined 5.28 ERA since coming back from Tommy John surgery of his own in 2010.

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.