Ubaldo Jimenez injuring his ankle stepping in a hole provided the Orioles with an opportunity to give Kevin Gausman an extended chance in the starting rotation and now it sounds like they’re telling Jimenez to take his sweet time coming back.
Manager Buck Showalter told Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun that Jimenez will definitely need a minor-league rehab assignment before being cleared to come off the disabled list, so he won’t be returning when eligible on July 23. In fact, it seems likely that Jimenez will miss the remainder of the month, at minimum, giving the Orioles plenty of time to figure out what to do with Gausman and their suddenly crowded rotation.
Jimenez has struggled in the first season of a four-year, $50 million deal, but his control problems have always been a major issue and … well, five months ago the Orioles deemed him worthy of a $50 million investment. In other words, he’ll be back in the rotation eventually. And by that time Gausman may have established himself as Baltimore’s ace.
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.
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.