Ubaldo Jimenez makes rehab start, buys everyone steak and lobster

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Ubaldo Jimenez kicked off a minor-league rehab assignment Tuesday at Single-A, tossing 4.2 innings of one-run ball as he comes back from a sprained ankle suffered when he stepped in a hole in a parking lot.

Jimenez allowed five hits and three walks, so it’s unclear if the Orioles will be impressed enough by the uneven outing to activate him from the disabled list yet after indicating initially that they might take their sweet time doing so.

If he does stay on a rehab stint for another start at least the Orioles’ minor leaguers will be well fed. After last night’s game Single-A right-hander Nigel Nootbaar–who was a 12th-round pick last year–tweeted about the clubhouse spread provided by Jimenez:

It’s customary for any veteran major leaguer visiting the minors to spring for a food upgrade in the clubhouse and Jimenez apparently did his part and then some in the first season of a four-year, $50 million deal. So they’d probably like for him to stick around in Single-A.

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.