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Shocking: Mariners tab Felix Hernandez to start on Opening Day

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Starting around this time every year, teams begin to trickle in announcements for their Opening Day starting pitchers. This is really only true of teams with slam-dunk choices, like the Astros with Dallas Keuchel or the Dodgers with Clayton Kershaw. The Mariners, too, have a fairly easy decision.

As Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports, manager Scott Servais has announced that Felix Hernandez will start on Opening Day, April 3, for the Mariners against the Astros on the road. It will be Hernandez’s 10th career Opening Day start for the Mariners and his ninth consecutively. The Mariners have won all but one of those 10 starts, with that lone loss occurring last season against the Rangers.

Hernandez, who will turn 31 years old shortly after Opening Day, wasn’t quite his usual dominating self in 2016. He made 25 starts, putting up a 3.82 ERA with a 122/65 K/BB ratio over 153 1/3 innings. The right-hander also dealt with a calf injury that hampered him between the end of May and mid-July. The Mariners are hoping Hernandez can return to being the Cy Young Award contender he has been over the last five years.

Report: Tigers to hire Ron Gardenhire as new manager

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The Tigers are expected to hire Ron Gardenhire as the team’s new manager upon completion of a contract, per Ken Rosenthal and Katie Strang of The Athletic. Gardenhire, 59, spent the 2017 season serving as the bench coach for the Diamondbacks.

Gardenhire managed the Twins for 13 seasons between 2002-14, amassing a 1,068-1,039 (.507) record in the regular season and reaching the playoffs six times.

According to Strang and Rosenthal, Gardenhire was one of 10 candidates to interview with the Tigers. Others included Alex Cora, Mike Redmond, Fredi Gonzalez, Joe McEwing, Hensley Meulens, Dave Clark, and Omar Vizquel. Apparently, GM Al Avila wanted a manager with previous major league managing experience.

The Tigers parted ways with previous manager Brad Ausmus at the end of the 2017 regular season, his fourth year at the helm.