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Fernando Salas not allowed to pitch due to work visa issue

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Newsday’s Marc Carig reports that Mets reliever Fernando Salas won’t be allowed to play in Grapefruit League games until his work visa issue is sorted out. Thus far, Salas has only been allowed to participate in simulated games.

Salas got the proper paperwork filled out in order to play in the World Baseball Classic. He intends to pitch for Team Mexico. Their first game begins on March 10.

Salas, 31, joined the Mets at the August 31 waiver deadline from the Angels. Prior to the trade, he had a 4.47 ERA with a 45/19 K/BB ratio in 56 1/3 innings for the Angels. He turned his season around in the final month with the Mets, working 17 1/3 innings with a 2.08 ERA and a 19/0 K/BB ratio.

With Jeurys Familia likely to be suspended to begin the regular season, Salas was in line to be the set-up man before interim closer Addison Reed. The Mets are hopeful that Salas will get the work visa issue addressed in time for the regular season.

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.