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Netherlands defeats Israel 12-2 in second round of World Baseball Classic

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Team Netherlands got so far ahead of Team Israel in Monday morning’s World Baseball Classic game that the “early termination” rule was invoked, ending the game in a 12-2 victory after eight innings. The rule ends the game after completion of an inning in which a team leads by 10 or more runs after the seventh inning.

Netherlands scored early and often. It took a 2-0 lead in the second inning on a two-run single by Yurendell Decaster, then scored four more in the third on a two-run single from Wladimir Balentien, and RBI doubles by Didi Gregorius and Shawn Zarraga. In the fourth, Netherlands scored four more on another Balentien single and a three-run home run by Gregorius, pushing the score to 10-0.

Israel pushed a run across in the fourth inning on a Nate Freiman solo home run and again in the seventh inning on a Blake Gailen RBI single, reducing the deficit to eight runs.

However, in the eighth, Netherlands was able to invoke the “early termination” rule after scoring two more runs on a Gregorius sacrifice fly and a Zarraga RBI single. Israel was unable to score in the bottom half of the eighth, so the game ended.

Starter Jair Jurrjens pitched six outstanding innings for the Netherlands, giving up just the one run on five hits with no walks and five strikeouts while tossing 74 pitches. Juan Carlos Sulbaran, Jim Ploeger, and Orlando Yntema got two outs apiece to carry the team through the eighth.

Netherlands and Israel are now tied in Pool E with identical 1-1 records. Netherlands will face Team Cuba on Tuesday night while Israel will take on Team Japan on Wednesday morning.

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.