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Doc Gooden says he’ll never speak to Darryl Strawberry again

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In the minds of most baseball fans of a certain age, Doc Gooden and Daryl Strawberry are joined at the hip. They each won a World Series ring with the Mets, each were part of the mid-late 90s Yankee dynasty at the end of their careers and, unfortunately, each had a good deal of their promise as baseball players destroyed by substance abuse.

Moreover, they have always been portrayed as — or assumed to be — friends. And at times they have been friendly. But Doc Gooden says that’s no more. Here are some of Gooden’s comments from Kevin Kernan’s story in the New York Post from the other day:

“I’m tired of him taking shots at me . . . I don’t understand why he constantly tries to take shots at me when I was there to support him. It’s not worth it to reach out to him anymore. What’s the point?”

Gooden is referring specifically to comments Strawberry made about Gooden last summer when, after Gooden did not show up to a public appearance both were scheduled for, Strawberry publicly speculated that Gooden was doing drugs again and suggested that Gooden’s life was in danger. Gooden refuted that and continues to.

No matter what was or was not going on with Gooden, he certainly did not appreciate the public speculation from Strawberry. Speculation that, from Strawberry’s point of view may have been well-intended, though Gooden tells Kernan that he believes jealousy and self-promotion on Strawberry’s part may have been involved.

It’s a sad situation all around. Those guys were super important to a lot of baseball fans at a certain point in time. They also taught a lot of baseball fans a lesson about human frailty and the risk of making a hero out of an athlete. The public saga continues. For better or for worse.

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.