Aaron Gleeman

Jake Arrieta

You may want to sit down for this: Cubs name Jake Arrieta their Opening Day starter

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Some teams have a tough decision regarding which pitcher to start on Opening Day, but the Cubs are not one of them. Jake Arrieta has officially been named the Opening Day starter following a season in which he went 22-6 with a 1.77 ERA and won the Cy Young award.

Arrieta came into last season with 34 career wins and the Cubs went with Jon Lester on Opening Day last year followed by Arrieta in Game 2. This year it’ll likely be the other way around and after Arrieta and Lester the rest of the Cubs’ rotation includes John Lackey, Kyle Hendricks, and Jason Hammel.

Just for fun, here are the Cubs’ starters on Opening Day since 2005:

2016: Jake Arrieta
2015: Jon Lester
2014: Jeff Samardzija
2013: Jeff Samardzija
2012: Ryan Dempster
2011: Ryan Dempster
2010: Carlos Zambrano
2009: Carlos Zambrano
2008: Carlos Zambrano
2007: Carlos Zambrano
2006: Carlos Zambrano
2005: Carlos Zambrano

Albert Pujols is ahead of schedule, on track for Opening Day

Albert Pujols
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Albert Pujols was initially given a 4-5 month recovery timetable following November foot surgery, which seemingly made Opening Day a long shot, but the Angels first baseman is feeling good enough that starting the season on the active roster is now a very real possibility.

Pujols has yet to run at full speed, but Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com reports that he’s “been unrestricted in batting practice and during defensive work.” He may start the season at designated hitter rather than first base, which is a change Pujols previously said he was willing to make in order to get back into the lineup sooner.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia has indicated that he plans to play things very safe with Pujols, but unless there’s a setback of some kind during the next 3-4 weeks there would be no reason to place him on the disabled list.

Curtis Granderson is staying away from Mets camp because he has pinkeye

Curtis Granderson
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Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson skipped Monday’s workout with what the team called a minor eye issue and now he’s been diagnosed with pinkeye, so he’ll stay away from camp for a while longer.

Pinkeye is a common and not particularly serious problem, but it’s also contagious and because of that the Mets can’t risk Granderson being around anyone else.

He’s officially listed as day-to-day with conjunctivitis in his right eye and the typical recovery period is 7-10 days.

Hunter Pence slowed by Achilles’ tendon injury early in Giants camp

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Giants outfielder Hunter Pence underwent a precautionary MRI exam on his injured Achilles’ tendon today and is expected to be held out of games for at least a week, according to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Pence downplayed the severity of the injury, saying “it feels great today” and “we’re being extremely conservative” by taking some early time off.

Missing a week of action now would basically have zero effect on Pence’s ability to be ready for Opening Day and in fact some teams limit their star players’ action in early games every spring. Still, it’s something for Giants fans to keep an eye on.

Paul Molitor bans hoverboards from Twins clubhouse

Paul Molitor
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Last season numerous Twins players took to riding hoverboards around the clubhouse, but that won’t be happening again.

Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that second-year manager Paul Molitor has banned the two-wheel scooters because “they just seemed a little too dangerous.”

Here’s more from the 59-year-old Hall of Famer:

The guys had fun with them, but you’ve got to be aware that someone could get hurt. Thankfully nothing happened. Got a little carried away. Riding them down to the batting cages and the tunnels. I just didn’t like the direction it was taking last year.

Last year around this time Molitor banned smartphone usage right before games, although generally speaking he’s far from a “get off my lawn” type of manager.