Author: Drew Silva

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Luke Gregerson officially named Astros’ closer

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From’s Brian McTaggart comes word that Astros manager A.J. Hinch announced Tuesday in camp that right-hander Luke Gregerson will open the 2015 regular season as the team’s closer.

Gregerson figured to get the job after signing a three-year, $18.5 million free agent contract with Houston in early December and he pitched well enough this spring to fend off any potential competition.

The 30-year-old posted a terrific 2.12 ERA and 1.01 WHIP over 72 1/3 innings last season for the A’s.

Roberto Osuna makes Blue Jays’ bullpen, will be youngest pitcher in franchise history

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The 20-year-old right-hander announced the news on his Twitter account Tuesday …

Osuna won the spot by yielding just one run and fanning nine batters in 10 innings this spring in the Grapefruit League. Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith notes that he will become the youngest pitcher in Blue Jays history when he makes his debut. Osuna, for now, hasn’t thrown a pitch in a game above High-A Dunedin.

The average Major League Baseball salary this year will be more than $4 million — a record

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Baseball is not dying. Via the Associated Press:

The average salary when opening-day rosters are finalized Sunday will break the $4 million benchmark for the first time, according to a study of all major league contracts by The Associated Press. Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw tops players at $31 million and Los Angeles projects to open the season with a payroll at about $270 million, easily a record.

That average salary will be $4.25 million, according to the AP’s calculations.

MLB owners are also pulling in more money than ever, so this isn’t some kind of random, lopsided spike.

“MLB’s revenues have grown in recent years, with the increase in national and local broadcast rights fees being a primary contributor,” Dan Halem, Major League Baseball’s chief legal officer, told the Associated Press on Tuesday. “It is expected that player compensation will increase as club revenues increase.”

For context, the average MLB salary in 2001 was $2 million. It hit $3 million in 2008.

Ken Giles exits Grapefruit League game with back pain

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Jim Salisbury of shares the news

DUNEDIN, Fla. – Six days before the opener, the Phillies may have lost one of their top talents, at least for the start of the season.

Hard-throwing reliever Ken Giles left Tuesday’s game with tightness in his back.

Giles faced two Toronto Blue Jays hitters in the eighth inning before a team athletic trainer visited him at the mound and he was removed from the game.

Giles told reporters that he is “not really concerned about it” and expects to be fine for Opening Day, but the clock is obviously ticking loudly at this point in the spring. The 24-year-old right-hander posted an exceptional 1.18 ERA and 64/11 K/BB ratio in 45 2/3 innings last season as a rookie and could take over at closer at some point in 2015 if the rebuilding Phillies can find a taker for veteran ninth-inning man Jonathan Papelbon.

Adam Wainwright named Cardinals’ Opening Night starter

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Adam Wainwright tossed a spring-high 93 pitches in a Grapefruit League appearance Tuesday afternoon against the Marlins and was officially declared the Cardinals’ Opening Night starter after the outing by manager Mike Matheny. This according to Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

A late-February abdominal injury threw off Waino’s early-spring throwing schedule, but he was able to catch up over the past month and he’ll take the hill against the rival Cubs on Sunday evening at Wrigley Field. This will be the fourth time Waino has pitched an opener for the Cards. Following him in the rotation will be Lance Lynn, John Lackey, Michael Wacha, and Carlos Martinez — not necessarily in that order.

You can read HardballTalk’s 2015 Cardinals preview here.