O's Koji Uehara expects to begin season on DL

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Koji Uehara headshot.jpgKoji Uehara, currently grounded by a left hamstring strain suffered on March 18, told Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com (though his interpreter) that he expects to begin the season on the disabled list:

 “If it happens,
there’s nothing I can do about it,” Koji said through interpreter Jiwon
Bang. “Obviously
we don’t have many days before [April 6’s] Opening Day, so you kind of
expect
it.”

Uehara, who turns 35 in April, was 2-4 with a 4.05 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in 12 starts with the Orioles last season, but didn’t make an another appearance after June 12 because of a torn flexor tendon in his right elbow. While he was a starter in his first year stateside, manager Dave Trembley has designs on using him out of the bullpen this season. The sample size was limited, but the raw numbers in his brief sneak preview last season suggest that he would do pretty well as a reliever. We’ll probably have to wait to find out.

Cardinals tab Miles Mikolas for Opening Day start

Miles Mikolas
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The Cardinals have selected right-hander Miles Mikolas as their Opening Day starter, the club revealed Saturday. It’ll mark the first career Opening Day start for Mikolas, who is scheduled to go up against the Brewers when the team hits the road on March 28.

The 29-year-old righty was a strong contender for the 2018 NL Cy Young Award, earning All-Star distinctions and pitching to a career-best 18-4 record with a 2.83 ERA, 1.3 BB/9, 6.5 SO/9, and 4.3 fWAR over 200 2/3 innings. He’s positioned to lead the Cardinals rotation in 2019 as well, with former Opening Day starters Carlos Martínez and Adam Wainwright and some combination of right-handers Jack Flaherty, Michael Wacha, Alex Reyes, and John Gant behind him.

Manager Mike Shildt told reporters that Flaherty, Wacha, Wainwright, and Martínez had all been considered for the honor, but admitted that Opening Day honors were ultimately handed to Mikolas “in recognition of [his performance] last year.” The Cardinals are scheduled to play a four-game set against the Brewers to start the season and will stop over in Pittsburgh for another two games before returning to St. Louis for their opening homestand against the Padres on April 4. Additional pitching assignments have yet to be announced.