Brewers give Yovani Gallardo his first Opening Day assignment

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Brewers manager Ken Macha announced that 24-year-old Yovani Gallardo will make his first career Opening Day start after winning 13 games with a 3.73 ERA and 204 strikeouts in 185.2 innings last season.
Gallardo will be followed in Milwaukee’s rotation by veteran left-handers Randy Wolf and Doug Davis, who were both brought in as free agents after Brewers starters ranked dead last in baseball with a 5.37 ERA in 2009.
Dave Bush is believed to have locked up the fourth spot in the rotation, but Macha may delay naming a fifth starter because off days in schedule mean the Brewers likely won’t need one until mid-April. Jeff Suppan, Manny Parra, and Chris Narveson are battling for the final spot, with his $12.5 million salary presumably giving Suppan the edge despite going 7-12 with a 5.29 ERA last season

Rakuten Golden Eagles sign Jabari Blash

Jabari Blash
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Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.

The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.

The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.