Dan Johnson signs minor-league deal with White Sox

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Dan Johnson, whose dramatic homer for the Rays in Game 162 last year overshadowed his otherwise miserable season, has agreed to a minor-league contract with the White Sox.

Johnson had a strong rookie season for the A’s in 2005, but he’s hit just .219 with a .712 OPS in 290 games since then while spending much of his time in the minors. He’s consistently knocked around Triple-A pitching and the 32-year-old first baseman can always be counted on for plenty of walks and homers, so he’s a nice depth pickup.

However, barring more trades by Chicago he’s likely competing for a bench spot at most, as the White Sox have Paul Konerko at first base and Adam Dunn at designated hitter.

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.