Nationals sign Delwyn Young to minor league contract

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Here’s a blast from the past. According to Bill Ladson of MLB.com, the Nationals have signed utilityman Delwyn Young to a minor league contract. The deal does not include a spring training invite, which speaks to how far the former Dodgers’ farmhand has fallen in recent years.

Young, 30, failed to make the White Sox out of spring training last year and ended up batting .192 in 35 games with the Camden Riversharks of the independent Atlantic League. He hasn’t appeared in the majors since 2010 as a member of the Pirates and owns a .258/.317/.393 career batting line. The Nats figure to use him as minor league depth.

At this point, Young will probably be best remembered as the answer to a trivia question, as the switch-hitter slugged a two-run homer in Stephen Strasburg’s major league debut on June 8, 2010. They were the only runs allowed by Strasburg on that special night. If you have to be a minor footnote in baseball history, that’s a pretty good one.

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.