Travis Hafner: slimmed down and ready to rake

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I don’t label this one a BSOHL story because I just don’t think they did enough to get there. But Mark Feinsand of the Daily News catches up with new Yankee Travis Hafner, who has dropped some weight:

The Yankees’ designated hitter has dropped 10 pounds this spring in an effort to take some stress off his massive frame, hoping the weight loss will help him to regain his status as one of the league’s most productive hitters. “I feel better overall,” Hafner said. “My body feels really good; I don’t get that sore anymore or anything. I feel like there’s potential there to have a really good season.”

Maybe that qualifies. I don’t know. I do know, however, that if we include him in the BSOHL club that he’s likely to be one of the guys who actually improves season-over-season. Hafner is a lefty dead-pull power hitter about to set up shop in one of the friendliest places for that sort of chap to hit. With him it’s all about health. If it’s there, the dingers will come.

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.