Royals name James Shields as Opening Day starter

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Making official what was expected, manager Ned Yost announced that James Shields will get the Opening Day start for the Royals.

Kansas City gave up a ton to get Shields (and Wade Davis) from Tampa Bay this offseason, parting with a four-player package that included stud outfield prospect Wil Myers, and a huge part of any optimism surrounding the Royals is built on the premise that Shields will turn the rotation around.

He’ll be followed in the rotation by Ervin Santana, Jeremy Guthrie, Davis, and either Bruce Chen or Luis Mendoza, which is a big part of why I’m very skeptical about the Royals being legitimate contenders.

Cardinals shut down Carlos Martínez for two weeks due to shoulder issue

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MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosh reports that the Cardinals are shutting down pitcher Carlos Martínez from throwing for two weeks because his shoulder strength isn’t where it should have been at this point. Langosch added that an MRI showed no structural damage in Martínez’s right shoulder.

Interestingly, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak didn’t sound too happy with Martínez offseason training regimen. Per Mark Saxon of The Athletic, Mozeliak said, “Obviously, there’s a history with Carlos’ shoulder and it would be probably in everybody’s best interest if he maintained a constant or perpetual approach to that program.”

Martínez, 27, battled oblique and shoulder injuries last year. He accrued just 118 2/3 innings, making just 18 starts. He was moved to the bullpen when he returned from the disabled list in August and finished out the season in that role. Still, Martínez managed a 3.11 ERA with 117 strikeouts and 60 walks.

Langosch reported last week that the Cardinals were considering using Martínez in relief again in 2019. The latest news may push the Cardinals to indeed use Martínez out of the bullpen once again. He will be reevaluated in early March, but there is a chance he won’t be ready for Opening Day.