Darwin Barney out for opener because of gashed knee

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As first reported by Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times, Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney has been ruled out for the first game of the regular season — Monday vs. the Pirates — due to a deep cut on his left knee that required five stitches.

Barney suffered the gash Saturday during an exhibition game in Houston while trying to track down a foul pop-up along the first-base boundary wall. There’s a chance he could be placed on the disabled list. Brent Lillibridge is expected to fill in.

Barney registered a weak .254/.299/.354 batting line across 588 plate appearances last season for Chicago, but the 27-year-old won Gold Glove honors for his excellent defense at second base.

Zach Davies replaces Gio Gonzalez on the Brewers roster

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Major League Baseball just announced that it has approved a roster substitution for the Milwaukee Brewers due to the ankle injury sustained by Gio Gonzalez: right-handed pitcher Zach Davies will take his place. In accordance with league rules, Gonzalez will be ineligible to return if the Brewers make it to the World Series.

That rule is designed to prevent roster gamesmanship such as having a pitcher fake an injury after he’s done being used in an effort to give a team a fresh arm in a short series. A second layer on that is an independent consult with the league, which may approve or disapprove the request based on the specific facts and circumstances of the case. In this case, Dr. Gary Green, MLB’s Medical Director, confirmed Gonzalez’s injury after communicating with the Brewers’ evaluating physician. Not that anyone can really suggest that Gonzalez was faking. The dude’s ankle went sideways.

That being said, this is a benefit to the Brewers at least for the short term. Davies did not have a fantastic season, going 2-7 with a 4.77 ERA in 13 starts and failing to make the Brewers’ initial postseason roster, but he is fresh — he hasn’t pitched since September 28 — which could prove very useful for Craig Counsell and the Brewers after last night’s 13-inning game.