Astros acquire left-hander Travis Blackley from Athletics

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The Astros just announced that they have acquired left-hander Travis Blackley from the Athletics in exchange for minor league outfielder Jake Goebbert. According to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com, he is expected to join the active roster tomorrow.

Blackley was designated for assignment by the Athletics last week. The 30-year-old Aussie owns a 5.37 ERA in the majors, but he posted a 3.86 ERA and 69/30 K/BB ratio in 102 2/3 innings over 15 starts and nine relief appearances after coming over from the Giants last season. The Astros are expected to use him as a long reliever initially, but he could be an option for the rotation before long.

Goebbert, a 25-year-old corner outfielder, owns a .285/.363/.431 batting line over four seasons in the minors. Baseball America didn’t include him among the organization’s Top 30 prospects coming into the year.

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.