For the third straight season the Nationals have turned to Stephen Strasburg as their Opening Day starter, choosing him over Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann.
“He’s earned it,” rookie manager Matt Williams told Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com, noting that he also gave serious consideration to Zimmermann.
Last season Strasburg threw 183 innings with a 3.00 ERA and 191/56 K/BB ratio, while Zimmermann–who will start Game 3 of the season after Gonzalez takes the mound in Game 2–threw 213 innings with a 3.25 ERA and 161/40 K/BB ratio.
Ultimately the order of a rotation matters little and the Nationals have perhaps the best collection of front-line starting pitching in the league, especially if Doug Fister gets healthy soon and joins the mix as the No. 4 starter.
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The Braves placed closer Arodys Vizcaino on the 10-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation, per a team announcement on Sunday. The assignment is retroactive to June 21. While the right-hander will be eligible to return to the team within the week, it’s not clear yet how long his recovery will take.
Vizcaino, 27, has already been sidelined a week after experiencing discomfort in his right shoulder. While he was treated with a cortisone injection earlier this month, it doesn’t appear to have had the effect the Braves were hoping for. The injury derailed what has otherwise been a productive season for the right-hander: Through his first 30 appearances, he logged 15 saves with a 1.82 ERA, 3.6 BB/9 and 10.0 SO/9 over 29 2/3 innings. Per MLB.com’s Mark Bowman, the club is prepared to give more closing duties to rookie left-hander A.J. Minter as Vizcaino takes some time to recover, though it seems conceivable that the up-and-coming Evan Phillips will earn a few looks in the spot as well.
In corresponding moves, infielder Phil Gosselin was designated for assignment and right-hander Phillips was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett. The 23-year-old righty is poised to make his major league debut after four years in the Braves’ system. He currently sports a 2.31 ERA, 3.6 BB/9 and 12.9 SO/9 through 35 innings at the Triple-A level this season.