Athletics to place Nick Punto on the disabled list with a strained hamstring

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Athletics manager Bob Melvin told the media that utilityman Nick Punto will go on the 15-day disabled list after straining his right hamstring in Saturday afternoon’s game against the Royals, per MLB.com’s Jane Lee. Punto appeared to suffer the injury rounding third on Jed Lowrie’s RBI single. Eric Sogard came in to run for Punto and later scored on Josh Donaldson’s bases-loaded walk.

Punto, 36, hasn’t done much at the plate for the Athletics this season, mustering a measly .203/.299/.277 slash line in 202 plate appearances. However, he has served at a number of positions and played by most accounts above-average defense.

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.