AP Photo/Ben Margot

Bob Melvin tabs Sonny Gray to start on Opening Day for the Athletics


Not that this comes as a shock to anyone, but Athletics manager Bob Melvin officially announced that Sonny Gray will start on Opening Day, MLB.com’s Jane Lee reports.

It will be Gray’s third consecutive Opening Day start, making him only the third Athletic — joining Dave Stewart (five) and Rick Langford (three) — to make at least three consecutive Opening Day starts, A’s Baseball Information Manager Mike Selleck notes.

Gray, 26, is the obvious ace in a rotation that will include some combination of Jesse Hahn, Kendall Graveman, Chris Bassitt, Rich Hill, Jarrod Parker, and Henderson Alvarez. Last season, Gray finished third in American League Cy Young Award balloting, compiling a 14-7 record with a 2.73 ERA and a 169/59 K/BB ratio in 208 innings. He will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the season, leading to some speculation that the A’s could pursue trading Gray.

No, the Astros aren’t being targeted for HBPs in spring training

Alex Bregman
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On Wednesday, Astros third baseman Alex Bregman was hit by Cardinals pitcher Ramon Santos. It marked the seventh time an Astros batter had been hit in spring training exhibition games thus far, the highest total among all teams. As expected, teams are exacting revenge for the Astros’ cheating ways!

Well, not quite. The pitch Santos hit Bregman with was a 3-2 breaking ball that got away. Usually, if a pitcher is going to hit a batter as an act of revenge, he’ll attempt to do it with a first-pitch fastball.

José Altuve was also hit by a pitch against the Tigers on Sunday. The pitch, which looks to be the off-speed variety, appeared to graze his uniform as opposed to hitting him flush, so it was likely unintentional on the part of pitcher Nick Ramirez.

Other Astros to have been hit in spring training thus far: Alex De Goti, Aledmys Díaz, Osvaldo Duarte, Dustin Garneau, and Jake Meyers. Not exactly a who’s-who list of Code Breaker operatives.

Will some pitchers intentionally throw at the Astros this year? Almost certainly, despite commissioner Rob Manfred’s warning. Have they been doing it from the moment exhibition games began earlier this month? Certainly not.