Rockies righty Jon Gray has an abdominal strain, writes Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. “He felt something,” said manager Walt Weiss after the Rockies’ Cactus League game Tuesday. “We don’t know the extent of it. … We are always going to use caution in a situation like that.” The team does not know when Gray will return. Gray, the Rockies’ top pick in 2013, was ticketed for a spot in the rotation. David Hale, Christian Bergman or Chris Rusin could take his place, although Rusin hasn’t yet pitched this spring due to inflammation in his finger. Here’s more from the National League.
- By setting their sights on the future, the Dodgers stand to waste what could be their last three years with Clayton Kershaw, Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times writes. Kershaw is signed through 2020 but can opt out of his deal after 2018. This offseason, the Dodgers allowed Zack Greinke to depart for Arizona via a similar opt-out clause, and their rotation is now a jumble due to a variety of injuries to pitchers like Brett Anderson, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Brandon McCarthy and Mike Bolsinger. (The Dodgers say they are planning on improving this season by getting better performances from players they already controlled, like Yasiel Puig.) If the Dodgers don’t build contending teams around Kershaw, Hernandez warns, he could depart just as Greinke did. Kershaw’s own take on this issue is less heated than Hernandez’s, however. “I can only speak for what’s happened since I’ve been here, and every single year I feel we’ve had the chance to win,” he says. “That’s really, as a player, all you can ask for.”
- With less than two weeks to go before Opening Day, the Reds still have plenty of open spots in their bullpen, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon writes. J.J. Hoover will serve as the team’s closer, but what happens after that is unknown. Tony Cingrani, Caleb Cotham, Dayan Diaz, Jumbo Diaz, Drew Hayes, Ryan Mattheus, Chris O’Grady, J.C. Ramirez, Keyvius Sampson, Pedro Villarreal and Blake Wood are all battling for spots. (One would think, though, that some of those, like Cingrani and Jumbo Diaz, would be more likely than others.) From that group, O’Grady is worth watching, since he’s a Rule 5 draftee who the Reds are likely to lose if he doesn’t make the team. Another Rule 5 pick, outfielder Jake Cave, is battling for a spot on the bench, and one of his competitors is Yorman Rodriguez, who’s out of options.