• As expected, Matt Lindstrom(notes) has officially been named Houston's closer. Lindstrom has had an excellent spring (8.2 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 8 K), while Brandon Lyon(notes) has struggled with injuries (shoulder) and opposing hitters (5.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 2 K). No Astros reliever has been quite as impressive as Sammy Gervacio(notes) (11.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 14 K), so keep that name filed away, too.
JR Towles(notes) has won the position battle at catcher for Houston, edging prospect Jason Castro(notes). Both players have had solid springs (.308/.372/.513 for Towles, .313/.378/.344 for Castro), but that was a duel that really only mattered to NL-only managers.
Kinsler conceded that it's looking less likely that he will be in the Opening Day lineup with only five days for him to get his legs under him and find his timing at the plate.
Playing it safe and starting the season on the disabled list makes sense to him.
"That was always a possibility," said Kinsler, who has only 10 at-bats in five spring games. "I'll be there on Opening Day, but I just might not be in the lineup."
If you've recently drafted Kinsler, you really don't get to complain. He's been dealing with this injury for weeks, and he's visited the DL in every year of his career.
• More unsurprising news here: Francisco Liriano(notes) has earned the fifth spot in the Twins' rotation. He's had a dominant spring, so the only real debate was whether he'd close games in Joe Nathan's(notes) absence or take the mound every fifth day. Check the lefty's exhibition stats: 20.0 IP, 2.70 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 30 Ks. Evans tried to jinx him on Monday, but even that powerful magic may not stop Liriano. He looks good; the ADP is friendly.
• Lance Berkman(notes) is just two and a half weeks removed from arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, so it isn't too shocking to learn that he had trouble running on Tuesday. Berkman's knee apparently "swelled back up a good bit" after a near-workout. Details via MLB.com:
"When I tried to run, I just couldn't do it," he said. "They're going to back me down for a few days and see what happens."
"I was hopeful that by increasing activities that it wouldn't irritate it, and apparently it's going to," he said. "I need to drop down to where I just swing a little bit. Today I took ground balls and moved around a good bit, and it didn't respond like I wanted it to."
There's a strong DL possibility here, too, which should lead to buying opportunities.
Update, 9:40 am CT: Berkman has been officially DL'd by the Astros, retroactive to March 26. We're still well within his original 2-4 week expected recovery time, so this isn't such terrible news. If you've drafted him, don't overreact. Find a one-week placeholder who isn't Geoff Blum(notes).
• David Freese(notes) has won the Cardinals' third base gig, thanks to a solid spring performance: .302/.375/.444, 6 doubles, 1 HR, 10 RBIs. Freese hit 26 homers at Triple-A in 2008, so there's enough power here to make him relevant in our game.
Photo via US Presswire