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Ray’s Ramblings: The Homer Surge
Ray Flowers

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Chris Hatcher Headshot

Hatcher was named one of the Dodgers' relievers to open the season, The Orange County Register's Bill Plunkett reports.

The 32-year-old struggled this spring, posting a 5.91 ERA over 10.2 innings. His lack of minor league options was presumably the reason behind his selection for the 25-man roster. Hatcher will serve as a middle reliever for the club to begin the season.
2:18 pm (EST)
Martin Jones Headshot

Jones is slated to start Thursday's game against the Oilers, Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area reports.

Jones, who has gone 1-1 over his last two starts, while allowing 11 goals in that span, will look to tighten things up Thursday against a surging Edmonton squad that has won three straight games and seven of eight tilts overall. Through 76 contests to date, the two teams are currently tied for second place in the Pacific Division, with 93 points each.
2:12 pm (EST)
Henrik Lundqvist Headshot

Lundqvist will start the Rangers' next three games, according to coach Alain Vigneault. First, he'll take on the Penguins at home Friday evening.

The bench boss said the King will be in his court for every game left in the regular season, save for at least one side of the back-to-back set scheduled at the tail end of the campaign. What a treat this is to Lundqvist owners now expecting a heavy workload for the veteran, despite his team already clinching a berth in the playoffs.
2:03 pm (EST)
Mookie Betts Headshot

Betts was hit by a pitch and replaced in right field during Grapefruit League action Thursday, Ian Browne of MLB.com reports.

The outfielder was playing having apparently gotten over flu-like symptoms recently. Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald reports Betts was examined by trainers after the HBP but stayed in the game, at least until he came off the field the next half-inning. No details came from tweets so far on where he was hit, but more will become available soon. Obviously, fantasy owners will want to monitor the status of Betts, one of the top handful of picks in nearly all eligible fantasy drafts.
2:01 pm (EST)
Antti Niemi Headshot

Niemi will patrol the blue paint in Thursday's matchup with Boston, Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News reports.

Niemi has not played since getting the hook March 14 after giving up five goals on 20 shots against the Oilers. Being pulled has been a frequent occurrence for the 33-year-old, which should be a red flag for fantasy owners.
1:59 pm (EST)
Luis Avilan Headshot

Avilan was one of seven relievers named to the club's Opening Day roster, The Orange County Register's Bill Punkett reports.

The Dodgers' left-handed middle relief job came down to Avilan and Adam Liberatore, and the latter's demotion to the minors exposed Los Angeles' plan. The veteran posted a 3.20 ERA with a 12.8 K/9 in 19.2 innings last season. He was actually more effective against right-handed batters last season, so expect Avilan to be used in a traditional middle relief role, as apposed to a left-handed specialist.
1:58 pm (EST)
Pekka Rinne Headshot

Rinne will start between the pipes in Thursday's home game against the Maple Leafs, TSN's Mark Masters reports.

Rinne has been on a roll lately, compiling a 5-1-0 record while posting a 1.99 GAA and .928 save percentage over his last six appearances. The Finnish netminder will look to stay dialed in and pick up his 31st win of the season in a tough home matchup with a Maple Leafs club that's averaging 3.00 goals per game on the road this season, fifth in the NHL.
1:57 pm (EST)
Michael Wacha Headshot

Wacha notched his fourth victory of spring by striking out four while allowing two earned runs on five hits and one walk over four innings Wednesday versus the Nationals.

Wacha got his work in as he'd hoped this spring, making a total of seven trips to the mound and finishing with a 2.42 ERA and 22 strikeouts over his 26 frames. Per Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the right-hander also honed his curveball into a consistent and effective weapon while re-gaining the steep angle on his fastball that last season's shoulder woes had robbed him of. Wacha hit 97 mph on the gun Wednesday, which also marked the first game that backstop Yadier Molina had an opportunity to catch him in this spring. The former 17-game winner is slated to start either the third or fourth game of the season for the Cardinals, with Lance Lynn's (ribs) health likely to be the determining factor as to which.
1:54 pm (EST)
Carter Capps Headshot

Capps (elbow) will start the season on the disabled list.

Capps is nearing an official return from Tommy John surgery, but the Padres are continuing to proceed with precaution. The 26-year-old is scheduled to pitch his second game of spring on Thursday, and if all goes well, there should be a clearer indication of when he'll be ready to return and challenge Brandon Maurer for the closer role.
1:52 pm (EST)
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