Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg, who has been supplanted by 2013 AL Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer as Washington's opening-day starter, is now looking at starting Game 3.
That would be April 9, in a likely showdown with Mets ace Matt Harvey, who was bypassed as his team's opening-day starter in favor of Bartolo Colon.
Scherzer will be followed in the Nats rotation by Jordan Zimmerman, Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, and Doug Fister.
Padres newcomer James Shields has been picked to start on opening day, manager Bud Black announced Saturday. San Diego opens the season April 6 in Los Angeles against the Dodgers. Shields has never pitched in Dodger Stadium.
This will be Shields' seventh season-opening assignment. He pitched the last two for the Royals and did it four times with the Rays.
In Seattle, manager Lloyd McClendon said Felix Hernandez will be the Mariners' starter April 6 when they host the Angels at Safeco Field.
Saturday's announcement was not unexpected: "King Felix" will be making his club-record eighth 0pening-day start - and seventh in a row - which will be the longest streak of any current major leaguer.
We at Baseball Notes, like our colleague Touch 'Em All, have to follow and pay lip service to the Associated Press Stylebook. Truth be told, we often resent its high-and-mighty ways.
Consider this latest directive from the arbiters of good newspaper language usage found in its Expanded Sports Chapter:
"Cliches: A team losing a game is not a 'disaster.'
"Home runs are homers, not 'dingers,' 'jacks' or 'bombs.' . . . In short, avoid hackneyed words and phrases, redundancies and exaggerations."
That really gets our goat. Not all homers are equal. When Matt Stairs hammered a pitch from Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton in a key game of the 2008 NLCS, it was no mere homer. It was a "bomb."
Guess from now on we will call them "taters" or "blasts" or "four-ply swats."
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson spent Saturday with the Texas Rangers and drew on his Super Bowl experience to deliver a message to the team.
Wilson, who homered during batting practice at the Rangers' spring training camp in Arizona, played two seasons of minor-league ball with the Rockies before joining the NFL.
Wilson said his message focused on what it takes to get back to the big game after losing it.