, pub-3283090343984743, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 The Opener: Valdez, Gray, MLBTR Chat
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The Opener: Valdez, Gray, MLBTR Chat

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As the 2024 MLB regular season continues, here are three things we’ll be keeping an eye on around the baseball world throughout the day today:

1. Valdez to be evaluated:

Astros southpaw Framber Valdez was scratched from his start yesterday due to elbow soreness, becoming the latest player of note in the league to suffer an elbow-related injury scare. Per Matt Kawahara of The Houston Chronicle, the lefty has departed the team’s road trip and is set to return to Houston today for further evaluation. Kawahara adds that both manager Joe Espada and GM Dana Brown downplayed the seriousness of Valdez’s injury, with Espada emphasizing that Valdez has not yet been placed on the injured list. If Valdez misses time, he’d join Justin Verlander, Jose Urquidy, Luis Garcia Jr., and Lance McCullers Jr. as Astros starters on the injured list, though Verlander could be nearing a return later this month.

Right-hander Blair Henley was called up to take the mound in place of Valdez yesterday, but he allowed five runs while recording just one out against the Rangers. Fellow righty Spencer Arrighetti could be an alternative option to take the ball next time Valdez’s spot in the rotation comes up if he’s not cleared to take the ball and Houston decides not to stick with Henley.

2. Gray to make Cardinals debut:

The Cardinals are expected to activate right-hander Sonny Gray from the injured list today to make his club debut in St. Louis against the Phillies. The 34-year-old signed with the club on a three-year, $75MM deal this offseason on the heels of a dominant 2023 campaign with the Twins where he led the majors with a 2.83 FIP and finished second to Gerrit Cole in AL Cy Young voting. He’ll get a tough assignment in his Cards debut, taking the mound opposite Phillies ace Zack Wheeler. St. Louis is surely hoping that Gray can help the club turn its rotation around. The group’s collective 4.85 ERA ranks 20th in MLB, and their 5.48 FIP ranks 29th, ahead of only the Blue Jays, through the young 2024 season’s first 11 games.

3. MLBTR Chat today:

The 2024 season is now in full swing, and some clubs have gotten off to surprisingly strong starts while plenty of expected contenders have struggled to open the year. If you have questions regarding your favorite club’s start to the campaign, MLBTR’s Steve Adams will host a live chat with readers this afternoon at 1pm CT. You can click here to ask a question in advance, and that same link will allow you to join in on the chat once it begins or read the transcript after it is completed.