In Brief | MLB | 3-20-14


MLB draws a crowd of sporting stars in Sydney

SYDNEY — The Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks are expected to sell out Sydney Cricket Stadium twice this weekend for their season-opening series.

They’re also pulling quite a crowd of sports stars ahead of the games.

In between team workouts Wednesday, Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw and Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt kicked around rugby league, Australian Rules football and soccer balls with former Juventus legend Alessandro Del Piero (soccer’s Sydney FC), Sonny Bill Williams (rugby league’s Sydney Roosters) and Adam Goodes of the Australian Football League’s Sydney Swans.

There were plenty of millionaire salaries in the photo op, led by first-game starter Kershaw, who signed a seven-year, $215 million contract with the Dodgers in January. Celebrating his 26th birthday Wednesday, he also was presented with a cake.

Nats name Strasburg opening-day starter

VIERA, Fla. — Stephen Strasburg is going to make his third straight opening-day start for the Washington Nationals.

First-year Nationals manager Matt Williams named the 25-year-old right-hander as his No. 1 starter after Wednesday’s game against the Houston Astros.

Williams said Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann will follow in the rotation. Doug Fister is set to be the fourth starter if he can get ready in time after being sidelined by elbow inflammation.

Williams picked Strasburg in part because “of his experience. He’s done it before … And he’s earned it.”

Angels pitcher Pena suspended 50 games

NEW YORK — Los Angeles Angels pitcher Luis Pena has been suspended 50 games following a positive test under baseball’s minor league drug program.

The commissioner’s office said Wednesday the 18-year-old right-hander tested positive for metabolites of Boldenone. He signed in October and is on the roster of the Angels’ Dominican Summer League team.

Eighteen players have been suspended this year under the minor league program, and New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez was suspended for the season under the major league program.

By wire sources