Stephen Strasburg will pitch opening day for the Washington Nationals on April 5 against the Chicago Cubs.
The 23-year-old missed most of last season as he recovered from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Strasburg returned to make five starts late in the season, posting a 1.50 earned-run average.
The Nats intend to limit Strasburg to about 160 innings this season.
BIG STEPS FOR BURNETT
A.J. Burnett made 52 pitches in a bullpen session Wednesday and hopes to throw in a simulated game Saturday for the Pittsburgh Pirates as he recovers from a fractured orbital bone under his right eye.
Burnett had surgery almost three weeks ago after bunting a pitched ball into the eye.
The 35-year-old right-hander initially was expected to need at least eight weeks of recovery before he could pitch in a game.
But pitching coach Ray Searage still plans to bring Burnett along slowly.
"I don't want to go too fast. (I'd) rather be extra patient," Searage said.
CAMP LOSES OUT TO KIDS
Former Toronto Blue Jays reliever Shawn Camp was released Wednesday by the Seattle Mariners despite a strong spring.
The right-hander posted a 2.16 earned-run average in seven appearances for Seattle, but Mariners manager Eric Wedge has opted to go with youth.
Camp, 36, was 6-3 with a 4.21 ERA in 67 games for Toronto last season.
"Shawn is going to be in the big leagues with somebody," Wedge said. "But ultimately when you talk about the options and depth we have and the way these kids (Hisashi Iwakuma, Lucas Luetge and Erasmo Ramirez) have stepped up a little quicker than we anticipated, that's where we are."
NECK PAIN FOR CARPENTER
Right-hander Chris Carpenter has left the Cardinals camp to be examined by nerve specialists in St. Louis after experiencing symptoms associated with a bulging cervical disc.
The Cards said the pitcher has a "weakness" in his neck, shoulder and upper arm. Carpenter has not appeared in a spring training game this spring and is likely to start the season on the disabled list.
Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said Carpenter's visit to the doctors was "precautionary," but admitted the injury seems similar to the nerve-related condition that ended the former Cy Young Award winner's seasons in 2004 and 2008.
SANTANA LOOKS SHARP
Johan Santana, who hasn't pitched in the majors since Sept. 2, 2010, had a strong outing Wednesday for the New York Mets, allowing one run and six hits in six innings against the Cardinals.
"There are some minor steps, there are some baby steps and there are some giant steps," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "And today was a giant step forward."
Santana, 33, is pencilled in as the starter on opening day, April 5.
Mel Parnell, a pitcher with the Boston Red Sox during the 1940s and early 1950s, died Tuesday at 89 of cancer. The New Orleans native compiled a 123-75 record over 10 seasons ... The Baltimore Orioles have signed pitcher Dontrelle Willis to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training. Willis, who was released by the Phillies last Friday, had a 1-6 record and a 5.00 ERA in 13 starts for the Cincinnati Reds last season. He was trying to win a job as a left-handed specialist out of the Phils bullpen. Willis was the 2003 NL rookie of the year ... Oakland Athletics third baseman Scott Sizemore had surgery Wednesday to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament and likely will miss the season. Sizemore, 27, hurt his left knee Feb. 27 during the A's first full-squad workout. He hit .245 with 11 home runs and 56 RBI for the Detroit Tigers and A's last season ... Kansas City Royals closer Joakim Soria plans to take a couple of days off to ponder treatment for a damaged ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. He had Tommy John surgery once before, in 2003.