The Washington Nationals are counting on Tony Sipp to give them something they think will matter a lot in the National League East: a lefty reliever to go after lefty hitters in late-game situations.

Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo said Wednesday that the team and Sipp agreed in principle to a deal, pending the successful completion of a physical exam.

Rizzo did not disclose the financial terms, but a person familiar with the contract told The Associated Press that Sipp is guaranteed $1.25 million and the agreement includes a mutual option for 2020.

Sipp would get a $1 million salary this year, and the contract includes a $2.5 million mutual option for next year, with a $250,000 buyout. There are not any performance bonuses.

Sipp, 35, is entering his 11th season. He has a 25-20 career record with a 3.67 ERA and 513 strikeouts in 482 2/3 innings spanning 580 appearances for Cleveland, Arizona and Houston, all in relief.

Carlos Martinez on IL

St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Carlos Martinez will begin the season on the injured list as the two-time All-Star tries to work his way back from shoulder weakness.

Martinez will not appear in exhibition games. He is to throw on flat ground for the next week before moving to a mound.

St. Louis has not announced a timetable for the completion of Martinez's strengthening program. The pitcher received a platelet-rich plasma injection two weeks ago, which Martinez said improved the condition.

Cubs reliever hurt

Chicago Cubs reliever Pedro Strop has a strained right hamstring, eliminating the likely candidate to close at the start of the season as Brandon Morrow recovers from elbow surgery.

Strop, a 33-year-old right-hander, felt a hamstring issue on his last pitch on Saturday against the Los Angeles Angels, his second appearance of spring training. An MRI on Monday revealed a mild strain.

If Strop isn't available to close, the Cubs' options include Steve Cishek, Carl Edwards Jr. and Brad Brach.

Cobb to open

Alex Cobb was picked by new Baltimore Orioles manager Brandon Hyde to start the opener on March 28 at the New York Yankees.

Cobb was 5-15 with a 4.90 ERA last year in his first season with the Orioles after signing a $57 million, four-year contract on March 21.

The 31-year-old right-hander spent six seasons with Tampa Bay and is 53-50 with a 3.75 ERA.

Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka is scheduled to start for the Yankees.

Jays pick opener

Marcus Stroman was picked to start the Toronto Blue Jays' opener against the visiting Detroit Tigers on March 28.

The 27-year-old struggled last season, going 4-9 with a 5.54 ERA. He is 41-34 in his five-year big-league career.

The Blue Jays' rotation also is projecting to include Aaron Sanchez, Matt Shoemaker and Clayton Richard.