Theo holds forth on steroids, Halladay, Youkilis and other stuff

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Red Sox GM Theo Epstein was on WEEI’s “The Dale and Holley” show yesterday and talked about all kinds of things — the Sox’ recent troubles, Halladay, Ortiz’ situation and steroids in general, Youkilis’ suspension, etc.  All pretty straightforward stuff, though this bit about finding Ortiz’s statements on PEDs to be satisfying was interesting:

He said, ‘Look, this report is shocking to me. I haven’t taken
steroids and I want to find out what the heck I tested positive for. I
need to talk to the union, I need to find out what’s going on. As soon
as I do . . . I’m not going to hide from this, I’m going to answer
every single question.’ When a player says something like that, which
is refreshing given a normal response . . . hiding behind excuses or
some sort of technical legal situation to not address the question head
on . . . you want to stand behind him.

I guess Theo can feel satisfied about that if he wants, but to suggest that Ortiz’s statements weren’t accompanied by “technical legal” excuses is really stretching things.  You’ll recall that Union general counsel Michael Weiner spoke before Ortiz did, and what he offered — while totally valid in my mind — was about as long a legal disclaimer as anyone has offered in connection with steroids to date.

Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for Red Sox

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No surprise here: Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for the Red Sox, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports. The Red Sox open the season on March 29 in Tampa Bay against the Rays. Sale will oppose Chris Archer.

Sale, 28, is the fifth different Opening Day starter the Red Sox have had in as many years, preceded by Rick Porcello, David Price, Clay Buchholz, and Jon Lester. Sale started on Opening Day for the White Sox in 2013, ’14, and ’16.

Sale finished second in AL Cy Young Award balloting last year and finished ninth for AL MVP. He went 17-8 with a 2.90 ERA and a 308/43 K/BB ratio in 214 1/3 innings. Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strike out 300 or more batters in a season dating back to 2003.