Mascots beware: Randall Simon is still around

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Randall Simon played eight seasons in the majors, batting .283 with a decent .742 OPS as a part-time first baseman for six different teams, but he’s most famous for two things:
1) Braves teammate called him a “fat monkey” in an interview with Sports Illustrated.
2) During the mascot “Sausage Race” in Milwaukee he leaned out of the dugout and swung his bat at a female college student who was wearing the Italian sausage costume, knocking her to the ground and earning a fine for disorderly conduct.
Simon hasn’t played in the majors since 2006, but is still trying to grind out a baseball career and has signed with the Rockford RiverHawks of the independent Northern League. Upon acquiring the 34-year-old Simon they issued a statement saying: “He gives us some sort of identity of who we are and what we are about.”
In other words, spiced meats in and around the Rockford area may want to avoid RiverHawks games.

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.