Report: Ron Washington was being blackmailed

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Ron Washington dugout.jpgRandy Galloway of the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram drops a bomb in last night’s column: Ron Washington and the Rangers were being blackmailed over his positive cocaine test.

Galloway reports that numerous team sources have confirmed that the blackmailer — a team employee who was fired in the offseason — was making
“strong demands.” The obvious upshot: if the demands were not met, Washington’s cocaine story makes national news. Some
of the demands were met, Galloway reports, but the club balked at personally giving the
former employee a recommendation letter and one
other request, which Galloway either doesn’t know about or simply won’t say. Galloway says that by January “the former employee was
bad-mouthing Washington around north Arlington.”

Galloway says “[b]lackmailer was
real unhappy,” and that all was still quiet until this week when Washington received a
call “from a national baseball writer saying he had the Ron-does-dope
details.”  That national baseball writer would be Jon Heyman, the man who broke the story, wouldn’t it?  I trust he didn’t know that his tipster — if that is indeed where he got the story — was a blackmailer as opposed to any other team-connected source.

There’s also no word here that the police were ever involved, but if what Galloway is saying is true,  the Rangers should have alerted them.

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.