Edinson Volquez throws successfully off a mound

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volquez cap.JPGEdinson Volquez underwent Tommy John surgery last August and is expected to miss the entire 2010 season.  But on Sunday, according to MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon, he took a major step in his ongoing recovery from the elbow ligament replacement surgery. 

Volquez, 26, threw 30 pitches off a mound at about 50 percent intensity and plans to attempt 45 throws later this week.  He will remain at the Reds’ spring training complex when the rest of the team heads north in about 10 days and has a long recovery road yet to travel, but it’s great to hear that he has avoided setbacks thus far.  Volquez was 4-2 last season with a 4.35 ERA and 1.33 WHIP in nine starts and is the proud owner of a 24-19 record over his first five major league seasons.  Cincinnati could certainly use him this year, and perhaps they’ll get him back by late August.

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.