Beckett all but gets the nod as Opening Day starter for the Red Sox

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Terry Francona has yet to formally announce his rotation, but today he basically admitted that Josh Beckett will be pitching the Sunday night opener against the Yankees:

Asked if all the pitchers would be making the trip to Washington D.C.
for the one exhibition game on April 3, Francona said, “Everybody will
go with us. I think even Beckett.” Veteran Red Sox scribe Sean
McAdam kiddingly asked Francona why he would single Beckett out.
Everyone laughed. Francona was then asked if this was a good time to
announce his Opening Night starter. But he respectfully declined . . .

Tricksy Red Sox beat writers

Mike Fiers may not be ready for start of regular season due to back issue

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Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports that Tigers starter Mike Fiers is dealing with a back issue and may not be ready for the start of the season. Manager Ron Gardenhire characterized the injury as a “stiff back” and added, “Maybe a little bit of a bulging disk or something like that.”

Fiers, 32, signed a one-year, $6 million deal with the Tigers in December. He has had a forgettable spring, yielding 12 runs on 10 hits and eight walks with seven strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings.

Fiers had a rotation spot locked up along with Michael Fulmer, Jordan Zimmermann, and Francisco Liriano. Matt Boyd and Daniel Norris were battling it out for the No. 5 spot. If Fiers opens the regular season on the 10-day disabled list, both could have spots in the rotation.