Joey Votto remains out of Reds' starting lineup

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votto staring.jpgReds first baseman Joey Votto will miss his fifth consecutive game on Sunday due to a stiff neck.  He ran and threw on Saturday, according to’s Mark Sheldon, and will try to take batting practice this afternoon. 

But he’s unlikely to return to the Cincinnati starting lineup until Monday, or maybe even Tuesday when the club begins a crucial three-game set with the Cardinals.

“I feel better,” Votto said. “It’s hard to go from nothing to a game
without batting practice. I anticipate I will hit today, do my
exercise, running and throwing. We’ll see how it feels from there.”

The 26-year-old Votto is batting .312 with a 961 OPS, 10 home runs and 33 RBI through 170 at-bats this season and the Reds hold a two-game lead over the Cards in the National League Central.

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.