Strasburg throws in bullpen, cleared for Tuesday return


Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg passed his final test Saturday and has been cleared to return from the disabled list for a start Tuesday against the Marlins.  He threw a bullpen session under the watch of pitching coach Steve McCatty, and the young phenom reported no pain or discomfort in his throwing arm.

Nats manager Jim Riggleman told the Associated Press that Strasburg will be on a loose 90-pitch limit in his return, which makes plenty of sense.

“I’m not really looking for him to go out there for the seventh inning,”
Riggleman said before Saturday night’s game at Dodger Stadium. “If we
were to get six innings out of him, that would be a huge step. If he got
five, that would be a good number to build on for his next one.”

Strasburg, of course, was mowing batters down before complaining of discomfort in his shoulder before his July 28 start.  Through 51.1 innings and nine starts this season, he’s posted a 5-2 record with a 2.32 ERA and 75 strikeouts.

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.