Early reports are arriving on Stephen Strasburg

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Early reports are flowing in on Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg and his removal from Saturday night’s game due to a forearm flexor tendon issue.

Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post says that Strasburg reported “significant improvement” in his right arm on Sunday morning and plans to work out with the team before Sunday afternoon’s series finale with the Phillies. 

Of course, that doesn’t mean much.  Strasburg is a serious competitor — he pleaded with manager Jim Riggleman to stay in last night — and not even he knows whether his right arm truly is injured.  The MRI will tell us that, and it’s scheduled for this afternoon.

Will Carroll of Baseball Prospectus is hearing that Strasburg is going to be shut down for the season and will probably pay a visit soon to Dr. James Andrews.  That’s far more believable given the right-hander’s high innings total and his value to that organization.

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.