Josh Johnson has inflamed shoulder, strained back

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Joe Frisaro of speculated earlier today that Josh Johnson “may be done for the season” due to injuries to his back and shoulder and the Marlins’ desire to protect their prized right-hander.  That could still be true, but the Fish did get some good news this evening.

According to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald (via Twitter), an MRI on Wednesday afternoon showed inflammation in Johnson’s right shoulder and a slight muscle strain in the middle of the right-hander’s back, but no structural damage.

It’s good news both in the long-term and possibly in the short-term as well.

The Marlins, because Johnson has no serious injuries, could decide to their ace back into the starting rotation for the final four weeks of the regular season.  He has posted an incredible 2.30 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 9.11 K/9 in 28 starts this season and is still alive in the chase for the National League Cy Young.  That is, if he continues to pitch and post award-worthy numbers.

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.