Derrek Lee undergoes surgery on torn thumb ligament

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Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports reports that Derrek Lee underwent surgery Friday to repair a torn thumb ligament that limited him for the entire season.

Lee initially suffered the injury on Opening Day, yet played 148 games and was at his best following a mid-August trade to the Braves, hitting .287 with a .384 on-base percentage and .465 slugging percentage in 39 games down the stretch as Atlanta reached the playoffs for the first time since 2005.

Prior to the trade Lee hit just .251/.336/.416 for the Cubs and even with the strong stretch for the Braves he finished with an OPS below .800 for the first time since 1999. He’s expected to be fully recovered from the surgery by spring training, but as a 35-year-old coming off a career-worst season Lee may have to settle for a one-year contract as a free agent.

He’s hitting the open market after playing out a five-year, $65 million deal signed in April of 2006.

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.