Phillies designate reliever J.C. Romero for assignment


J.C. Romero has been in the Phillies’ bullpen for the past four-and-a-half seasons, but today they designated him for assignment to make room on the roster for tomorrow’s starter, Vance Worley.

Romero remains very effective against left-handed hitters, but his inability to be even decent against right-handed hitters and overall struggles to throw the ball over the plate have severely limited his usefulness.

During the past three-plus seasons he’s held lefties to a .185 batting average, including .208 this season, but righties have gotten on base at a .431 clip against Romero that basically limits him to left-handed specialist duties. Toss in his 92 walks in 128 innings during that time and letting him go, while surprising, isn’t much of a loss for the Phillies’ bullpen.

Plus, there’s a decent chance Romero will pass through waivers unclaimed anyway, as taking on the remainder of his $1.35 million contract may scare teams off if the southpaw’s performance hadn’t already.

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.