Bryce Harper plays left field, goes 2-for-3 in Double-A debut


Batting sixth and playing an unfamiliar left field, Bryce Harper went 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored Monday in his debut for Double-A Harrisburg.

The Senators ended up beating Erie 8-1 in front of a record crowd of 8,092.  The previous high crowd at Metro Bank Park was 8,078 for last year’s All-Star Game.

Harper hit third and played right field and center field for low Single-A Hagerstown prior to his promotion, so Monday was quite a change for him.  It was his first time in left field as a pro.

Harper, of course, immediately became the prospect on the Senators’ roster with his promotion, overtaking right-hander Brad Peacock and catcher Derek Norris.  However, it was the other two who truly shined Monday.  Peacock pitched six scoreless innings for the win, striking out nine, and Norris hit his 11th and 12th homers of the season.

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.