Phillies prospect Zach Collier, who was the team’s first-round pick in 2008, has been suspended 50 games by MLB after testing positive for an amphetamine.
The kicker: Today is his 21st birthday.
Collier is a left-handed-hitting outfielder who missed all of 2010 with injuries and spent this season at low Single-A, batting just .255 with a .328 on-base percentage and .349 slugging percentage in 112 games. He did swipe 35 bases, but was thrown out 13 times and managed just one homer while striking out 99 times.
Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer notes that Collier is the sixth Phillies prospect to be suspended this season, which is the most in baseball.
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.