Juan Pierre

Juan Pierre can opt out of Phillies contract on March 31


Juan Pierre’s minor-league contract with the Phillies included an invitation to spring training and an opt-out clause that allows him to become a free agent again on March 31 if he’s not on the big-league roster.

If he does make the team Pierre will get $800,000 in guaranteed money and Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Daily News speculates that he’s a near-lock to do so in part because Ryan Howard’s injury creates a roster opening.

As for why Pierre chose to sign with the Phillies, he revealed:

To be honest, I didn’t have too many choices. It was late in the offseason and I felt [general manager] Ruben [Amaro Jr.] pretty much had his team set, so once they called I was shocked and I guess honored, too. They’re not in the business of wasting time. They’re in the business of winning.

And business is good!

Red Sox ask Hanley Ramirez to report 15-20 pounds lighter next spring

Hanley Ramirez
The Associated Press
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Hanley Ramirez was a complete failure in left field this season in Boston and he batted just .249/.291/.426 while appearing in only 105 games. Ben Cherington, the man that signed him to a four-year, $88 million free agent contract, is no longer with the Red Sox. It’s time for some tough love …

Red Sox interim manager Torey Lovullo, who just inked a two-year extension to return as John Farrell’s bench coach, told Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald on Sunday that Hanley has been asked to drop 15-20 pounds over the offseason. There have been similar conversations with Boston’s other free agent failure, Pablo Sandoval.

Ramirez is expected to start at first base for the Red Sox in 2016.

Video: Clayton Kershaw notches his 300th strikeout

Clayton Kershaw
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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Clayton Kershaw entered Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Padres needing six strikeouts to become the first pitcher in 13 years to whiff 300 batters in a single season.

He did it within the first nine batters of the game, whiffing Yangervis Solarte, Clint Barmes, Austin Hedges, and Travis Jankowski once each and Melvin Upton Jr. on two different occasions.

Here was the milestone matchup against Upton Jr. with two outs in the top of the third …

The last pitchers to reach 300 strikeouts in a season were Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling. They did so as teammates on the 2002 Diamondbacks.

Kershaw is lined up to face the Mets in Game 1 of the NLDS.