Ryan Braun 1-for-15 on the spring after hitless Saturday


Ryan Braun went 0-for-2 with a walk in Saturday’s Cactus League game vs. the Angels, leaving him 1-for-15 with three walks and five strikeouts through the first half of the 2012 exhibition schedule.

It’s silly to over-analyze spring stats, but let’s just note that Braun batted .325/.372/.700 in 40 at-bats last February and March and is a .307/.367/.623 career hitter in Cactus League play.

One has to wonder whether his drawn-out PED case took a mental toll, and is now playing a factor in the slow start. For what it’s worth, Braun is not concerned.

“Spring Training has never been result-oriented,” he told MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy after Saturday’s 8-1 loss. “It’s always process-oriented. The process is certainly a little different this year. It’s an adjustment I’ll have to make. If I go 0-for-50 in spring training, I’m 100 percent confident I’ll have success in the season. I’m serious. It’s just a different intensity, different focus, energy, enthusiasm when you play regular season games. It just is. Of course, I want to have success. You always want to have success. But it’s different.”

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.