Good news out of Goodyear, Arizona.
According to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Indians closer Chris Perez tossed a perfect seven-pitch frame Saturday in a minor league exhibition game. It was his first live action of the spring, and it couldn’t have gone smoother.
Perez strained an oblique muscle during his first bullpen session of the year and has yet to make an appearance in a Cactus League game. But that should change sometime early next week. The 26-year-old right-hander retired the first batter he faced Saturday on a grounder to short, the second on a line drive to center and the third on a dribbler to first base.
As long as there are no further setbacks, Perez should be sufficiently geared up by Opening Day. He registered a cool 3.32 ERA and 1.21 WHIP across 59 2/3 innings last year while saving 36 games.
Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas belted his 37th home run on Wednesday evening, setting a new club record for homers in a single season. Moustakas had been tied with Steve Balboni, who hit 36 home runs in 1985.
The home run came on a 2-0, 82 MPH slider from Blue Jays reliever Carlos Ramirez, boosting the Royals’ lead to 13-0 in the top of the sixth inning.
Moustakas, 29, entered the night batting .271/.313/.523 with 82 RBI and 71 runs scored in 560 plate appearances.
Red Sox starter Chris Sale recorded his 300th strikeout of the 2017 season on Wednesday night against the Orioles. The momentous occasion occurred with two outs in the eighth inning. Facing Ryan Flaherty, Sale threw a slider that caught the strike zone low and inside for called strike three.
Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strikeout 300-plus batters in a season in the last 15 years. Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson accomplished the feat in 2002, and Johnson also did it in 2001 and 2000. Pedro Martinez had been the only other Red Sox pitcher to have a 300-strikeout season.
Through eight scoreless innings, Sale limited the Orioles to four hits with no walks and 13 strikeouts. The Red Sox offense gave him plenty of run support. Mookie Betts and Devin Marrero each hit two-run home runs in the fourth. Hanley Ramirez added a two-run double in the sixth and Dustin Pedroia hit a two-run double of his own in the eighth to make it 8-0.