Kyle Farnsworth, who took time off late last season because of an elbow injury, is once again experiencing elbow soreness in Rays camp.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that his status for Opening Day is in question, although for now the Rays are awaiting test results for a clearer picture of his return timetable.
Farnsworth saved 25 games with a 2.18 ERA and 51/12 K/BB ratio in 58 innings for the Rays and is slated to be the full-time closer after Tampa Bay exercised its $3.3 million option this offseason. Top setup man Joel Peralta is seemingly the obvious fill-in choice, although Fernando Rodney has the most closing experience in the bullpen.
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.