Marlins remove Heath Bell from ninth-inning role


After watching Heath Bell blow his fourth save in seven chances Friday against the Padres, the Marlins are finally ready to make a change. Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald brings the breaking news:

Edward Mujica, Ryan Webb and Steve Cishek seem likely to split save opportunities going forward.

Bell signed a three-year, $27 million free agent contract with the Fish this offseason after posting a dominant 2.53 ERA, 9.4 K/9 and 134 saves in five years for the Padres. Through his first 8 2/3 innings with Miami, the 34-year-old right-hander has registered an 11.42 ERA, 6.2 K/9 and only three converted saves.

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.