Tommy Hunter is a 25-year-old veteran of five big-league seasons with 61 starts and 372 innings in the majors, but today the Orioles demoted him to Triple-A.
Hunter has struggled since Baltimore acquired him from Texas along with Chris Davis in exchange for Koji Uehara last July, throwing 105 innings with a 5.04 ERA and just 4.7 strikeouts per nine frames.
He was better than that with the Rangers, although just barely. Hunter had a 4.36 ERA and 5.1 strikeouts per nine frames in 266 total innings for Texas.
Jason Berken, a 28-year-old with a 5.34 ERA in 229 career innings, was called up from Triple-A to take Hunter’s spot on the roster.
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.