Bobby Abreu was signed as a bench bat, but he may be in line for regular starts as the Dodgers left fielder thanks to Juan Rivera’s hamstring injury.
Rivera, who’s been splitting time between first base and left field, was placed on the disabled list after hitting just .247 with a .634 OPS in 25 games. Abreu’s lack of range at age 38 will hurt the Dodgers’ defense, but he remains capable of getting on base at a good clip, particularly if spotted mostly versus right-handed pitching.
Triple-A call-up Scott Van Slyke could also see some starts in left field and a platoon between the lefty hitting Abreu and righty hitting Van Slyke would make sense for manager Don Mattingly.
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.