Bryce Harper collects his first major league home run


We don’t do a post every time a player launches their first major league home run, but Bryce Harper is not your regular rookie.

Harper connected for his first career home run in the bottom of the third inning tonight as part of an 8-5 win over the Padres. It was a long solo blast off right-hander Tim Stauffer which landed on the grassy batter’s eye in straight-away center field at Nationals Park.

The 19-year-old outfielder sprinted around the bases before being congratulated by teammates and coaches in the dugout, but he eventually came out to give a curtain call to the Nationals’ faithful. We may soon find out if the Padres have a designated enforcer of “old school” on their pitching staff.

Harper hit the home run in his 54th at-bat in the big leagues. If things play out like the Nationals hope, this is just the beginning of him terrorizing major league pitching.

Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for Red Sox

Bob Levey/Getty Images

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.