Pirates demote starting left fielder Alex Presley to Triple-A

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Alex Presley forced his way into the Pirates’ plans by hitting .298 with an .804 OPS in 52 games as a 25-year-old rookie last season and entered this year as the starting left fielder and Opening Day leadoff man.

Six weeks later Presley is headed back to Triple-A after hitting just .220 with a .551 OPS and ugly 30/4 K/BB ratio in 34 games.

Presley wasn’t as good as he looked last season and isn’t as terrible as he’s looked this season, but at age 26 his upside was never particularly big and his minor-league track record leans more toward role player than impact guy.

He’ll be back at some point, but in the meantime the Pirates filled his roster spot by recalling recently demoted reliever Evan Meek from Triple-A and Nate McLouth may suddenly be in line for regular starts in the outfield.

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.