Because the Rays don’t have a pressing need for a designated hitter Hideki Matsui likely needs to put up some impressive numbers at Triple-A to turn his minor-league contract into a return to the majors.
So far at least it isn’t happening, as the 38-year-old Matsui has hit just .121 with zero homers in nine games for Durham, striking out six times while drawing just one walk.
Matsui’s contract is worth a prorated share of $900,000 if he’s called up to the majors, but until that happens he’s earning around $10,000 per month in the minors after being paid approximately $83 million during the past nine seasons.
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.