Friday afternoon, time for the drug suspensions:
The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball announced today that Texas Rangers Minor League outfielder Jacob Skole has been suspended for 50 games without pay after testing positive for an amphetamine, a performance-enhancing substance in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
He’s at single-A Myrtle Beach. And with a name like “Skole” I woulda thought he’d be popped for breaking the smokeless tobacco rule, but whatever.
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.