Dustin Pedroia returns from disabled list


After 15 days off due to a thumb injury, Dustin Pedroia was activated from the disabled list Thursday and will be back in the lineup for the final game of the series against the White Sox.

Mauro Gomez was sent down to make room, as the Red Sox opted to keep both Pedro Ciriaco and Nick Punto as utilitymen.

Ciriaco was terrific while filling in for Pedroia, hitting .400 with six RBI and three steals in nine games. It will be interesting to see if the Red Sox start giving him some time over Mike Aviles at shortstop. He is the better defender of the two, and while he can’t match Aviles’ power, it’s as though Aviles has been a real asset with his .286 on-base percentage this season.

Update: Boston has Pedroia hitting third behind Carl Crawford tonight, with Adrian Gonzalez in the cleanup spot. Ciriaco is DHing and batting ninth.

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.