Rookie shortstop Andrelton Simmons was hitting .296 and playing great defense when he broke his finger sliding into second base on July 8, but it sounds like the Braves will have him back for the stretch run.
In fact barring a setback while rehabbing in the minors Simmons is on track to return as soon as this weekend, according to Mark Bowman of MLB.com.
In his absence the Braves acquired Paul Janish from the Reds and turned to him as their primary shortstop, but he’s hit just .191 in 49 games and there’s no doubt that once healthy Simmons will reclaim his starting job.
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.