As expected Andrelton Simmons is off the disabled list and in the Braves’ lineup for tonight’s game after the rookie shortstop missed the past two months with a broken pinkie finger.
In his absence the Braves traded for Paul Janish from the Reds and turned to him as their primary shortstop. However, Janish hit just .188 in 53 games and there was never any doubt about Simmons immediately reclaiming the everyday job.
Prior to the July 8 injury Simmons hit .296 with three homers and a .788 OPS in 33 games while playing excellent defense at shortstop, so if healthy his return should provide a huge boost to the Braves down the stretch.
He went 8-for-25 with two homers on a brief minor league rehab assignment.
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.