Javy Guerra was the Dodgers’ Opening Day closer last season, but yesterday they reassigned the right-hander to Triple-A.
Guerra held the closer job for around a month before giving way to Kenley Jansen. He pitched well overall with a 2.60 ERA in 45 innings, but missed five weeks in the middle of the season following knee surgery, nearly all of September with an oblique injury, and then had shoulder surgery in November.
His shoulder surgery was considered minor, but with the Dodgers’ stockpile of pitching depth there wasn’t much motivation to rush him along.
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.