Red Sox activate Joel Hanrahan, but will he resume closing?


As expected the Red Sox activated Joel Hanrahan from the disabled list after the reliever missed the past two weeks with a hamstring injury.

Hanrahan was the Red Sox’s closer at the time of the injury, but fill-in Andrew Bailey has converted five straight save chances and has a 1.46 ERA with 20 strikeouts in 12 innings overall, so not surprisingly manager John Farrell has indicated that Bailey will retain ninth-inning duties for now.

When healthy Bailey was a fantastic closer for the A’s from 2009-2011 and before the hamstring injury Hanrahan was struggling with a 11.57 ERA and more walks than strikeouts in six appearances. So whether the Red Sox plan to eventually give Hanrahan another crack at the closer job or not sticking with Bailey in the short term makes plenty of sense.

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.