Jason Kubel designated for assignment by Diamondbacks

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Undone by leg and back problems this year, Jason Kubel was designated for assignment by the Diamondbacks on Tuesday, just five days prior to the roster expansion.

Kubel was finishing up a two-year, $16 million contract with Arizona. He fulfilled his part of the bargain in year one, hitting .253/.328/.506 with 30 homers and 90 RBI in 506 at-bats. However, he had slipped all of the way to .220/.288/.324 with five homers and 32 RBI in 241 at-bats this year.

Because of his physical problems, Kubel had started just two games in three weeks. He was pinch-hitting a lot, but not doing a particularly good job of it. If the Diamondbacks are willing to cover his $1 million buyout for next year, they might be able to flip him to an AL team that could use him as a part-time DH. Cleveland and Texas are a couple of obvious possibilities there.

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.