Twins prospects Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano shut down with injuries

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Two of the game’s very best prospects were shut down this week, and both happen to be Minnesota Twins.

Outfielder Byron Buxton, the game’s consensus No. 1 prospect, is out with a strained left shoulder suffered in the Arizona Fall League, according to’s Rhett Bollinger. Power-hitting third baseman Miguel Sano has a strained UCL in his right elbow and was sent home from the Dominican Winter League.

Sano’s injury is the one worth worrying about, since that’s the Tommy John ligament. However, Dr. James Andrews examined him and determined that surgery wasn’t necessary.

Buxton, 19, was hitting .212/.288/.404 in 52 at-bats in the AFL after batting .334/.424/.520 with 55 steals for two A-ball teams last season. Sano, 20, had played in just two games in his native Dominican Republic, going 1-for-5 with four walks. He hit .280/.382/.620 with 35 homers in 439 at-bats between Single-A Fort Myers and Double-A New Britain last season.

Neither Buxton nor Sano will have any real chance of breaking camp with the Twins next season, but they could both debut over the summer if they continue tearing up minor league pitching.

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.