Indians, Justin Masterson both receptive to contract extension

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In today’s mailbag column, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes that both the Indians and starter Justin Masterson appear to be receptive to the idea of a contract extension. Masterson, who turns 29 in March, is eligible for arbitration for the third time and can become a free agent after the 2014 season.

Since joining the Indians’ starting rotation full-time in 2010, Masterson has been equal parts productive and frustrating. In 2010 and ’12, he finished with a 4.70 and 4.93 ERA, respectively; in ’11 and ’13, he finished at 3.21 and 3.45. This past season, he set a career high strikeout rate at 24 percent.

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.