Athletics starter Scott Kazmir left Sunday’s start against the Mariners after six innings with triceps tightness, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Kazmir blanked the Mariners on two hits and struck out nine without issuing a walk.
Kazmir battled triceps tightness during the spring, so it’s nothing new for him. The lefty even wanted to go back out for the seventh inning, but Bob Melvin opted to go to his bullpen to be cautious with his pitcher. A scout noticed that Kazmir’s velocity dropped in his final inning and that he was wiggling his fingers.
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.