After sitting out the first two months of the season and then re-signing with Boston on a one-year, $10.1 million contract Stephen Drew is making his 2014 debut tonight, playing shortstop and batting eighth for the Red Sox.
Drew hit eighth for most of last season too, logging 236 of his 501 plate appearances there and getting twice as many starts there (60) as any other spot (28, batting seventh).
Xander Bogaerts, who had been the Red Sox’s everyday shortstop in Drew’s absence, is sliding over to third base, where he’s played just nine games in the majors and 10 games in the minors.
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.