Padres hire A.J. Preller as general manager


FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that the Padres have hired A.J. Preller — a former assistant GM with the Rangers — to be their next general manager.

Yankees assistant general manager Billy Eppler was thought to be the favorite for the gig, which was vacated after the late-June firing of Josh Byrnes, but Preller ultimately won out. Red Sox assistant general manager Mike Hazen and MLB senior VP of baseball operations Kim Ng were among the finalists.

Preller, a 36-year-old graduate of Cornell University, had been with the Rangers for the last 10 years. He was serving as Texas’ director of player development and scouting at the time of his hiring Tuesday night by San Diego and was also the Rangers’ head of international scouting at one point.

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.