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Remember, there’s morning baseball today

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The third Monday in April is Patriots’ Day, an official holiday in Massachusetts, Maine and Wisconsin, and nodded at unofficially in several other states. Schools and banks and stuff are closed there and the Boston Marathon is being run as we speak. For our purposes, we get morning baseball.

Today the Red Sox take on the Rays at 11:05AM EDT. Blake Snell gets the call for Tampa Bay, Steven Wright for the Sox. There is nothing more American than a knuckleballer in my view, so it’s good fortune that the rotation worked out this way for Boston.

There will be some differences from the usual lineup today for the Red Sox, however. Pablo Sandoval will ride pine after batting just .143 with a .196 on-base percentage through 11 games. Meanwhile, Hanley Ramirez is in the starting lineup despite exiting Sunday’s game with a cramp in his left hamstring. Between that and the flu, Ramirez has had a rocky first couple of weeks to the season, but perhaps morning baseball will set him straight.

Report: Shohei Ohtani has sprained UCL in pitching elbow

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The Angels signed Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani for a $2.3 million signing bonus last weekend. They may have damaged goods on their hands. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Ohtani underwent a physical that revealed a first-degree sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament. As a result, he got a platelet-rich plasma injection on October 20. This was made known to teams after Ohtani entered MLB’s posting system, so it wasn’t like the Angels went into this blind.

Ohtani’s report said, “Although partial damage of UCL in deep layer of his right UCL exists, he is able to continue full baseball participation with sufficient elbow care program.” It also said Ohtani “will most likely be available to start his throwing program approximately a month from the PRP.”

Passan notes that the report also mentioned that a “small free body” floats in Ohtani’s elbow near his UCL.

Ohtani isn’t without other injuries. He battled hamstring and ankle issues throughout 2017 and underwent right ankle surgery back in October. Thankfully for the Angels, this diagnosis is about as good as it could be considering the circumstances. However, if Ohtani does exacerbate his UCL issue, he may ultimately need Tommy John surgery at some point, which would take him out of action for at least a year.