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Red Sox tab Rick Porcello to start on Opening Day

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Red Sox manager John Farrell told Rick Porcello he would get the Opening Day start, Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal reports.

The Red Sox acquired five-time All-Star Chris Sale from the White Sox back in December, but Porcello is the defending American League Cy Young Award winner. The right-hander led the majors with 22 wins along with a 3.15 ERA and a 189/32 K/BB ratio over 223 innings.

Porcello will be the fourth different pitcher to start on Opening Day in as many years. It’s his first career Opening Day start.

Kenley Jansen to join Netherlands in WBC semifinals

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Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen will join Team Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic semifinals, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports. Its opponent is not yet known, but it will be Puerto Rico, the United States, Venezuela, or the Dominican Republic.

Jansen, 29, signed a five-year, $80 million contract to return to the Dodgers in January. He’ll earn far less than that for his participation in the WBC.

This past season, Jansen saved 47 games with a 1.83 ERA and a 104/11 K/BB ratio in 68 2/3 innings for the Dodgers. Needless to say, Jansen is a pretty big addition for the Netherlands.

Report: Rays, Kevin Kiermaier close to agreement on six-year, $50+ million contract extension

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays and outfielder Kevin Kiermaier are close to an agreement on a six-year, $50-plus million contract extension.

Kiermaier, 26, avoided arbitration back in January in his first year of eligibility, agreeing to a $2.975 million salary for the 2017 season. He has three more years of arbitration eligibility remaining, so this extension would cover all four of those years plus two years of free agency eligibility.

Kiermaier has won a Gold Glove award in each of the past two seasons as well as the 2015 American League Rawlings Platinum Glove Award, given to the overall best defender in each league. This past season, Kiermaier hit .246/.331/.410 with 34 extra-base hits, 37 RBI, 55 runs scored, and 21 stolen bases in 414 plate appearances. He missed time last season with a fractured left hand and has been dealing with a stiff neck thus far in spring training, but is expected to be fully healthy for the start of the regular season.