Beckett all but gets the nod as Opening Day starter for the Red Sox

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Terry Francona has yet to formally announce his rotation, but today he basically admitted that Josh Beckett will be pitching the Sunday night opener against the Yankees:

Asked if all the pitchers would be making the trip to Washington D.C.
for the one exhibition game on April 3, Francona said, “Everybody will
go with us. I think even Beckett.” Veteran Red Sox scribe Sean
McAdam kiddingly asked Francona why he would single Beckett out.
Everyone laughed. Francona was then asked if this was a good time to
announce his Opening Night starter. But he respectfully declined . . .

Tricksy Red Sox beat writers

White Sox won’t make bid for Bryce Harper

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The White Sox won’t make a bid for free agent outfielder Bryce Harper, Bruce Levine of 670 The Score reports. Believed to be the favorites to land shortstop Manny Machado in free agency, the White Sox watched him ink a 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres. The club is apparently content with its roster otherwise.

Harper would certainly be an upgrade in the outfield, which currently features Adam Engel, Nicky Delmonico, and Jon Jay. It will soon feature prospects Eloy Jiménez and Luis Robert.

Last season, Harper hit .249/.393/.496 with 34 hom eruns, 100 RBI, 103 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 695 plate appearances. He led all of baseball, drawing 130 walks. Harper is also a six-time All-Star who won the 2012 NL Rookie of the Year Award and the 2015 NL Most Valuable Player Award.

The Phillies are still believed to be the favorites to sign Harper and the club is confident it will land him, Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Daily News reports.