Yordano Ventura named Royals’ Opening Day starter

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Royals manager Ned Yost told Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star on Wednesday evening that 23-year-old right-hander Yordano Ventura will start for the club on Opening Day, April 10 against the White Sox at Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium.

Ventura will be followed in the Royals’ starting rotation by Danny Duffy, Edinson Volquez, Jason Vargas, and Jeremy Guthrie — in that order.

Yost said the way Ventura pitched in Game 6 of the 2014 World Series gave the entire team confidence that he is ready to be the leader of a pitching staff that lost James Shields this winter to free agency.

Ventura, one of the hardest throwers in baseball, put up a 3.20 ERA in 183 innings last year.

Blue Jays clinch playoff berth with Orioles’ loss to Red Sox

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TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.

Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.

If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.

“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”

Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.

The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.

Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.