Chris Sale throws 2 scoreless innings vs. Tigers

Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
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TEMPE, Ariz. — Chris Sale pitched two scoreless innings for the Boston Red Sox as the seven-time All-Star tries to bounce back from three straight injury-marred seasons.

Sale gave up two hits and struck out two against Detroit in his first outing this spring training.

“I got it back. I appreciate it more,” Sale told the Boston Globe. “I’m trying to have more fun with it; I’m trying to be more open-minded; I’m trying to kind of soak some things in and really appreciate it.”

Sale was one of the game’s most dominant pitchers throughout the 2010s, but has thrown just 48 1/3 innings since 2019. He missed the 2020 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery and then had a variety of injuries last season – including a bike accident – that kept him off the mound.

The 33-year-old Sale is in the fourth season of a $145 million, five-year deal.

TWO BALKS

Baltimore Orioles right-hander Mychal Givens was called for two balks in the fourth inning.

Givens was called for both balks because he didn’t come to a complete stop while in the stretch before delivering his pitch. MLB says umpires are watching for more balks when runners are on base.

Givens has just one career balk in 419 regular-season appearances.

Some pitchers – particularly relievers – have funky idiosyncrasies in their deliveries and never come to a complete stop before delivering a pitch. That’s technically a balk, but umpires usually let those tics slide.

Not anymore. A complete stop with no movement becomes more significant because the pitch clock operator turns off the new pitch clock once the pitcher’s motion toward the plate begins.

Givens still pitched a scoreless inning of relief while striking out two.

TURNER TAKES PITCH TO FACE

Boston Red Sox infielder Justin Turner left Monday’s game against the Detroit Tigers after getting hit in the face with a pitch.

The 38-year-old Turner fell to the ground after getting hit by Detroit right-hander Matt Manning as medical personnel rushed to the plate. He was bleeding and had a towel on his face as he walked off the field.

“He’s receiving treatment for soft tissue injuries, and is being monitored for a concussion,” the Red Sox said in a statement. “He will undergo further testing, and we’ll update as we have more information. Justin is stable, alert, and in good spirits given the circumstances.”

The two-time All-Star signed a $15 million, one-year deal with Red Sox during the offseason after spending the past nine years with the Dodgers. He hit .278 with 13 homers and 81 RBIs in 128 games last season.

TROUT READY FOR WBC

Angels star Mike Trout was 0 for 2 at the plate in his final tuneup before joining the U.S. for the World Baseball Classic.

The U.S. has exhibitions on Wednesday and Thursday before Saturday’s opener against Britian in Phoenix.

Trout, the U.S. captain, is part of a roster that includes Mooke Betts, Pete Alonso, Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt.

“It’s going to be special,” Trout said. “We’re just going out there, have some fun, see where it goes. We’ve got a pretty good team, but there’s a lot of great countries out there. We’ll see how it goes.”

CASTILLO SETTLES IN WITH MARINERS

Two-time All-Star Luis Castillo pitched 2 1/3 innings for the Mariners on Monday, allowing four hits and two runs against the Chicago Cubs in his second start. He struck out four and hit a batter.

The 30-year-old right-hander was acquired from Cincinnati last summer and signed a $108 million, five-year contract. Castillo was 4-2 with a 3.17 ERA in 11 starts after the trade and helped Seattle to its first postseason berth since 2001.

Unlike many of his All-Star teammates, including outfielders Julio Rodríguez and Teoscar Hernández, Castillo opted not to play for the Dominican Republic in the WBC.

“This was a decision that a large group of us came up with,” Castillo said of staying behind. “I feel like my team has all the talent to go ahead and win the whole thing.”

One of the Cubs he faced Monday was longtime Reds batterymate Tucker Barnhart, who signed as a free agent with Chicago in the offseason.

“I think it’s the first time that I faced him,” Castillo said. “We spent a lot of time together. When we were up there he was laughing and I was laughing and we were just having fun.”

Castillo got the last laugh, retiring his former catcher on a slow roller to third.

POPULAR BRAVES

The Atlanta Braves plan to stop the sale of season tickets to preserve the availability of single game tickets.

Braves president Derek Schiller says this is the first time in team history season ticket sales have been cut off before the first game.

The Braves plan to cut off the sale of season tickets on or around March 17. The team says it is on pace to approach the 2022 Truist Park record total of more than 3.1 million in attendance. The Braves finished fourth in the majors last season with their average of 38,461 fans at Truist Park.

“We are now focused on ensuring that more of our fans who only come to one or two games are able to buy seats,” Schiller said in a statement released by the team.

The Braves say their April 6 home opener against San Diego and some other high-profile games already are approaching sellout or standing room only status.

Phils’ Hoskins tears knee, expected to miss significant time

hoskins injury
Dave Nelson/USA TODAY Sports
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CLEARWATER, Fla. — Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins needs surgery for a torn ACL after injuring his left knee Thursday fielding a grounder in a spring training game and is expected to miss a significant amount of time.

The Phillies did not say when Hoskins would have the surgery or exactly how long the slugging first baseman might be sidelined.

Hoskins hit 30 homers with 79 RBIs last season for the reigning National League champions.

He was backing up to play a chopper on Thursday when the ball popped out of his glove. Sooner after, he fell to the ground and began clutching his left knee. Teammates gathered around him before he was taken off of the field.

Hoskins, a free agent at the end of the season who turned 30 last week, hit six homers in Philadelphia’s playoff run last season. The Phillies lost to the Houston Astros in the World Series.

The injury was another blow for the Phillies, who will be without top pitching prospect Andrew Painter for another few weeks because of a sprained ligament in his right elbow. And slugger Bryce Harper isn’t expected back until around the All-Star break after undergoing Tommy John surgery in November.