PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — Rick Porcello will start for the Boston Red Sox on Opening Day, Manager John Farrell announced Wednesday.

Farrell said he notified Porcello on the first day of spring training, even before David Price went down with an elbow injury. Newly acquired lefty Chris Sale will slot in behind Porcello in the starting rotation.

“We had three candidates that were certainly worthy and capable,” Farrell said. “But I think there’s a lot to be said for the year Rick had, the leader he’s become on our team, and the dependable pitcher that he is.”

Porcello won the American League Cy Young Award last season, his second in Boston. He won an American League-best 22 games while compiling a 3.15 ERA in a career-high 223 innings pitched, striking out 189 and walking just 32. He started Game One of the American League division series against Cleveland, yielding an uncharacteristic three home runs.

It was a remarkable turnaround after a first season in Boston in which he’d been tagged for a 4.92 ERA in 28 starts, yielding 25 home runs. The ugly season cast a spotlight on the four-year, $82.5-million contract he signed. But what appeared to be a disaster then looks like a bargain now.

Price and Sale both had nominated Porcello to start Opening Day at Baseball Winter Weekend in January. Sale will pitch the second game of the season, Farrell said, while Price is slated to open the season on the disabled list as he rehabilitates his elbow.

“I’m a believer it’s something that’s earned,” Price said. “If I have a vote, I’m voting for Rick. He earned it.”

“If I had to pick – and my opinion means absolutely nothing – then, out of respect, you’ve got to go with Porcello,” Sale said. “He was the best pitcher in the league last year. How do you deny that?”

Boston opens the season on April 3 against Pittsburgh at Fenway Park.

Gerrit Cole has been announced as the Pirates’ Opening Day starter.

 Eduardo Rodriguez was asked by Venezuela to pitch in the second round of the World Baseball Classic, Farrell said, but the Red Sox requested that he stay back and continue his work in Fort Myers.

“We took it out of his hands,” Farrell said.

 In a spring training game at Port Charlotte, Florida, Wednesday, the Sox tied Tampa Bay, 3-3.

Sam Travis hit his third homer for Boston, a solo drive, and Andrew Benintendi had a sacrifice fly. Casey Gillespie hit a solo home run for Tampa Bay.

ORIOLES: Right-hander Chris Tillman received a cortisone injection in his right shoulder to help alleviate his lingering soreness.

ROYALS: All-Star catcher Salvador Perez should be ready for Kansas City’s season opener after tests showed there was no structural damage to his knee, hurt in a March 11 collision in the World Baseball Classic. The Royals, though, are more concerned about his hyperextended left elbow, an injury suffered in the same collision.

METS: Tim Tebow singled twice and made a diving catch at the right-field warning track, his best day as a professional baseball player.

With minor league spring training games about to start, Manager Terry Collins said Tebow’s appearance may have been his last this spring training with the major league club.

WORLD BASEBALL CLASSIC: Yoshitomo Tsutsugo sparked a five-run sixth inning at Tokyo with a solo home run to lead Japan over Israel 8-3 and into the championship round of the World Baseball Classic.

With a perfect 6-0 record through the first two rounds, two-time champion Japan advances from Pool E along with the Netherlands, which beat Cuba 14-1 at Tokyo Dome. Israel and Cuba were eliminated.