Chris Sale was named Sunday to start the season March 28 for the Boston Red Sox at Seattle.

Manager Alex Cora said it was a “very easy” decision.

The game will mark Sale’s second straight Opening Day start for Boston. Rick Porcello made the 2017 Opening Day start.

Sale also is on schedule to start the home opener April 9 against the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Red Sox will begin the regular season with 11 games on the road: four in Seattle, four in Oakland and three in Arizona. But Cora plans to use a sixth starter the first time through the rotation, on April 2 at Oakland.

Sale recorded a 2.11 ERA and 0.86 WHIP in 27 starts last year, averaging 13.5 strikeouts and 1.9 walks per nine innings. Opponents hit only .181 against him.

But he pitched just 29 innings after the All-Star break because of two stints on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation.

Sale dominated in his first spring-training start Saturday, striking out seven in four scoreless innings.

DAVID PRICE was scratched from his start against Tampa Bay because of an illness. Brian Johnson started instead in a 3-2 split-squad victory at Fort Myers, Florida. J.D. Martinez had an RBI double, just his third hit this spring for Boston.

In the other split-squad game, Pittsburgh beat the Red Sox 8-1 at Bradenton, Florida. Sandy Leon had two of Boston’s six hits.

THE SIZE of the Red Sox pitching staff to start the season will depend on second baseman Dustin Pedroia’s availability.

“If he’s ready to play, we’ll probably go with 13 position players, 12 pitchers,” Cora said. “If for some reason he’s not ready for Opening Day, then we’ll go the other way – 13 pitchers, 12 position players.”

Cora cited the 11 games in 11 days to open the season as the reason for going with a 13th pitcher in the event Pedroia needs more time to test and strengthen a left knee that underwent cartilage restoration surgery on Oct. 25, 2017.

Carrying a 13th pitcher would leave the Red Sox with six infielders to go with two catchers and four outfielders, including designated hitter J.D. Martinez.

“We can take advantage of that, knowing who we have on the roster with (Eduardo Nunez) and Brock (Holt),” Cora said of his utility infielders.

Discussions among those who have influence on the final shaping of the roster have included using the sixth starter during the opening trip.

“The cool thing about the job now is that we’re getting down to decision time,” Cora said. “We’ve seen enough that we have a pretty good idea. We know who is who and what they can do, how they fit the pitching staff. You come in in the mornings, and everybody has different views and opinions on how we can maneuver the pitching staff for those 11 days.”

First things first. The evaluation of Pedroia will intensify when his recovery from his first five-inning game of the spring is discussed.

“So far, so good, honestly,” Cora said. “It’s just a matter to see how many innings we can build up and when he starts playing back-to-back. Hopefully it’s at the end of next week. All that stuff, we’re going to talk and map it out.”

Pedroia knows better than anyone how he feels, but his concerns extend beyond questions he can answer, so he seeks answers elsewhere, sometimes from the manager.

“He’ll ask you, which is not normal, ‘Do I look normal?’ ‘Yeah, dude, relax.’ He’s not insecure but I mean, he hasn’t done it in a while,” Cora said.

Pedroia looked like his normal hard-driving self Saturday in a 6-1 exhibition victory against the Braves that broke a streak of nine games (0-8-1) without a victory.

Pedroia looked smooth making the pivot in trying to complete a double play on a force play that started with third baseman Nunez’s spectacular diving stop of a screamer. Pedroia went 0 for 3, including a long out on a hard-hit ball to right.

His attempt to resume his career last season lasted three games and 11 at-bats in the final week of May.

“It’s not even close,” Pedroia said, comparing how he feels now to a year ago at this time. “It’s a lot different. I’m getting ready for the season. Last year it was, in my mind, ‘Man, I’m hoping I’ll be back,’ so it’s a little bit different.”

At the same time he sounds very much like a man open to delaying his return, if that’s what club officials think is the wise approach.

“The big picture is, I’m trying to play the next three years,” Pedroia said. “If that sacrifices five days or whatever to do that, we have to do that. We have to do the right thing and make sure that I’m fine long-term, instead of rush something, something that my knee’s not ready for, and we have a problem.”