Adam Duvall of the Red Sox is greeted by Christian Arroyo after his solo homer in the fifth inning Sunday against the New York Yankees in Fort Myers, Fla. Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

Manager Alex Cora isn’t ready to announce his Opening Day starting pitcher, but he eliminated one significant contender on Sunday.

Ahead of a split-squad day against the Orioles and Yankees, the Red Sox manager told reporters that Chris Sale will not get the ball on March 30.

Apparently, that’s been the plan all along, and he clued his pitcher in a while ago.

“I decided that like a month and a half ago, when we had that conversation,” Cora told reporters. “[Sale] knows already.”

Instead, the skipper says there’s “a good chance” Corey Kluber takes the mound for Game 1 of 162. Based on the spring training rotation, that would put Sale in Game 2.

Still, Sale getting the first start could’ve been a storybook beginning to what he hopes will be a stupendous comeback season.


After his August 2010 debut, the veteran southpaw made five Opening Day starts in the first 10 years of his career, including 2018 and 2019 for the Red Sox. He hasn’t been healthy to start the season since. Tommy John surgery, a rib fracture, broken pinky and broken wrist are among the reasons he missed 2020 entirely and has only thrown out 48 1/3 innings over the last two seasons.

This year’s season opener also happens to fall on Sale’s 34th birthday.

His manager sees this is a gift. Or at least, he wants Sale, who’s been itching to get in real games, to see it as such.

“I want him to enjoy (Opening Day) as a regular baseball player, just the whole Opening Day thing,” he said.


The Orioles beat the Red Sox 6-4, and the Red Sox and Yankees dueled their way to a 3-3 tie.


Raimel Tapia continues to hit. On Sunday, two Yankees players fell over trying and failing to nab a scorching ball. If the season started on Monday, he’d have to be on the 26-man roster.

Adam Duvall hit his first Grapefruit League home run on Sunday afternoon, a towering shot over JetBlue Park’s Green Monster to re-tie the game in the fifth.

Marcelo Mayer, the organization’s No. 1 overall prospect, made his Grapefruit League debut, and collected a leadoff double in the ninth inning.


Less than a week after the terrifying hit-by-pitch, most of Justin Turner’s stitches are out (some are dissolvable, he told reporters).

He was able to eat solid foods again on Saturday, and is already eyeing a spot in the Opening Day lineup.


The veteran infielder “played catch, and took some swings off the tee today,” he told reporters.

“Hopefully just kind of keep ramping it up as long as there’s no setbacks and hopefully be back out there as soon as possible. And then we’ll see where we’re at from there, but I certainly plan on being there for Opening Day,” Turner said. “That’s the plan.”

ROSTER MOVES: As expected, hard-throwing Red Sox prospect Bryan Mata will begin the season at Triple-A Worcester in its starting rotation.

Boston made two more roster cuts from its spring training roster Sunday evening, optioning Mata to Worcester and reassigning left-handed pitcher Ryan Sherriff to minor league camp.

The Red Sox had already made five roster cuts Saturday when they optioned outfield prospect Wilyer Abreu to Worcester and reassigned pitchers Taylor Broadway, Jake Faria, Durbin Feltman and Norwith Gudiño to minor league camp.

Mata — who reaches triple-digits with his fastball — pitched in Boston’s Grapefruit League 3-3 tie against the Yankees on Sunday. He pitched 3 scoreless innings, giving up three hits and two walks, striking out two.


The 23-year-old righty appeared in four Grapefruit League games and pitched 7 scoreless innings.

He returned strong from his lengthy Tommy John surgery rehab in the middle of last season, posting a 1.85 ERA in 10 games (nine starts) for Double-A Portland and a 3.47 ERA in five starts for Worcester.

Sherriff signed a minor league contract with Boston in the offseason. He has allowed one unearned in 4 innings (four outings) this spring.

INFIELDER YU CHANG was named the Pool A MVP of the World Baseball Classic. However, his team, Chinese Taipei, failed to advance to the quarterfinals and so he now will head to Red Sox spring training camp.

Chang, a Taiwan native, went 7 for 16 (.438 batting average) with a .500 on-base percentage, .938 slugging percentage, two homers, two doubles, eight RBI, five runs, two walks and two strikeouts in four games.

Chang, who the Red Sox signed to a one-year, $850,000 contract Feb. 16, crushed a grand slam for Chinese Taipei against the Netherlands on Saturday. He belted a tying two-run homer in the sixth inning against Italy on Friday. Chinese Taipei won both those games.

The Red Sox re-signed Chang to provide infield depth with Trevor Story (elbow surgery) on the 60-day IL and Adalberto Mondesí (coming off ACL surgery) likely to start the season on the IL.

Boston initially claimed Chang off waivers from the Rays last season (Sept. 12). In 11 games for the Red Sox, he went 3 for 20 (.150) with a .346 on-base percentage and two doubles. Boston non-tendered him in the offseason before re-signing him during spring training.

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