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Spring Training Roundup: Chris Sale, Danny Duffy become latest aces forced to make early exits

In this March 19, 2018, file photo, Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale delivers to the Philadelphia Phillies during the first inning of a spring training baseball game in Fort Myers, Fla. (Chris O'Meara / Associated Press)
In this March 19, 2018, file photo, Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale delivers to the Philadelphia Phillies during the first inning of a spring training baseball game in Fort Myers, Fla. (Chris O'Meara / Associated Press)
Associated Press

Chris Sale and his fellow aces are having all sorts of trouble with these tuneup starts.

Sale was knocked off the mound by a line drive Saturday and exited with a bruised left hip. He said the injury wasn’t serious and wouldn’t jeopardize his opening day start Thursday for the AL East champion Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay.

“I don’t see anything lingering from this,” Sale said. “Looked a lot worse than it really is.”

Sale was hit by a liner off the bat of Houston’s J.D. Davis in the first inning. The left-hander crumpled to the ground, then walked off the field under his own power.

On Friday, San Francisco ace Madison Bumgarner sustained a broken pinkie on his pitching hand when he was struck by a line drive. He is expected to miss at least two months.

The same day, Tampa Bay star Chris Archer – set to pitch against Sale – was hit by a grounder in the forearm of his pitching arm and had to leave a minor league game.

Hours after Sale was hurt, Kansas City lefty Danny Duffy exited in the third inning because of shoulder tightness. He said he expected to be OK to start on opening day at home against the White Sox.

“I think the baseball gods know I can’t stand spring training and they just wanted to give me a little bit more miserable time throwing here,” Duffy said.

Around the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues

Red Sox 6, Astros 0

Eduardo Nunez had three hits for Boston, and Xander Bogaerts hit his third home run. Derek Fisher had two hits for Houston.

Yankees (ss) 8, Braves 3

Luis Severino made his final spring start for New York’s split squad, pitching five innings and allowing two runs and two hits and two walks, striking out seven. Atlanta ace Julio Teheran went five innings, giving up two runs and three hits while fanning five.

Yankees first baseman Greg Bird was held out with a sore right foot, and is scheduled to be evaluated Monday in New York for inflammation. He is batting .154 and was limited to 48 regular-season games last season because of a lingering right ankle injury.

Yankees (ss) 13, Blue Jays 6

Giancarlo Stanton hit his second home run for New York’s split squad and Didi Gregorius homered for the fourth time. Jacoby Ellsbury went 0 for 2, leaving him at .076 this spring, and will start the season on the disabled list with an oblique injury. Randal Grichuk and Kevin Pillar homered for Toronto.

Marlins 4, Nationals 3

Washington ace Max Scherzer got ready for opening day, pitching seven innings and giving up four runs and eight hits while striking out nine. Yadiel Rivera had three hits, drove in three runs and stole a base for Miami.

Cardinals 8, Mets 7

Michael Conforto played the field for the first time since shoulder surgery last year, starting in center and going 0 for 2 for New York. Todd Frazier had three hits for the Mets, and Marcell Ozuna doubled twice for St. Louis.

The Mets sent Zack Wheeler to Triple-A after he posted an 8.10 ERA in 10 innings this spring.

Phillies 4, Tigers 1

Opening day starter Jordan Zimmermann made his final spring start for Detroit, working five innings and giving up four runs and nine hits, striking out six.

Philadelphia released six-time All-Star Francisco Rodriguez after the reliever posted a 5.40 ERA in eight appearances. The 36-year-old was guaranteed $2.5 million if he made the opening day roster.

Pirates 7, Rays 5

Josh Harrison doubled twice for Pittsburgh, and David Freese had two hits. Ivan Nova allowed two runs in three innings. Blake Snell struck out eight in 5 2/3 innings for Tampa Bay.

Indians 10, Rangers 3

Cleveland ace Corey Kluber allowed two runs and three hits in six innings. Roberto Perez hit his fifth homer and Mike Napoli had two hits and stole a base. Cole Hamels pitched three scoreless innings for Texas, and Elvis Andrus homered.

The Rangers released 44-year-old pitcher Bartolo Colon from his minor league contract. They might still renegotiate with him – Colon has pitched well this spring and could slot in as their fifth starter because Martin Perez will open the season on the disabled list.

Texas minor league coach and former big league slugger Howard Johnson was hit in the face by a line drive and carried from the dugout on a stretcher. He was taken to a hospital.

Brewers 10, Athletics 5

Christian Yelich homered, doubled and drove in four runs from the leadoff spot. Lorenzo Cain added an RBI single and is batting .450 in his first spring with Milwaukee.

Jonathan Lucroy lined out in his only at-bat and is 0 for 12 since signing with Oakland. Athletics slugger Khris Davis struck out in his lone trip and is hitting .114 in 44 at-bats.

White Sox 7, Dodgers 3

Alex Wood went five innings for the Dodgers, permitting two earned runs and five hits. Avisail Garcia’s sacrifice fly capped a four-run fifth for Chicago.

Austin Barnes homered for Los Angeles.

Padres 6, Reds 2

Wil Myers, who homered, and Manuel Margot each had two hits for San Diego. Clayton Richard pitched three shutout innings for the Padres.

Brandon Finnegan, competing for the fifth spot in Cincinnati’s rotation, allowed two runs on six hits, working three innings. Amir Garrett, also trying for that last spot, entered in the fifth and allowed four runs in four innings while striking out six.

Angels 15, Diamondbacks (ss) 9

Nick Ahmed hit a three-run double and walked three times for Arizona’s split squad. Los Angeles starter Tyler Skaggs was roughed up, pitching three innings and giving up four runs on four hits and five walks.

Royals 4, Diamondbacks (ss) 4, 9 Innings

Zack Godley started for Arizona’s split squad and pitched two-hit ball for seven innings, giving up a home run to Mike Moustakas.

Frank Schwindel hit a tying homer in the ninth for the Royals. He has 14 hits in his last 18 at-bats, including seven home runs. He started out the spring 0 for 19.

Twins 12, Orioles 4

Ehire Adrianza homered, doubled and drove in three runs for Minnesota. Baltimore starter Chris Tillman was tagged for six runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings.

Mariners 7, Cubs (ss) 3

Felix Hernandez allowed four hits and one run – a homer by Ian Happ on the first pitch – while striking out three in 3 2/3 innings for Seattle. Jean Segura went 3 for 3 with a walk and scored two runs, and Robinson Cano was 2 for 4 with an RBI.

Cubs (ss) 3, Rockies 0

Anthony Rizzo hit a two-run homer and five Chicago pitchers combined to allow just three hits. Colorado right-hander Jon Gray, who gave up 14 runs in his first 12 1/3 innings this spring, had his second consecutive scoreless start. He permitted just one hit with two strikeouts in three innings.

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