Two more teams announced their Opening Day pitchers Wednesday, with the Boston Red Sox going with veteran Jon Lester and the Minnesota Twins selecting newcomer Vance Worley.
Lester will face CC Sabathia and the New York Yankees on April 1.
“The way he was lined up, he was probably targeted all along,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “At the same time, we didn’t want that to be a focal point. His work that was needed and the adjustments that he’s continued to reinforce and repeat on the mound were the priorities.”
Lester is 3-0 with a 0.75 ERA in 24 innings. He went 9-14 with a 4.82 ERA in 33 starts last year.
As for Worley, he’ll pitch Monday against the Detroit Tigers and Justin Verlander.
Worley, a 25-year-old right-hander, was acquired by Minnesota from the Philadelphia Phillies in December for center fielder Ben Revere. He posted a 5.73 ERA in six starts this spring. Worley made his final Grapefruit League appearance Wednesday, limiting the Pittsburgh Pirates to two runs in five innings.
Starting pitcher Adam Wainwright and the St. Louis Cardinals have agreed to a five-year, nearly $100 million contract extension, according to multiple media reports including CBSSports.com and Fox Sports.
The $97.5 million deal kicks in at the end of the upcoming season and runs through the 2018 season.
Wainwright, 31, will be the opening day starter on Monday against the Diamondbacks in Arizona.
He struggled last season, compiling an uncharacteristic 14-13 record and a 3.94 ERA, along with 184 strikeouts in 198 2/3 innings pitched. He underwent Tommy John surgery on his shoulder and missed the entire 2011 season.
He was 19-8 and had a 2.63 ERA in 2009, and followed that up with a 20-11 record and 2.42 ERA in 2010, finishing second to Roy Halladay in Cy Young voting.
Wainwright has looked exceptional thus far in spring training this year. He has a 4-1 record with a 3.00 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 27 innings.
Infielder Yuniesky Betancourt signed a one-year contract with the Milwaukee Brewers. The Philadelphia Phillies released Betancourt on Sunday after he hit .447 in 18 games in spring training.
New York Yankees right-hander Phil Hughes, who is recovering from a bulging disk in his upper back, will open the season on the disabled list.
Hughes made an appearance in a minor league game Wednesday, but since it wasn’t an official Grapefruit League game, his move to the DL can still be backdated. Another minor league game is on tap for Monday, and the Yankees are targeting April 11 for Hughes’ regular-season debut.
With Hughes sidelined, both Ivan Nova and David Phelps will be part of New York’s rotation for at least the opening week.
Tim McCarver will sign off as a broadcaster for the final time at the end of the 2013 baseball season.
The longtime Fox Sports analyst announced his retirement plan Wednesday. McCarver, 71, joined Fox in 1996. He spent 21 years as a major league catcher, mostly with the St. Louis Cardinals and the Phillies.
The Chicago White Sox put left-hander John Danks on the disabled list. Danks has struggled during the spring in his return from August shoulder surgery, posting a 16.36 ERA in four starts.
Dylan Axelrod will replace Danks in the White Sox’s rotation.
Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper sat out of Wednesday’s game to rest a sore left thumb, but he wants to return for the team’s exhibition game Friday in Washington.
Harper jammed his thumb last Friday while batting against Detroit and aggravated it Tuesday against Miami. Manager Davey Johnson recommended that Harper give it a rest.
The hot-hitting Harper is batting .476 with three home runs and 14 RBI in the Grapefruit League.
Right-hander Kyle Lohse is slated to make his Milwaukee Brewers debut Thursday in a spring training game against the Colorado Rockies.
Lohse and the Brewers reached agreement on a three-year contract earlier in the week worth $4 million this season, and 11 million in 2014 and 2015. The acquisition cost the Brewers the No. 17 pick in the draft.
The Colorado Rockies sent left-hander Drew Pomeranz to Triple-A.
Pomeranz, acquired in 2011 in the Ubaldo Jimenez trade, started 22 games as a rookie for the Rockies last season and posted a 2-9 record with a 4.93 ERA.
Right-hander Mark Lowe agreed to a minor league deal with the Los Angeles Angels. Lowe, who was released by the Los Angeles Dodgers earlier in the week, will join the Angels’ major league camp with a chance to make the roster, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Veteran San Diego pitcher Tim Stauffer will begin the season with Triple-A Tucson. The right-hander is returning to the mound after elbow surgery cut short his 2012 season. He was limited to one start and five innings last year. In six appearances this spring, he has an 8.74 ERA.
The Padres also assigned right-hander Sean O’Sullivan, catcher Juan Rivera, outfielder Travis Buck and infielder Gregorio Petit to their minor league camp.
–The Seattle Mariners optioned right-hander Erasmo Ramirez to Triple-A Tacoma and reassigned pitcher Jeremy Bonderman to their minor league camp. Right-handers Brandon Maurer and Blake Beavan earned spots in the rotation.