Nathan Karns is excited about an opportunity to open the season in Tampa Bay’s pitching rotation. The Rays right-hander had a rough outing during a 9-6 loss to the Boston Red Sox on Saturday. Mike Napoli homered and Hanley Ramirez also drove in two runs off Karns, who allowed six runs over four innings in what likely was his second-to-last appearance before starting either the second or third game of the regular season. ”It’s one of those days I didn’t have much,” Karns said after throwing 72 pitches, 48 strikes.

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Post info: By GoSoxGo on March 29th, 2015
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Even before Max Scherzer, Bryce Harper and the rest of the ramped-up Washington Nationals hit the field for their first full-squad workout at spring training, they got the message. There it was, printed across the top of a practice schedule posted in the clubhouse at Space Coast Stadium. ”The road to the World Series begins today.” A challenge? Because as Major League Baseball launches speed-up rules this year to cut the length of games, a lot of teams are on the clock.

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Post info: By GoSoxGo on March 28th, 2015
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The New York Yankees entered spring training with more questions than answers regarding the outlook of their roster. Fortunately, the answers they’re receiving so far have been mostly encouraging, and that continued on Friday with Joe Griardi’s announcement that right-hander Masahiro Tanaka will get the opening-day pitching assignmen t. According to Girardi, Tanaka, who’s pitching through a small tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, will be slightly limited when he takes the ball against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium. But he’s in a better position than long-time ace CC Sabathia, who’s coming back from July surgery on his right knee.  “When we came into spring training, our main focus was to make sure they were both healthy,” Girardi said of Sabathia and Tanaka, who are both coming back from major injuries. “We took it slow because of things they dealt with the year before. “If CC wouldn’t have had the (knee) problem and pitched all 30 starts, it probably would have been a non-issue who was going to go No. 1, but it didn’t happen that way and we had to make sure people were ready. I know it’s a big deal, and it might be somewhat of a deal to them, but when CC looks back, he’s going to worry about Octobers.” [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Baseball: Sign up and join a league today! ] Sabathia started the last six season openers for New York and had nine straight overall dating back to his time in Cleveland, so this is certainly a notable development. It’s also a remarkable achievement for Tanaka for a couple reasons.  First and foremost, there was no guarantee he’d be healthy enough to pitch following last July’s diagnosis. So far though, Tanaka has looked every bit as strong as he did early last season, posting a dominant 1.74 ERA and 12/1 K/BB ratio in 10 Grapefruit League innings. Beyond Tanaka’s health, which is obviously the foremost concern for fans, it’s easy to forget that only 13 months ago he was entirely new to the United States and had limited experience pitching against major league talent. He was forced to make a quick transition, and he did so smoothly, going 13-5 with a 2.77 ERA and 141/21 K/BB ratio in 136 innings. Those numbers made the decision a no-brainer once Tanaka proved healthy, and indicate New York’s investment will be worthwhile as long as the elbow holds.  “Absolutely it’ll be a great honor for me to pitch on opening day,” Tanaka said through an interpreter on Friday. “I think that being able to pitch on that very first day of the season, I think it says a lot about what the organization is expecting out of a pitcher. So in that sense I believe it would probably mean a lot to a lot of starting pitchers that are starting on opening day.” [Check out The Stew's 2015 MLB division previews: NL East | AL East | NL Central ] Girardi also confirmed that Michael Pineda will start game two against Toronto and Sabathia is lined up for game three, which takes place on April 9. Nathan Eovaldi, who was acquired from the Miami Marlins, will make his Yankees debut against the Boston Red Sox on April 10. The Yankees won’t need a fifth starter until the second week of the season.  More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports: – - – - – - – Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

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Post info: By GoSoxGo on March 28th, 2015
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Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz is certain on this point: ”I never knowingly took any steroids.” And this, too: ”I deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.” The remarks by the 39-year-old designated hitter came in a column Thursday for The Players’ Tribune, a website founded by Derek Jeter that gives professional athletes a platform. In 2009, Ortiz was on a list of 104 players who allegedly tested positive during Major League Baseball’s 2003 survey of steroid use – results that were supposed to be anonymous.

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Post info: By GoSoxGo on March 27th, 2015
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On Tuesday, Brandon Magee was a Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker. On Wednesday, he became a Boston Red Sox outfielder. A day after he was cut by the Bucs, Magee reported to minor league spring training. Magee played both sports at Arizona State, wasn’t picked in the 2013 NFL draft and signed with the Dallas Cowboys.

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Post info: By GoSoxGo on March 26th, 2015
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The New York Yankees have matched the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys as America’s most valuable sports team at $3.2 billion and the average Major League Baseball club is worth $1.2 billion, Forbes magazine reported Wednesday. The Yankees topped the list for the 18th time in as many years Forbes has done the ranking, matching the Cowboys for the best US mark although both rank short of Real Madrid’s $3.44 billion (3.13 billion euros) valuation as the world’s richest sports team. The average NFL team was valued last August at $1.43 billion and the average NBA club at $1.1 billion by the magazine.

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With opening day approaching, the Big League Stew crew is here to get you up to speed on the season ahead. We’re examining each division over the next two weeks, looking at the big questions, the important players and making our predictions. Our series continues in the AL East.

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Allen Craig bolstered his bid for more playing time in Boston’s crowded outfield, hitting a three-run double in helping the Red Sox build a lead the Miami Marlins would overcome with an eight-run eighth inning for a 9-4 victory Tuesday. Playing in the spring training park he once called home with the St. Louis Cardinals, Craig’s double off Tom Koehler capped a four-run third inning for the Red Sox. Locked in a six-player battle for one of the five roster spots the Red Sox intend to use for outfielders, Craig is hitting .278 with seven RBI in Grapefruit League play.

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Post info: By GoSoxGo on March 25th, 2015
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