Boston Red Sox pitcher Steven Wright was suspended 15 games without pay for violating Major League Baseball's domestic violence policy, the commissioner's office announced Friday.

The right-hander will not appeal.

The Red Sox were hopeful Wright would be ready to open the season on time after recovering from right knee surgery last year. His absence cements a spot in the rotation for left-hander Brian Johnson.

MLB investigated a Dec. 8 incident involving Wright and his wife, Shannon. He was arrested at their Tennessee home on misdemeanor charges of domestic assault and preventing a 911 call. He was released the following day on a $2,500 bond, and his case was later retired by the Williamson County court and will be dropped if additional offenses don't occur within the next year. 

Wright and his wife have been undergoing counseling since. 

"While it's clear that Mr. Wright regrets what transpired that evening, takes full responsibility for his actions and has committed himself to treatment and counseling components of the [MLB domestic violence] policy, I have concluded that Mr. Wright's conduct on Dec. 8 violated the policy and warrants discipline," commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement.

In a separate statement released by the players' union, Wright reiterated comments he made early in spring training when he insisted he "did not make physical contact with my wife. The legal case that was retired supports that claim."

Wright also said he regrets his actions and takes full responsibility. His decision not to appeal the suspension was made "in an effort to move forward and focus on my family and returning from injury," the pitcher said. He also apologized to the Red Sox, teammates, fans and his family and expressed gratitude for their support.

Wright's suspension matches last year's 15-game punishment for New York Mets

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Aaron Judge tracks down Ivan DeJesus Jr.'s deep fly but just misses robbing the solo homer.

The 2018 Uni Watch MLB preview

March, 22, 2018
Mar 22

Los Angeles DodgersLos Angeles DodgersThe Dodgers celebrate their 60th year on the West Coast in 2018.

If you're the kind of person who gets misty-eyed about anniversaries, you're going to love the 2018 MLB season. Eight teams will be marking various anniversaries via sleeve patches (it's not clear if this is a single-season record, but it's definitely in the running), and another team is marking an anniversary with its season-ticket designs.

In addition to all of the anniversary patches, we have the usual assortment of new alternate uniforms, holiday uniforms, throwback uniforms and more. With the regular season set to begin March 29, here's our annual rundown of what you can expect to see on the field this season, broken down by team.

Ready? Here we go.

Jump to team:


East: Atlanta Braves | Miami Marlins | New York Mets | Philadelphia Phillies | Washington Nationals

Central: Chicago Cubs | Cincinnati Reds | Milwaukee Brewers | Pittsburgh Pirates | St. Louis Cardinals

West: Arizona Diamondbacks | Colorado Rockies | Los Angeles Dodgers | San Diego Padres | San Francisco Giants

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Kim Klement/USA Today SportsXander Bogaerts is already a productive regular, but he could be ready to deliver big-time power in 2018.

A young shortstop ready to reach new heights in Boston. The Cubs' next big offensive threat. These nine guys could exceed all expectations this season.

Chris Sale is set to make his first Opening Day start for the Boston Red Sox

The ace left-hander was chosen by new manager Alex Cora to start the season opener March 29 against the Tampa Bay Rays. He will oppose Chris Archer

Cora said he informed Sale about the Opening Day assignment after his start Monday against the Phillies.

"I told him after the game yesterday, and he's like, he was cool and excited about it," Cora said. "But he wasn't excited about his performance [against the Phillies]. "I told him, 'Hey, tomorrow you run the bases, start getting ready, and you got Game 1 and Game 6 [an interleague start against the Miami Marlins]."

Sale is coming off a stellar first season for Boston, going 17-8 with a 2.90 ERA. He finished second in Cy Young voting. That award's previous winner, Rick Porcello, started the 2017 opener for Boston. 

Cora said Tuesday that David Price and Porcello will follow Sale in the rotation. Lefty Brian Johnson is expected to start the team's fourth game, while a fifth starter has yet to be named. 

Price would be in line to start the home opener against the Rays on April 5. 

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Kevin Millar and Chris Rose discuss the Yankees and Red Sox crossing the pond to play a series in London in 2019.

This story appears in the 20th anniversary issue of ESPN The Magazine. Subscribe today!

Behold our unassailable list of the most dominant champions of the past 20 years, headed by one very recent, very dominant basketball team. And by unassailable, we of course mean: Let the arguments begin!

To get to our list, we looked at the same collection of sports as our Dominant 20 athletes, then we adjusted data twice, once to normalize teams from a given sport across time and again to put top teams across different sports on a common baseline. This means all sports and all years can be considered equal.

In the final results, one Dominance Share equals one standard deviation of performance beyond that sport's average title team.

For example: The 2016-17 Golden State Warriors scored 115.9 points per game and allowed 104.3. After controlling for pace of play and quality of opponents, they were 11.35 points, or 2.71 standard deviations, above the NBA average that season. Among all NBA champions since 1997-98, that figure of 2.71 SD is 2.40 standard deviations above average.

There is one team that would have scored 3.60 SD, a result we would expect to see about once every 488 years. But that team is the 2007 Patriots, whom we could not include. Only teams that won championships could make our list. That's the one time the postseason matters in these comparisons. You can't truly be dominant if you lose your last game of the season.

1. 2016-17 Golden State Warriors (NBA)

Keating's score: 2.40

Key stat: Went 16-1 in the postseason, the best showing in a single NBA postseason, ahead of that of the 2001 Los Angeles Lakers (15-1) and 1983 Philadelphia 76ers (12-1).

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NEW YORK -- Major League Baseball is working to finalize a two-game series between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox at London's Olympic Stadium on June 29-30 in 2019, the sport's first regular-season games in Europe.

The Red Sox have the option of having both games be Boston home games, the person familiar with the planning said. The person spoke on condition of anonymity Monday because no announcement had been made.

"I've never been to London,'' Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "So, if that's true, maybe I'm going to London. Anytime you can grow our game, I think that's a pretty cool thing.''

Baseball officials have long hoped for games in London and settled last year on Olympic Stadium, which is in its second season as home of West Ham of the Premier League. Because it originally was built for a 400-meter track, it is wider than other large stadiums in the London area and can best accommodate the dimensions of a baseball field.

"This is something the two clubs have discussed for years with MLB, and hopefully it will become a reality," Red Sox owner John Henry said in an email to The Associated Press.

MLB chose the June window because it is after the Premier League season and before the stadium must be made available for summer track and field events. MLB hopes to make an announcement within the next two months.

Each player would get $60,000 for participating in the games, according to the collective bargaining agreement.

"I think it would be a lot of fun, to be honest,'' Yankees first baseman Greg Bird said. "I think the travel would be interesting, how they set that up.''

MLB is playing regular-season games in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Monterrey, Mexico, this year.

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With his infant daughter's condition improving following heart surgery, Craig Kimbrel rejoined the Boston Red Sox on Monday, threw live batting practice and declared he will be ready for Opening Day next week.

"There's no denying it's been the toughest thing we've ever been through," Kimbrel said in a news conference at the team's spring training facility. "In the last week, her recovery has been unbelievable, and she's showing great signs."

Kimbrel's daughter, Lydia Joy, was born in November with a heart condition. Three weeks ago, the All-Star closer left the Red Sox with the team's permission to be with Lydia for the second of three surgeries at Boston Children's Hospital. While he was away, teammates wore red T-shirts with the slogan #LydiaStrong as a show of support for the Kimbrels.

Lydia is expected to be released from the hospital within a few weeks, according to Kimbrel. The third surgery won't take place until she's 3 or 4 years old to "straighten up her anatomy so she can grow as a normal child," he said.

In an emotional news conference, Kimbrel expressed his gratitude to the medical staff at Boston Children's Hospital, in addition to the Red Sox for allowing him to leave camp. Kimbrel, a free agent after this season, also noted that he feels fortunate to have access to the medical care in Boston.

"My wife and I talk about it all the time," he said. "We're very strong in our faith. We believe that everything in life happens for a reason, even if we don't understand it at the time."

Although Kimbrel spent most of the past few weeks at the hospital, he was able to steal a few hours each day to work out and throw, usually at nearby Babson College. A few days ago, he threw live batting practice, after Babson coach Matt Noone arranged for hitters to stand in.

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David Ortiz says he misses "hanging out with the boys" and that he visited Red Sox workouts and gave advice to J.D. Martinez about being Boston's DH.
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY SportsWhen it came time to train for the 2018 season, Red Sox ace Chris Sale reached out to 19-year-old prospect Jason Groome for pitching prep ... and Pilates.

When it came time to train for the 2018 season, the Red Sox ace reached out to the 19-year-old prospect for pitching prep -- and Pilates.

Straight out of the Mexican League and onto the Boston Red Sox

March, 16, 2018
Mar 16
Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty ImagesEsteban Quiroz dives for a ground ball at the Red Sox spring training in Fort Myers, Florida.

Esteban Quiroz will start the season in the minors while Hector Velazquez is in line for a spot in Boston's starting rotation.

David PriceJasen Vinlove/USA TODAY SportsBoston Red Sox starting pitcher David Price delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Toronto Blue Jays during a spring training game at JetBlue Park.

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Making his first Grapefruit League start -- and first start of any kind in a competitive environment since last July 22 -- Boston Red Sox pitcher David Price gave up one hit and one walk in four innings Thursday against a Toronto Blue Jays lineup that featured only three regulars.

He established his fastball and cutter early on, then incorporated his changeup and even his curveball the second time through the batting order.

And when he was finished throwing 55 pitches (34 for strikes), as the Red Sox were still in the process of a 7-5 victory, Price praised the team for intentionally taking it slower than usual with him and fellow ace Chris Sale this spring in an attempt to keep them fresher and stronger late in the season.

"This is March 15 and I've never been able to have a four-pitch mix on March 15," Price said. "I've never been this far along in spring training, even though I've only thrown in one game. I'm excited about that."

Price has always been good at first impressions.

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The Cincinnati Reds have added John Farrell as an internal scout who will evaluate players already in the system.

It will be Farrell's first job since the Red Sox dismissed him as their manager last October with one year left on his contract. He posted a 432-378 record over five seasons with Boston, including a World Series championship in 2013 and two last-place finishes.

The 55-year-old Farrell is expected to report to Reds spring training camp in Goodyear, Arizona, on Thursday.

Buddy Bell, who was hired by Cincinnati as a vice president and adviser in the offseason, reached out to Farrell about the scouting role.

"We wanted to get a fresh pair of eyes on the players in our system," manager Bryan Price said Thursday. "He is a very good talent evaluator, especially with pitching. You have to understand your players better than any other organization."

Farrell's son Luke pitched for the Reds last season, including a game in Cincinnati against the Red Sox. Luke Farrell was claimed off waivers by the Chicago Cubs during the offseason.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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Courtesy of Mayra BazavilvazoBoston basher J.D. Martinez, who grew up rooting for the Red Sox, had an unforgettable first trip to Fenway Park -- thanks to his older sister, Mayra Bazavilvazo.

The Boston basher, who grew up rooting for the Red Sox, had an unforgettable first trip to Fenway Park -- thanks to his older sister.