Sox kick off Spring Training with college doubleheader: what to watch for
Today is the day many Sox fans have been waiting for all winter: the college doubleheader. The wind may be howling in Boston, but the Sox are in sunny Florida and will kick off Spring Training with games against Northeastern University and Boston College.
Who to keep an eye on:
The Sox regulars will be playing the day game versus Northeastern while various prospects will get some action against BC in the night game. David Ortiz and Mike Napoli have not been cleared yet for full baseball activities, so they are left off of the lineup, but the rest of the roster will get some time on the field as they shake off some of the rust from the winter.
The game versus Northeastern will start at 1:35 p.m. and will feature most of the Sox starting position players. Here’s the lineup facing the Huskies in the day game.
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Shane Victorino RF
Jonny Gomes LF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia DH
Will Middlebrooks 3B
Stephen Drew SS
Lyle Overbay 1B
David Ross C
As a rule, you cannot put too much stock in spring training rosters and batting orders, but this could be a good indication of what the Opening Day lineup looks like versus the New York Yankees in April. Once you add the big bats of David Ortiz and Mike Napoli, things could get shaken up, but it is still a good indication what to look for this season.
That said, the Sox feature a pretty strong lineup this year. What it lacks in star power it makes up for in scrappy determination. The question that will soon be answered though, is whether or not it is enough.
What to watch for:
The big thing for today is that the players get a few at bats and practice in game situations. It is one thing to do fielding drills but another to play an actual game. The Sox will show some rust today as they acclimate to playing baseball after a long winter, but look to see them get back into a groove and set the tone for the rest of Spring Training.
Be sure to watch newcomers Stephen Drew, Jonny Gomes, David Ross, Lyle Overbay, and Shane Victorino as they join their new team in the first game of 2013.
The Sox starting pitchers will get the day off, however the bullpen will get plenty of action in both games. In the day game there will be a mix of major league pitchers and prospects, most notably: Joel Hanrahan followed by Daniel Bard, Andrew Miller, and Clayton Mortensen.
The big thing for today will be Daniel Bard’s first outing since his horrendous 2012 campaign. These games are meaningless, which takes the pressure off of Bard giving him a chance to relax and throw like he did earlier in his career. Hopefully it will pay off and allow him to rediscover what made him one of the elite relievers in the AL East.
Koji Uehara and Andrew Bailey will be the only players from the MLB roster to get some action versus the BC Eagles today as they try to loosen up and get ready for the 2013 season.
It sure is good to know that baseball is being played again and that 2012 is nothing more than a (bad) memory as the Sox hope to restore order and trust in 2013.
The comeback starts today.