With Shane Victorino returning to Jet Blue Park, do we have our first look at Boston's starting nine?
The Red Sox will once again take on the Rays Sunday afternoon, this time in Jet Blue Park.
With the World Baseball Classic over, Shane Victorino has returned to the Red Sox fold, giving John Farrell the ability to find him a place in the lineup. Interestingly enough, the upshot of this may be that we get our first look at the Opening Day lineup:
Boston Red Sox
- Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
- Shane Victorino, RF
- Dustin Pedroia, 2B
- Mike Napoli, 1B
- Jarrod Saltalamacchia, DH
- Will Middlebrooks, 3B
- Jonny Gomes, LF
- David Ross, C
- Jose Iglesias, SS
Starting Pitcher -- Jon Lester
It's not, obviously, the ideal starting nine. But with David Ortiz and Stephen Drew ailing, it might be what we get come April.
The one thing in question might be whether or not John Farrell will be willing to put both of his catchers in one lineup. Especially with the backup catcher batting fifth. It probably makes more sense on the whole to just have one catcher in, with Daniel Nava or Ryan Sweeney playing left field, and Jonny Gomes playing DH.
Then again, with Lester on the mound, Farrell might want David Ross and his superb framing skills behind the plate. Lester had a tendency to struggle when he wasn't getting close calls, and Ross can certainly help with that. In that case, the question would be between having Salty's bat in the lineup, or having Nava/Sweeney's glove in left field.
Otherwise, the only possible eyebrow-raiser is Jose Iglesias at shortstop, but it seems pretty clear he's going to get the call if Stephen Drew spends any time on the disabled list.
It's also worth noting that Dustin Pedroia is still batting third, with Victorino taking over his traditional second spot. Then again, Ortiz would really be the one to dislodge him, and he's still missing.
The game will be broadcast on NESN, so we'll have a game thread for those interested.