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Predicted Opening Day Roster

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Rotation
RHP Curt Schilling
LHP David Wells
RHP Matt Clement
RHP Bronson Arroyo
RHP Tim Wakefield

The rotation looks solid but is lacking one important player: Wade Miller. Since this is my prediction for opening day, he is not on the list because he is recovering from a frayed rotator cuff. Many people think we'll see Miller in June or July, and since the Red Sox really don't want to push him then we may not see him throw his first pitch until July. Curt Schilling enters the season as the ace of a new-looking staff that includes "Boomah" David Wells and Matt Clement who was seventh in the National League last season in strikeouts (190). Joining them is Bronson Arroyo who, over the past year, has started to pitch to his potential. And then to round out the rotation is "Mr. Reliable" Tim Wakefield who enters his 11th season as a Red Sox.

Bullpen
RHP Keith Foulke
RHP Mike Timlin
LHP Alan Embree
RHP Matt Mantei
LHP John Halama
RHP Byung-Hyun Kim or LHP Mark Malaska

The 2005 bullpen for the Red Sox is either a hit or miss. Age is becoming a big concern and there are a few members of the bullpen can feel the effects of it this season. Mike Timlin (39 on opening day) hasn't had such a high earned run average (ERA) as last year since 2000 and Alan Embree (35) has lost velocity since joining the Red Sox. If age doesn't become a factor this season, nor does health, then the Red Sox may have the best bullpen in baseball. Reliable closer Keith Foulke comes back for his second season as a member of the Sox. New additions Matt Mantei and John Halama will be a huge boost to the bullpen if both can stay healthy and perform up to expectations. The questionable spot in the bullpen is the last spot, where Byung-Hyun Kim could win the job if he isn't traded. If Kim's velocity improves and his mental stability is all there, or just better, then Kim may be on the opening day roster. If not, I see lefty Mark Malaska making an appearance for the Old Towne Team.

Lineup
CF Johnny Damon
2B Mark Bellhorn
LF Manny Ramirez
DH David Ortiz
SS Edgar Renteria
RF Trot Nixon
1B Kevin Millar
C Jason Varitek
3B Bill Mueller

The lineup may be stronger than ever and that is a scary thought considering the Sox scored 949 runs last season; the best in the majors. Not only that but they lead the majors in on-base percentage, batting average, slugging percentage, on-base plus slugging, total bases, runs batted in and doubles. With the addition of All-Star shortstop Edgar Renteria and right fielder Trot Nixon in full health, the Sox may be able to top their numbers from last season. The first base issue seems to be settled after Theo Epstein traded Doug Mientkiewicz in the off-season for prospect Ian Bladergroen, giving the job to clubhouse clown Kevin Millar. Millar provides the laughter and hopefully the hits all season long this year.

Bench
OF Jay Payton
OF Adam Stern
IF Ramon Vasquez
C Doug Mirabelli
1B Roberto Petagine or 3B Kevin Youkilis

There are three locks on the bench in my opinion: knuckleball catcher Doug Mirabelli, new outfielder Jay Payton and infielder Ramon Vazquez. I think Rule-V draftee Adam Stern will make the team because A) if he doesn't, he goes back to Atlanta (if they want him) and B) he'd be the fastest player on the bench and without him the Sox would be lacking a lot of speed. The last issue, in my opinion, is for a backup first baseman. Kevin Youkilis will be trying his hand at the position this spring, but if he doesn't perform well then I wouldn't be surprised to see Japan League star Roberto Petagine get the spot. He's a clone of David McCarty defensively, except he has a lot more power. All Petagine has to do is show that he can hit American pitching; something he couldn't do in his first stint in the majors.