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Red Sox vs. Phillies: Jon Lester grabs a bat

Batting ninth...Jon Lester?

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Jon Lester--yes, that Jon Lester--will have a bat in hand Friday afternoon as the Red Sox head to Clearwater to take on the Philadelphia Phillies.

Boston Red Sox (8-13)

  1. Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
  2. Jonny Gomes, LF
  3. Will Middlebrooks, 3B
  4. A.J. Pierzynski, C
  5. Bryce Brentz, RF
  6. Mike Carp, 1B
  7. Jonathan Herrera, SS
  8. Mike McCoy, 2B
  9. Jon Lester, P
Philadelphia Phillies (6-14)
  1. Tony Gwynn, CF
  2. Jimmy Rollins, SS
  3. Chase Utley, 2B
  4. Ryan Howard, 1B
  5. Marlon Byrd, RF
  6. John Mayberry, LF
  7. Ronny Cedeno, 3B
  8. Wil Nieves, C
  9. Cliff Lee, P

I'll admit to some uncertainty when it comes to Grapefruit League rules. After all, the nuances of games that mean absolutely nothing rarely matter much themselves. But here we are with Jon Lester batting and I've got no good reason why.

On the one hand, perhaps it's the Phillies' choice to play with or without a DH. Does it even bear mentioning how silly it would be that a game being used exclusively for training purposes would have a rule forcing an American League pitcher to bat, given all that entails? Having the two teams be on even footing shouldn't come into a play in a contest where the result carries no actual weight.

On the other hand, it might be the Red Sox trying to get their pitcher some ABs, given the now year-long nature of interleague play. Except that the Sox don't hit a National League park until late May, which makes this particular scenario unlikely.

Whatever the case, Lester in the batter's box is weird, and potentially dangerous. Hopefully he'll just be there to watch pitches fly by.

With the season close at hand, it seems like all the games have one broadcast or another. Today is no different, with the MLB Network providing the feed. First pitch is at 1:05 p.m. EST.