Christian Vazquez will make his return to the Red Sox lineup Friday afternoon, just not at his usual place behind the plate. Instead he'll take on the role of designated hitter, while Ryan Hanigan starts at catcher in his place.
Boston Red Sox (9-7)
- Mookie Betts, CF
- Dustin Pedroia, 2B
- Pablo Sandoval, 3B
- Hanley Ramirez, LF
- Mike Napoli, 1B
- Shane Victorino, RF
- Xander Bogaerts, SS
- Ryan Hanigan, C
- Christian Vazquez, DH
Starting Pitcher -- Justin Masterson
At this point John Farrell's Opening Day lineup seems pretty clear, with the only real question being whether or not Rusney Castillo manages to make his way into right field in place of Shane Victorino. Given how slow they've been bringing him back from his oblique strain, it seems likely that the Red Sox will run with this opportunity to avoid the outfield logjam they've had coming their way for a while now, opting instead to give Castillo some time either in the minors or in extended spring training as a replacement for time missed in spring.
With that settled, Mookie Betts is clearly the leadoff man, and the Ortiz - Ramirez 3 - 4 combo has only been broken up by Papi's hydration issues. Expect Pablo Sandoval to flip back to fifth, and for Shane Victorino to stay ahead of Xander Bogaerts in the order until one or the other proves a change is necessary. That leaves ninth reserved for the catcher to finish it out. (Dustin Pedroia should go without saying at this point.)
First pitch is at 1:05 p.m. ET, but there's no radio or television broadcast this time around, so it's Gameday or bust I'm afraid.