It's that time of year again: the Red Sox will kick off their spring training schedule Tuesday afternoon with their traditional college double-header against Northeastern University and Boston College. And right away, we have a look at what might well be the Opening Day lineup:
- Mookie Betts, CF
- Dustin Pedroia, 2B
- David Ortiz, DH
- Hanley Ramirez, LF
- Pablo Sandoval, 3B
- Mike Napoli, 1B
- Shane Victorino, RF
- Xander Bogaerts, SS
- Christian Vazquez, C
Starting Pitcher -- Clay Buchholz
Talk about pulling no punches.
Obviously a lot can change between now and Opening Day, but of all the realistic Opening Day lineups we might have seen, this has to be one of the favorites. And given how close it is, it's hard not to read at least a little bit into the fact that, sure enough, Shane Victorino is the starting right fielder, with Rusney Castillo playing with the "B-team" against Boston College.
But let's not get crazy here. This is one of the lowest-cost opportunities for John Farrell to defer to seniority. He's sticking with his story that injury hasn't cost Victorino his job...but spring training performance could put anyone in the lead, and when it really comes down to it, there's plenty of games to go around between right and center field.
For now, let's just be happy that baseball is back, and it's even brought us an Ortiz - Ramirez combination at 3 - 4. It's the first time we've seen this particular iteration, but it still feels right.
First pitch is at 1:05 p.m. EST with WEEI providing a radio broadcast. No television coverage until Thursday, unfortunately.