Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Finally taking a look at the Sox...

We're well into Spring Training, and less than two weeks away from the beginning of the regular season on April 2nd, managers are beginning to let players know who's making the trip North and who isn't. There are already certain givens on the Red Sox roster. Who you might ask? I would say you can count on the following -

Pitchers (Expected to carry 12) -

Starters (5)* -
Josh Beckett
Curt Schilling
Daisuke Matsuzaka
Jonathan Papelbon
Tim Wakefield

Relievers (7) -
Julian Tavarez
JC Romero
Joel Pineiro
Hideki Okajima
Brendan Donnelly
Kyle Snyder*
Manny Delcarmen*

* The Sox will be starting the season with Mike Timlin on the DL, with Timlin on the DL it opens up a second spot in the bullpen to start the season. Look for either Snyder or Delcarmen to be the odd man out when Timlin returns.

The Sox also have additional depth at starter. Lefty Jon Lester will start the season in Pawtucket, and will likely be the first to get the call if one Boston's starters go down. Reports out of Florida this spring also saw Devern Hansack make a serious push for a spot on the big-league club. With these guys waiting in the wings, expect this to be Schilling's last season in a Sox uniform. The real question mark becomes Matt Clement who is rehabbing. Will he ever be seen again in the majors?

Catchers (2) -
Jason Varitek
Doug Mirabelli

Infeilders (5) -
Kevin Youkilis**
Alex Cora**
Dustin Pedroia
Julio Lugo
Mike Lowell

** Players like Youkilis and Cora will give manager Terry Francona the extra flexibility to carry an extra pitcher instead of an extra fielder due to their ability to play at more than one spot on the diamond.

Outfielders (5) *** -
Coco Crisp
JD Drew
Manny Ramirez
Wily Mo Pena

***The only question here is who is the fifth outfielder/utility player. Eric Hinske has not hit well in spring training, but is a proven commodity on the major-league level and can play third. The other option in camp is rookie David Murphy who has had a good camp, but would probably benefit from the everyday playing time he could get at Pawtucket.

DH (1) -
David Ortiz

Likely batting order? I'm guessing...

1. Lugo
2. Youkilis
3. Ortiz
4. Ramirez
5. Drew
6. Varitek
7. Lowell
8. Crisp
9. Pedroia

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