Two weeks of monotony — bullpen sessions, batting practice, pickoff drills — you know, the stuff we all get excited about when we first get to Spring Training — has ended. Now, your 2010 Red Sox are ready to start taking the field in games, albeit of the exhibition style.
It starts with a soft launch of sorts on Wednesday, with the Sox hosting college foes Northeastern (1 p.m.) and Boston College (6 p.m.) in a day-night doubleheader.
Sox manager Terry Francona, for one, is a big fan of the college games as a way to start the spring.
“I really do,” Francona said. “I hate playing intrasquad games. I think its a waste of a lot of peoples time in camp. The guys that are pitching get something out of it but everybody else is doing a lot of sitting around. Nobody likes facing guys in same uniform, so this is a really good way of getting into our games, I love them.”
On Thursday, MLB competition starts when the Twins come to COP — that’s the lingo for City of Palms Park. Anyway, the Sox return the favor and go to the Twins’ facility in Fort Myers on Friday. Then there is split squad action Saturday. The Sox back at COP against the Twins, and also in Port Charlotte against the Rays. Sunday is a trip of 75 minutes or so to see the Orioles in Sarasota.
The Red Sox’s proficient media relations staff released their pitching schedules for the next several days in an e-mail today.
Against Northeastern, the Red Sox are pitching Casey Kelly, Manny Delcarmen, Adam Mills, Felix Doubront, Dustin Richardson, Ramon A. Ramirez (the waiver pickup not to be confused with the key setup man) and Robert Manuel. For the nightcap against BC, you will see Boof Bonser, Michael Bowden, Junichi Tazawa , Kyle Weiland, Kris Johnson, Fabio Castro and Randor Bierd.
OK, are you ready for Thursday night vs. Minny? Ready or not, here goes.Josh Beckett, Jonathan Papelbon, Hideki Okajima, Daniel Bard, Ramon Ramirez, Brian Shouse, Scott Atchison and Joe Nelson.
Friday’s game at Hammond Stadium. Jon Lester (pictured below by Brita Meng Outzen), Tim Wakefield, Fernando Cabrera, Dustin Richardson, Ramon A. Ramirez, Robert Manuel, Randor Bier.
Saturday at home. John Lackey, Michael Bowden, Manny Delcarmen, Brian Shouse, Joe Nelson, Junichi Tazawa.
Saturday on the road: Felix Doubront, Adam Mills, Kyle Weiland, Fabio Castro.
Sunday at Sarasota: Clay Buchholz (SP), Boof Bonser, Daniel Bard, Scott Atchison, Casey Kelly, Robert Manuel.
So we basically bid adieu to the Player Development Complex until next year, though we are sure to wind up there occasionally for side sessions and B games and the like.
I’ll be blogging and tweeting throughout Wednesday’s doubleheader.
If you aren’t on Twitter, you should be. Find me there.