Rejuvenated Red Sox open 2013 exhibtion play on Thursday
After a season that grew more abominable by the pitch, the Boston Red Sox re-tooled this off-season in hopes of once again competing well in the American League. As veteran free agents were brought to fill the holes left by disappointing stars, hope grew in the northeast for a sort of Red Sox rebirth. With nearly a full week of practices now completed sunny Florida, Boston will begin its renaissance in the first spring exhibitions of 2013 against two other teams also full of hopefuls.
At 1:35 p.m. and 5:05 p.m. this Thursday, the Red Sox will battle with Boston College and Northeastern in their annual split-squad doubleheader against the two schools. Each contest will last seven innings. Boston's first exhibition against an MLB team will come Saturday against Tampa Bay at 1:35 p.m. with John Lackey getting the start.
First-year manager John Farrell, who left the same position in Toronto to come to Beantown, will run a team much different from the Boston group that took the field a year ago. Long-time pros Shane Victorino, Mike Napoli, David Ross, Jonny Gomes and Ryan Dempster amongst others have joined to be key cogs in the 2013 campaign. Expectations are not high for the team's chances, though members of the World Series clubs of last decade have returned as to aid the team.
Jason Varitek and Pedro Martinez are now serving in special roles, as either advisors or coaches, to help develop the organization's young talent. The Red Sox received a load of prospects through their mid-season trades a year ago, already adding to a strong farm system.
The first nationally televised sprint training game is scheduled for March 11, between the Yankees and Cardinals on ESPN. The regular season will get underway on March 31st when the Houston Astors, the newest members of the American League West, host the Texas Rangers. First pitch is scheduled for 8:05 p.m. and the game will also be broadcast on ESPN.
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