With the disastrous 2012 campaign still fresh in the minds of fans and prognosticators, the Boston Red Sox will open the 2013 season against the 2012 American League East champion New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. The Sox, who have missed the playoffs for the past three seasons, are predicted by many to finish no better than the middle of the pack in the AL East; only a few give the team an outside shot at a wild card spot.
The 2013 squad features many new faces, including starting pitcher Ryan Dempster, closer Joel Hanrahan, first baseman Mike Napoli, who will be making the transition from catcher for the Sox, and outfielders Jonny Gomes and Shane Victorino. Another new face is rookie Jackie Bradley, Jr., who impressed coaches and fans alike this spring and, with the absence of David Ortiz due to injury, has been given the opportunity to start the season on the 25-man roster, having never played higher than Double-A in his brief minor league career.
Of course, several familiar faces remain, including pitchers Clay Buchholz, John Lackey, and southpaw Jon Lester, who will square off against CC Sabathia at 1:05 PM this afternoon, catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, second baseman Dustin Pedroia, third baseman Will Middlebrooks, and outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury.
Former Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell, who piloted the rival Toronto Blue Jays over the past two seasons, takes over for the departed Bobby Valentine as manager.
Here is the complete Opening Day roster for Boston (asterisk denotes today’s starters):
David Ross, Jarrod Saltalamacchia*
Jackie Bradley*, Jacoby Ellsbury*, Jonny Gomes*, Daniel Nava, Shane Victorino*
On the disabled list to begin the season are outfielder Ryan Kalish (right shoulder surgery), shortstop Stephen Drew (concussion), designated hitter David Ortiz (right heel inflammation), and pitchers Craig Breslow (left shoulder tendinitis) and Franklin Morales (back). Breslow, Morales, and Ortiz begin the season on the 15-day DL, while Drew is on the 7-day DL and Kalish is on the 60-day DL.