FORT MYERS, Fla. The Red Sox open their exhibition schedule Saturday with the traditional doubleheader against Northeastern and Boston College.
Left-hander Jon Lester is scheduled to start the first game against Northeastern and pitch two innings, followed by right-handers matt Albers, Michael Bowden, and Justin Germano.
Lefty Felix Doubront is scheduled to start the night cap against BC, going two innings, followed by righties Doug Mathis, Chorye Spoone, and Junichi Tazawa.
The first time out, this is, you know everyone says, Oh, its just a spring training game, said manager Bobby Valentine. But getting their legs underneath them, and being out in the center of the diamond is always a new experience, every year. So I just want them to get the newness out of it. Anybody whos working on a pitch, they might work on a pitch too. But basically the first outing is just to get in and out of the game. Thats really what Im looking for.
Valentine is looking for similar things from his position players.
Position players get in the box with a little adrenaline going, Valentine said. Because you dont usually have a lot of adrenaline in batting practice and standing in in the bullpen. Just get that feeling back. Some guys might be working on a bunt or working on taking a certain pitch that they have been swinging at in the past and you can start off the spring by doing something successfully. Its more just to get your feet underneath your body.
Senior right-hander Sam Berg of Brooklyn, NY, will start for Northeastern. Left-hander Steve Green is starting for BC.
A. Sherrod Blakely discusses the big money deals players have been receiving.
BOSTON – It’s a toss-up as to which was celebrated more by Boston Celtics fans: Dwight Howard coming to terms with the Atlanta Hawks, or the fact that it significantly improves Boston’s chances of landing one of their top free agent targets Al Horford.
A league executive texted CSNNE.com that Howard being off the market and going to Atlanta, should make the Celtics the favorite to land Horford.
Acquiring Horford, a four-time all-star, would be the biggest free agent signing in the Danny Ainge era. Boston is scheduled to meet with Horford tonight and is expected to offer him a four-year, $113 million max contract.
But as much as the Celtics want Horford, their primary target remains Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant who may be more inclined to seriously consider Boston if they were to acquire Horford.
After signing with the Blazers, Evan Turner has been making the rounds showering praise on the Celtics organization and fans. He also left a farewell gift for those excited about free agency: Turner told the Boston Globe that Danny Ainge “seemed confident” at the Celtics’ chances of signing free agent center Al Horford.
Previous reports indicated that the Celtics plan to make a max-contract offer to Horford when they meet him Friday night in Atlanta. The Rockets are the only other team that has reportedly met with the former Hawks All-Star, and Houston's situation isn’t nearly as attractive as Boston’s.
If the Celtics do manage to land Horford on Friday, they’d obviously be adding a former All-Star who’d immediately help the team on both ends of the floor. Immediately, though, Horford would give them another recruiter. Horford and Durant reportedly would like to play with each other, so having him enter the room might help their chances at luring Durant to Boston during Saturday's meeting.
As for Turner, he told the Globe that Ainge expressed he would like him back, but would've had to take a pay cut and a reduced role.
"I liked Boston a lot, bro. The organization, and it’s just a sports city and the city is super nice," Turner told the Globe. "If you put money and everything aside, I would play in Boston every single day of the week. Seeing all those Hall of Famers come back and everything, that’s a real franchise."
The Celtics will likely be saying singing a similar tune to both Horford and Durant this weekend.