Spring Training Has Officially Begun

With some players such as Youkilis and Penny showing up a few days early for camp to get some extra work in, camp began a few days ago. But all pitchers and catchers were required to report to camp today marking the first official day of spring training. The Red Sox like their chances. And why shouldn’t they? Afterall, just last season they were a game away from the world series. Sure Manny’s gone. But that means a few good things. No question marks of who’s going to show up to camp on time. No more distractions surrounding Manny’s mood swings. And Jason Bay in case you haven’t noticed is not too bad of a hitter himself. He hit .300 after joining the Red Sox. His swing is made for Fenway Park. I expect him to hold up those kind of numbers all season long this year. Youkilis is fresh off a campaign that saw him 3rd in the MVP voting and landing him a very nice long term deal. Same goes for Pedroia who won the MVP and almost the batting crown in 2008. He ended up losing to Joe Mauer at the last minute as Mauer added another to his trophy case.

Penny is on a mission. He wants to prove to baseball that he is healthy and back to form. He struggled last season through some injuries but as he put it, the Red Sox shoulder program is among the best in baseball and he has already noticed a significant difference in how he feels. He is throwing with no pain as of right now.

Beckett should be back to form after an injury plagued 2008. He says he feels great coming into 2009.

Ortiz should be back. His wrist feels great and I expect he will be on a mission this year not just to earn a new contract,  but to try to earn his spot as the DH for the Red Sox. I imagine when guys like Pujols hit the market, Ortiz may find himself out a job if he does not return to form.

Rocco Baldelli and Drew will take turns being injured all year, but thats not a bad problem to have as they are both quality outfielders. Drew if he can stay healthy I believe is capable of putting up a line looking like this: AVG: .300-.305 HR: 20-23 RBI:95-105. If he does that, the Red Sox offense will look untouchable. However, he is getting older and more injury prone. So the days of those numbers may be gone. However, he posted .280 19 and 64 last season in 109 games, so its not out of the question. Baldelli’s numbers will be determined by his playing time. I predict he will probably play in 80-100 games this season.

Terry Francona is excited, I’m excited, and I will do my best to keep you posted as new information comes in on player development. My eyes this spring training will be on Clay Bucholz. I’d love to see him give Boston a reason to put him on the 25 man roster. Hes got about 5 or 6 reasons he should be up there ahead of Tim Wakefield. This year (if you ask me) is the year we see Wake move to the pen.

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