The Red Sox will take the field for a pair of seven-inning games against Boston College and Northeastern, simply looking to take that next step in getting ready for Opening Day.
Several regulars will play in the opener against the Eagles, including Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis. In all likelihood, neither will receive more than two at-bats, but getting back on the field is a significant benchmark.
“I’m excited,” Pedroia told reporters Friday. “My biggest thing is to get out there and just get in the flow of the game, and make sure I’m healthy and feel good…Just see pitches, get used to everything and that’s it. I just can’t wait. It’s going to be fun.”
Pedroia is one of five Red Sox players in the two games whose seasons ended early because of a physical issue. Youkilis, Jacoby Ellsbury, Mike Cameron and Marco Scutaro are the others.
Youkilis hasn’t played since August. Ellsbury was limited to just 18 games all last year. Cameron’s last game was July 30. Scutaro couldn’t play shortstop down the stretch in 2010 and was shut down before the final series.
Bench coach DeMarlo Hale discussed the lines of communication between such players and staff that have been critical this spring. It has helped to get everyone on the same page and thrilled to be together on the field again.
“We had a very good pace [in camp],” Hale said. “There was energy. We, as a staff, kind of prepare those veterans to set the tone. Some of the things I liked that we showed in the first nine days was the energy, the concentration.”
That energy and concentration will have to carry the club through the next seven or eight months. It all starts with a chance to get loose.