Red Sox Pitchers Start Hitting Program As Interleague Series Against Phillies Approaches

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Red Sox Pitchers Start Hitting Program As Interleague Series Against Phillies ApproachesBOSTON — On the first day of spring training, the Red Sox pitching staff took to the batting cages.

The objective was to start sharpening the pitchers' hitting skills in preparation for interleague play — and a possible World Series appearance. Now, with a series against the Phillies a week away, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine is having his pitchers return to taking hacks.

And hitting coach Dave Magadan has implemented a hitting program for all Red Sox pitchers.

"They have a whole session of bunting, and from what I gather, we have some guys who not only like to swing but can swing," Valentine said. "There's nothing wrong with getting a hit if they go up there."

The notion of pitchers hitting also triggered discussion about the status of the designated hitter in future interleague matchups. When asked about his opinion, Valentine offered an interesting thought.

"The only way I thought that there should be an adjustment is to flip-flop it," Valentine said. "Have the DH in the National League city and the pitcher hit in the American League city so that the fans of the different cities could see the different play."

The Red Sox will get their first taste of interleague action on Friday, when they travel to Philadelphia to face off against former closer Jonathan Papelbon.

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