As the Boston Red Sox started their slate of spring training games on Friday, the team took the next step toward Opening Day, which is just under a month away in Seattle against the Mariners on March 28.

Since originally projecting the Opening Day lineup, starting rotation and bullpen, the Red Sox have made a few moves to alter the 26-man group they will likely trot out to start the season.

In recent days, the Red Sox traded reliever John Schreiber to the Kansas City Royals while signing former All-Star closer Liam Hendriks to a two-year deal. Hendriks will stay off of this projection as his recovery from Tommy John surgery will continue into the summer.

With around five weeks to go until the 2024 regular season starts, Boston could still find additions that could tweak the group that Alex Cora will have suiting up for the Red Sox.

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For now, here’s a projected look at the 26-man Opening Day roster for the Red Sox:

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Infielders (6): Triston Casas, Vaughn Grissom, Rafael Devers, Trevor Story, Pablo Reyes, Bobby Dalbec

Boston has four set-in-stone starters around the diamond, especially with Casas and Devers leading the lineup. Story and Grissom form the latest double play combination up the middle and both look to add right-handed pop in the order.

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Reyes played well in his limited time with the Red Sox in 2023. As for Dalbec, his newfound versatility allows him to return to the majors on a consistent basis for the first time since 2022.

Outfielders (5): Masataka Yoshida, Jarren Duran, Tyler O’Neill, Wilyer Abreu, Rob Refsnyder

Yoshida will be the primary designated hitter for Alex Cora, though he will surely find a few spot starts in left field. Cora discussed that overall athleticism from their outfielders will allow them to cycle positions, though he noted comfort with Abreu in right field.

Refsnyder also returns as the true fourth outfielder and will still find his way into the lineup for as long as he continues to barrel up left-handed pitching (.308 AVG and .828 OPS vs. LHP in 2023).

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Catchers (2): Connor Wong, Reese McGuire
In a perfect world, Kyle Teel does indeed develop into the catcher of the future for the Red Sox. Maybe he will make his debut by the end of this season.

For now, Boston runs it back with the current tandem after Wong took a step forward in his overall game a season ago. Though he battled injuries for most of the year, McGuire can still be a productive bat in a backup role.

Starting Pitchers (5): Brayan Bello, Lucas Giolito, Nick Pivetta, Kutter Crawford, Tanner Houck

The Red Sox are absolutely going to rely on upside and building off momentum with the current rotation. Bello and Giolito will be the workhorses while Pivetta searches for consistency after recharging his potential last year in the bullpen.

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Kutter Crawford continues to emerge as a legitimate starter at the back of the rotation, keeping the Red Sox in games and attacking hitters with his fastball.

Houck likely wins the No. 5 spot after several arms compete for the spot in spring training. Though the 27-year-old has tallied better numbers as a reliever, Houck gets his next chance to put it all together with great stuff in the rotation.

Relievers: (8): Kenley Jansen, Chris Martin, Justin Slaten, Bryan Mata, Garrett Whitlock, Josh Winckowski, Brennan Bernardino, Chris Murphy

Boston’s bullpen shined when rested in 2023 and returns several quality arms from last season’s group.

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Jansen and Martin form a nearly untouchable veteran duo at the back of the bullpen once again. Though both pitchers are competing for the No. 5 spot in the rotation, Whitlock and Winckowski should return to the bullpen where they have dominated before.

Brennan Bernardino and Chris Murphy serve as the southpaws of the group in both short and long relief.

Finally, a pair of newcomers enter the group. Slaten impressed in the minors with the Texas Rangers last year, and Mata finally makes the jump to Boston after getting healthy and running out of minor league options.

Featured image via Eric Canha/USA TODAY Sports Images