Red Sox

With tough schedule ahead, Red Sox attempt to lighten players' load

With tough schedule ahead, Red Sox attempt to lighten players' load

BOSTON -- When the Red Sox waited almost 40 minutes after the clubhouse Tuesday opened to post their lineup -- an event usually done prior to the clubhouse opening -- it immediately raised  some eyebrows.

Was this signifying that the Red Sox had a roster move coming, or a trade? Was it indicative of an new injury situation the club was monitoring?

In actuality, it was a reflection of some changes to the daily routine, made as a reaction to the team's schedule. With an eye toward a road-heavy second-half schedule, the Sox have recently taken to having players report to the ballpark later than usual, while shortening up batting practice sessions and other on-field work.

And because players reported to Fenway later, more time had to be allotted for daily treatment and routine physical checks to determine if everyone was set to play Tuesday night.

The Red Sox enjoyed an off-day Monday following their three-game series in New York, and, for their sake, they had better have enjoyed it, The Sox don't have a scheduled off-day agains until Monday Aug. 8.

On that day, they will have just returned from an 11-game road trip on the West Coast.

The overall schedule features a litany of road games in the second half. After the current nine-game homestand is over, the Red Sox will play 41 games on the road the rest of the season and and just 23 more at Fenway.

That includes two more trips to the West Coast -- the one upcoming to three cities, and another over Labor Day weekend to Oakland and San Diego.

What's more, although there are only four road trips remaining, each is a three-city swing. By contrast, the Red Sox have made eight road trips to date and none has featured three cities.

Between time-zone changes and early-morning arrivals, the Red Sox are trying to scale back the workdays in anticipation of what's ahead.

That was another reason for the Sox to obtain the likes of Aaron Hill and Michael Martinez -- veteran players capable of playing several positions -- in recent weeks. Their arrival allows for flexibility as well as some needed off-days for everyday players.

"This is where the depth of our bench is going to be felt,'' said John Farrell. "We're set up with a balanced roster to handle this bunch of games."

Strong Grapefruit League debut for Price

Strong Grapefruit League debut for Price

David Price's Grapefruit League debut was nearly perfect.

The Red Sox left-hander pitched four scoreless innings, allowing a hit and a walk and striking out five in a 7-5 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays in Fort Myers, Fla.

Price threw 55 pitches, 34 for strikes. He cruised through the first on nine pitches. He allowed the single and walk in the second.  

"It feels good. This is March 15 and I've never been able to have a four-pitch mix on March 15," Price told reporters after his start. "I've never been this far along in spring training even though I've only thrown in one game. I'm excited about that."

The Red Sox open March 29 at Tampa Bay, with Chris Sale likely to start. Price will likely pitch the second game of the season, March 30 at Tropicana Field.