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Starters announced

Posted by Eric Wilbur, Boston.com Staff  February 23, 2007 12:01 PM

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Curt Schilling, who’s stretching out on the grass in front of the Funai media tent with his wife and kids nearby, will get the first spring start of the year for the Red Sox.

Pitching coach John Farrell announced the starting pitchers for the start of the Grapefruit League schedule, with Schilling going up against the Minnesota Twins next Wednesday at City of Palms Park in the opener.

Kason Gabbard gets the call against the Blue Jays in Dunedin on Day 2, while Josh Beckett faces Northeastern in Fort Myers. On Friday, Kyle Snyder starts against the Jays, and Daisuke Matsuzaka goes that night against Boston College. In the Saturday day game against the Phillies, Tim Wakefield gets the nod, with Jonathan Papelbon getting in work by the third or fourth inning.

Farrell said this in no way predicated how the rotation would look come April.

“We have some thoughts on it, but we haven’t decided what that 1-5 will be at this point,” he said.

The starters will participate in two more rounds of batting practice, Farrell said, after the relievers threw today and will get one more session in before a period of rest prior to the game schedule next week.

Farrell, taking over for an absent Terry Francona (flu) for the media session this morning, also suggested the benefits of keeping two lefthanders on the bullpen staff.

“You look at having one lefthander in the bullpen, and it can handicap the manager,” he said. “We don’t want to get caught up in a left-right-left part of the lineup.

Relievers Javy Lopez, J.C. Romero, and Hideki Okajima are the prime candidates to fill that role, although Farrell today said that Gabbard might also warrant consideration.

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