Red Sox’ 2018 schedule announced

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The Red Sox will be spending a lot of time in Florida at the start of next season.

When spring training is complete, the Sox will open the regular season at Tampa Bay on March 29 for a four-game series. That will be followed by two games in Miami at Marlins Park.

The home opener, against Tampa Bay, will be on April 5. That will be the start of a 10-game homestand.

Other highlights in the 2018 schedule, which was released on Tuesday, include six games against the Yankees in the final 13 days of the season. The rivals will close the season with three games at Fenway starting Sept. 28.

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The teams finished playing this season on Sept. 3.

The Sox will play their 20 interleague games against the National League East. There are home-and-homes series against the Braves, Marlins, and Phillies. The Sox will host the Mets and play at Washington.

The Sox will play the Nationals in Washington on July 4. The Patriots Day opponent on April 16 will be Baltimore.

The Sox will play 15 of their final 21 games of the season at home.

The most difficult travel appears to be in June. The Sox play in Baltimore on June 13 and then at Seattle the next day.

The 2018 season will be the first under the new format worked out as part of the 2017-21 collective bargaining agreement between MLB and the MLB Players Association. The sides agreed to extend the length of the season by adding a weekend of play to start the season. Now every team will receive 3-4 additional days off over the course of the season.

Next season also will be the first time since 1968 that every team opens on the same day. Baseball had 20 teams then.

Looking good

Every indication is the Red Sox will play this weekend’s series against the Rays in St. Petersburg, Fla., as scheduled.

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Rays manager Kevin Cash told reporters in New York that the team is flying back to Florida on Wednesday and will be ready to play on Friday.

The only question is whether traffic signals around Tropicana Field will be operational because of power outages caused by Hurricane Irma. That could lead to a doubleheader on Saturday but officials from both teams and MLB are confident the teams will play Friday.

“Everything right now points to us going there,’’ Sox manager John Farrell said. “We haven’t been directed otherwise. Right now we’re planning on going to Tampa.’’

The Tampa Bay Times reported that one contingency plan would have been for the Rays to return to Boston and play at Fenway Park as the home team.

Price’s next step

David Price is set for a three-inning simulated game on Wednesday afternoon, the latest step in his return from a triceps strain. From there, the Sox will determine whether Price finishes the season as a starter or reliever . . . Farrell had no update on the status of MLB’s investigation into the Red Sox stealing signs from the Yankees with the help of an Apple Watch. Commissioner Rob Manfred said he hoped to wrap up the issue by the end of the regular season. The Sox filed a counter complaint against the Yankees for allegedly using YES Network cameras to steal signs . . . Through Sunday, Blake Swihart had appeared in one game since being called up on Sept. 1, and that was as a pinch hitter. The catcher took ground balls at first base before Tuesday’s game, part of the team’s long-term plan to make him more of a utility player . . . Jason Varitek was in uniform for batting practice . . . Righthanded reliever Kyle Martin, who was designated for assignment on Sept. 5, cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple A Pawtucket . . . Jackie Bradley Jr. lost an RBI because of a scoring change made in the Sept. 6 game against Toronto. He was incorrectly credited with driving in a run in the sixth inning on a play that was ruled an error by third baseman Richard Urena.

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Special guests

Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy threw out the first pitch. Bruins players Brandon Carlo,
Torey Krug, Charlie McAvoy, and Adam McQuaid accompanied him to the mound . . . Bradley, Chris Sale, and other Sox personnel who own homes in southwest Florida reported only minor damage from the hurricane . . . More than 300 patients and adult caregivers formed a gold ribbon in center field before the game to pay tribute to children battling cancer.

Related: MLB 2018 master schedule

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