You’re looking live at City of Palms Park, the spring training home of the Red Sox. They Sox will start their schedule today with a split-squad doubleheader against Northeastern and Boston College. Both games will be seven innings.
Terry Francona loathes intrasquad games — “A waste of a lot of peoples’ time,” he said Tuesday — so instead we get two games against the college kids.
The Sox will start Casey Kelly, the 20-year-old righthander who everybody in the organization is excited about. He will pitch only an inning before Manny Delcarmen, Adam Mills, Felix Doubront, Dustin Richardson, Ramon A. Ramirez and Robert Manuel follow him.
Here is the lineup:
Jacoby Ellsbury LF
Bil Hall 3B
Victor Martinez C
David Ortiz DH
Jed Lowrie SS
Lars Anderson 1B
Darnell McDonald RF
Che-Hsuan Lin CF
Gil Velazquez 2B
The Huntington Hounds will be starting senior lefty Dan Zehr. Northeastern is 3-1 this season under the guidance of long-time coach Neil McPhee.
Once the action gets underway at 1:05, we will have inning by inning updates right here on the blog. So stay tuned.
UPDATE, 10:05 a.m.: We just spoke to Terry Francona. A few updates for you:
* Clay Buchholz will throw two simulated innings, 18 pitches each, back at the complex today.
* Mike Cameron (left groin) is expected to play on Friday.
* J.D. Drew, who has held back, will likely DH on Friday.
* Daisuke Matsuzaka (back) will play long toss today and could throw his first real bullpen on Friday.
* RHP Jorge Sosa finally arrived in camp after being held up by immigration issues in the Dominican Republic.
UPDATE, 10:28 a.m.: Neat scene here at the park. Half the Northeastern players are gathered around the cage watching Jacoby Ellsbury hit. The others are gathered around David Ortiz, waiting in line to get a photo taken with him.
UPDATE, 10:55 a.m.: The Sox are playing the Huskies for the eighth time in history. The first meeting was April 11, 1977 at Fenway. Luis Tiant won that game with relief help from Bill Lee.
The Sox are 7-0 in the series, outscoring Northeastern 83-4.
UPDATE, 12:09 p.m.: Daisuke Matsuzaka had a long workout today, throwing long toss before moving into the bullpen and throwing 40 pitches to a catcher who was ina half crouch. He threw some sliders as well. So progress is being made on that front.
UPDATE, 12:15 p.m.: Francona had some interesting comments on Casey Kelly this morning:
“I bet you he’s nervous. I bet you he’s got some anxiety. I do think he’s handled himself really well. I got up this morning and I saw (former Tennessee football coach) Phil Fulmer getting interviewed about him. People are caring about what he’s doing.
“We can’t forget, he’s getting a lot thrown at him in a hurry. I can’t imagine, as long as this kid’s healthy, everything that gets thrown at him will be good. Every time he goes out there he’s going to learn how to do something.”
On the game today: “I’m looking forward to watching this. What’s so interesting is what you see today isn’t what you’re going to see a year and a half from now or whenever. He’s going to be stronger; he’s going to be more refined. I do think it’s amazing how when you look at him, he doesn’t look like a kid who just turned 20 who hasn’t pitched. Which is part of the reason everybody likes him.”
On his future: “This is what’s so interesting about him, you don’t know where he goes. Is he a kid that, when he matures, is he pitching from 93 to 95? Where does he settle in? I don’t think anybody knows that. You can project and all that, but you just don’t know.”
On why the organization likes him: “I haven’t scouted him. I have only seen him throw three times. But there are enough opinions from people that I respect. There’s a reason this kid was drafted as high as he was and the reason we wanted him to a pitcher and not a shortstop. There’s a lot to like. A year from now, a year and a half from now, you’re going to see somebody different than what you see today.”
UPDATE, 12:21 p.m.: Terry Francona hinted at it this morning and Jorge Sosa confirmed that his delay getting to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic was related to his being suspended for amphetamine use in 2008.
Sosa was suspended for 50 while a Mariners prospect. That fact has served to cause him delays the last two years.
“I waited for my visa in the Dominican because I had a little problem with the consulate there. They gave me the visa yesterday at 3:30 in the afternoon and I took a flight here,” Sosa said. “The problem was I took a greenie three years ago. Then the consulate suspended (his visa) three years.”
Sosa, 32, signed a minor league deal with the Sox in January.