Jay Payton, RFMatt Clement will start opposite Kyle Lohse and pitch one or two innings, followed by Byung-Hyun Kim. Denney Tomori, Abe Alvarez, Mark Malaska, Kris Wilson, Jeremi Gonzalez and Josias Manzanillo will also pitch. ... The game will be broadcast for free on MLB.TV. Other freebies: Mets/Nationals (today 1:00) and Pirates/Yankees (tomorrow 1:15).
Mark Bellhorn, 2B
Jason Varitek, C
Kevin Millar, 1B
Edgar Renteria, SS
Kevin Youkilis, 3B
Roberto Petagine, DH
Adam Hyzdu, CF
Billy McMillon, LF
Good news on the pitching staff. Curt Schilling took a "big step" in his third bullpen session (45 pitches), but will throw in the pen a few more times before facing hitters. ... David Wells had a solid session, painting the corners against Adam Hyzdu, Dave Berg and Simon Pond. ... Wade Miller worked off a mound for the first time since last August, throwing between 27 and 31 pitches (reports vary). The team thinks it's likely he'll start the season on the disabled list -- there is absolutely no reason to rush him -- but Miller says, "I'm very optimistic about starting the season with the team." If put on the DL, he could be activated as soon as mid- to late-April.
Matt Mantei says his comments about Randy Johnson dealing with New York were misinterpreted. "I said he doesn't like a lot of media attention. He doesn't like the fans being on top of him. It came out, 'He hated the media, and he hates the fans.' So I called him, and tried to explain it to him. ... They're probably going to love me there. I'm off to a great start with Yankee fans, don't you think?" ... Mantei will pitch against Boston College on Friday night.
Speaking of the Unit, tightness in his left calf muscle meant he was scratched from his first Grapefruit League start on Thursday. MFY fans are told not to panic:
Something they should panic over? Suzyn Waldman will be Jon Sterling's radio partner this season. Yikes! Note: Waldman will become the first female full-time radio color commentator in baseball history, so congratulations are in order.
Tony Massarotti of the Herald seems downright broken-hearted about how nice and quiet it is in Fort Myers: "Things are presently so stale in Sox camp, in fact, that any and all attempts to address issues are being met with perspective, logic, reason and, unfortunately, sanity. ... Naturally, it can only stay this way for so long (we hope)." Gee, Tony, maybe you'll have to start writing about the players, examining some actual issues for the upcoming season, and letting us know about promising minor leaguers (Bill James: "We have five shortstops in the minor leagues who are going to be major league players. I'm not kidding you [Hanley Ramirez, Kenny Perez, Dustin Pedroia, Christian Lara and Luis Soto].).
Bob Ryan spotlights Jay Payton. Tito: "Jay is basically taking the place of both Kapler and Roberts. He's going to play some right with Trot. He's going to back up Johnny. He'll play some left. He's going to get his at-bats." ... Being Theo: "Atop a mountain in British Columbia this winter, skiing with his girlfriend, Epstein was recognized by a fan, though only his eyes and nose peeked out from his cold-weather gear."
The Idiots head to DC today to meet the Idiot-in-Chief. Damon: "I really want an autograph for my son. My son is 5, but he knows every single president. His favorite, of course, is Zachary Taylor because he carried a sword."