Sunday, February 04, 2007

Spring Training Watch

What will Sox fans watch for this Spring Training? We can hope for Tranquility Base with the biggest issues the selection of golf balls as players sharpen their golf games. Unfortunately, most of these questions won't be answered during the spring.

Catcher. Will Jason Varitek return to form after last year's subnormal performance, partially injury-driven?

First base. Is the Todd Helton deal really dead? Can Kevin Youkilis have a breakout season? Last year Youkilis seemed to wear down over the second half. His July, August, September OPS included .651, .806., .646.

Second base. Will the real Dustin Pedroia be able to turn the double play, go to his right, and actually use the backhand? Will he figure out that contact hitting can keep him in the majors?

Shortstop. Can Julio Lugo provide the offensive production to offset his historical defensive limitations?

Third base. Will Mike Lowell open at the Hot Corner for the Red Sox?

Outfield. The outfield looks set with Manny Ramirez, Coco Crisp, and J.D. Drew and Wily Mo Pena in reserve. Can David Murphy beat out Eric Hinske for the final spot?

DH has no question marks. David Hits.

Starting pitching. With Schilling, Matsuzaka, Beckett, Papelbon, and Wakefield, or any pitchers, the issues become age and health. One who no age issues is Jon Lester, and all wish him the best concerning his health comeback. Will the Schilling extension become a distraction?

Bullpen. Emotions' eleven or twelve? Who's the closer? Will Pineiro be a pinata? Does Mike Timlin have gas in the tank? Are we OK with Okajima? Will the young guns Hansen and Delcarmen break out of mediocrity? Will there be more than two LOOGYs, Okajima and Romero?

Truckin. When does the equipment truck roll? Tuesday the 13th?

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