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Welcome Back Red Sox

Posted By Tyler Hetu On Feb 12 2013 @ 5:00 pm In Boston Red Sox,MLB | No Comments

If you’re anything like me, you eagerly await baseball season all year. Once it starts, you never want it to end. Once it ends, the cycle repeats.

This is how it is for everyone, even when the Red Sox have seasons to forget like the “Valentine Experiment” of 2012. Don’t get me wrong, I love the NHL, and enjoy watching the NFL, NBA, and NCAA, but baseball is on top.

Yes, the northeast is covered in a thick blanket of snow, and there is rain, and more snow on the way. But pitchers and catchers are in Fort Meyers beginning their conditioning drills in preparation for Opening Day on April 1 in the Bronx.

The Boston Red Sox are back, and so are the other 28 Major League Baseball teams.

The San Francisco Giants are the defending champs, and are going to do everything they can to repeat as World Series Champs in 2013, something that hasn’t been done since the New York Yankees repeated in 2000. But what about the Red Sox?

The Red Sox will spend 2013 trying to put 2012, and the historic collapse at the end of 2011, as far back in the rear-view mirror as possible. The Red Sox are a franchise that has spent most of the 21st century playing at a very high level; but have been in a steep decline since September of 2011. The 2013 season is going to be a quest to fix their problems, and to return to the top of the American League East.

So here’s your 2013 Boston Red Sox:

The outfield will have two new faces in it. Jonny Gomes is likely to start in left field (replaces Cody Ross), and Shane Victorino will start in right.

Stephen Drew is the projected new shortstop (replaces Mike Aviles), and Mike Napoli is the new first baseman (replaces Adrian Gonzalez).

Jarrod Saltalamacchia returns as the team’s primary catcher, but the backup is newcomer David Ross, and Napoli as their third option.

The starting rotation, which was one of the 2012 team’s greatest weaknesses, will have now feature Ryan Dempster, and will feature the return of John Lackey who missed the entire 2012 season recovering from Tommy John surgery. Great.

The bullpen has a host of new faces as well. Joel Hanrahan and Koji Uehara are both new additions and both men are expected to make significant contributions. Hanrahan is slated to be the team’s new closer/set-up guy and Uehara will be one of the most frequently used left-handed pitchers out of the pen in the late innings of games, sort of like a new Hideki Okajima.

Rounding out the long list of new faces is the team’s “new” manager.

John Farrell is not new to the team or the organization, but the former Red Sox pitching coach is now the team’s manager. He inherits a team that finished in last place for the first time in decades. Farrell might be the perfect fit, but his managerial stint in Toronto was not nearly as successful as many thought it would be. Now, just like the roster of players he has inherited, he has something to prove as well.

The 2013 roster has players such as Clay Buchholz, Jacoby Ellsbury, David Ortiz, Jon Lester, and Dustin Pedroia. All of those players played on the 2007 team that won the World Series. Ortiz was also a key member of the legendary 2004 champs. He is also the last remaining on the Red Sox to play on the team in 2004.

The 2013 Red Sox have players that know how to win, they’ve also got new additions eager to show their peers and the fans that the 2012 Red Sox are just a memory. Spring training is always a good time for optimism and change. But in the eyes of some, the changes they’ve made have not been dramatic enough.

It is not as if the offseason provided a long list of top players to either sign as free agents or acquire via trade. The Red Sox certainly made some effort to change and improve the roster for the better. Starting Monday, the journey to finding out if those moves will work begins.

Welcome back boys, lets go get that Pennant.

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