Saturday, March 28, 2009

Lester's #2, Masterson's in the Pen

The Red Sox rotation for the early season has now been set, with the top four being (in this order): Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Tim Wakefield. They have not as yet named a fifth starter, and Terry Francona also said that Justin Masterson will open 2009 in the bullpen.

Because of the off day on April 7 (the day after the opener), there's no rush naming the fifth guy, until April 12. Clay Buchholz has had a strong spring, the best of any starter in camp with a sterling 0.46 ERA. It will be between him and Brad Penny, who makes his second start of the spring today against the Twins. I would bet if Penny remains healthy through his next start, he will get the nod and Buchholz will open the year at Pawtucket. The final decision on the two will probably come after Penny's final start next week.

Francona also said yesterday that Lester is the number 2 starter ahead of Matsuzaka because of Dice-K's workload in the WBC, and the Red Sox don't want to rush him in early April. Dice-K was in front of Lester last year.

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