Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here... highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
The team will hold an organizational meet following Tuesday’s game with the Rays, with the fate of several roster spots in the bullpen possibly in the balance. Of particular note is how to handle the middle relief and lefty specialists in the relief corps and who should make the trip with the team to Arlington when the team begins the season against the Rangers on April 1.
Francona will meet with pitching coach Curt Young, Epstein and front office staffers to discuss how to handle relievers Hideki Okajima, Dennys Reyes, Tim Wakefield, Alfredo Aceves, Matt Albers and Scott Atchison.
The team needs to decide what to do for a lefty or whether to take two north. Okajima and Reyes appear to be the front-runners with Andrew Miller, Randy Williams and Rich Hill on the fringes.
Reyes has made the biggest statement this spring, posting a 1.29 ERA in seven appearances, allowing just one run on five hits, with two walks and seven strikeouts.
The bullpen is the last remaining piece of the puzzle for the Sox to put together.
I don't dare venture any great guesses as to who is going to round out the roster. We're talking about people that have Hideki Okajima as the front-runner (the same Hideki that gave up 23 runs in his 46 innings pitched last season and has actually regressed this Spring), so clearly we're not on the same mental wavelength.
I would say that Reyes and Aceves have pitched themselves onto the roster. I can't imagine a Sox squad that doesn't list Tim Wakefield, and has Scott pointed out yesterday, Albers appears to be carving out his own spot. With Papelbon, Bard, Jenks and Wheeler all seemingly locks, there's very few spots open to tussle over.
It's definitely going to be a tough final call to make. I'd love to see Miller make the cut, but hanging out in Pawtucket for a few months probably wouldn't be the worse thing for his career. Randy Williams and Rich Hill, thanks for stopping by. And no matter how consistent Scott Achison was in the second half of last season, he gets me nearly as excited as when my wife tells me to take her to see the new Jennifer Lopez romantic comedy.
Rest of the links:
WEEI - John Lackey: ‘I feel like I’m ready’ | Herald - Carl Crawford adding pop as his game develops | Rays take taste test with Manny Ramirez | Kevin Youkilis turns corner | Globe - SoSH hosting event to benefit Jimmy Fund | NESN - Intensity Increasing for Red Sox As They Hit Home Stretch in Spring Training