Baseball is less than 12 weeks away.
The Red Sox will open spring training Feb. 12 at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Fla., with a workout for pitchers and catchers. The first full squad workout will be Feb. 15.
With the first round of the World Baseball Classic starting March 2, spring training is a little earlier this season. The official report date for the Red Sox is Feb. 12, but players are being encouraged to show up at least a few days earlier.
The Sox will play a doubleheader against Northeastern and Boston College Feb. 21. The first Grapefruit League game will be Feb. 23 against the Rays in Fort Myers.
The Sox will play Minnesota eight times, Tampa Bay six times, and Baltimore five times.
The Yankees play at JetBlue Park March 3, with the Sox going to Steinbrenner Field in Tampa March 20.
There will be a World Baseball Classic exhibition against Team Puerto Rico March 5 in Fort Myers.
The exhibition season ends March 30 against the Twins at JetBlue Park. The Sox start the regular season April 1 against the Yankees in New York.
Spring training tickets go on sale Dec. 8 at 10 a.m. at the JetBlue Park box office, online at redsox.com, or by calling 888-REDSOX6.
There are five candidates to become the next hitting coach. Craig Counsell, whose 16-year playing career ended in 2011, interviewed Monday. He is a special assistant to Milwaukee general manager Doug Melvin.
The Sox will interview Greg Colbrunn later in the week. Colbrunn is a minor league coach with the Yankees. He played 13 years in the majors.
The team already has interviewed former major leaguers Rick Schu and Scott Fletcher along with minor league hitting coordinator Victor Rodriguez.
General manager Ben Cherington said the hope is to have the position filled within a week. The Sox are likely to hire an assistant hitting coach.
Roster moves coming
Teams have until Tuesday afternoon to set their 40-man rosters in advance of the Rule 5 draft Dec. 6. You can expect the Red Sox to make several moves.
Minor league players drafted in 2009 or earlier (college) or 2008 or earlier (high school) would be eligible for the draft if left unprotected. For international players, it would be any player signed in 2008 or earlier.
The Red Sox have 39 players on their 40-man roster and will need to open some spots for several prospects. Righthanders Allen Webster and Alex Wilson are likely candidates to be added. Webster is one of the prospects obtained from the Dodgers in August.
Any player selected in the Rule 5 draft would have to stay on a team’s major league roster all season or be offered back.
Watney joins MLB
Former NESN reporter Heidi Watney joined MLB Network as a studio host and reporter based in New York. Watney was with NESN from 2008-11 . . . Free agent Lance Berkman told the Houston Chronicle that the Red Sox, Rays, Phillies, and Astros have expressed at least “tire-kicking” interest. Berkman, who turns 37 in February, played only 32 games for the Cardinals last season because of a knee injury. He told the Chronicle he would retire unless he was “blown away” by an offer . . . The 74th annual dinner hosted by the Boston chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America will be Jan. 24 at the Westin Copley Hotel. Tickets are $175 each and available by sending a check made out to The Sports Museum care of Rusty Sullivan, The Sports Museum, 100 Legends Way, Boston, MA 02114.Peter Abraham can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.