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Red Sox’ Nate Eovaldi looks likely to start opener

It's not official but Nate Eovaldi will likely get the ball for the Red Sox' opener later this month.
It's not official but Nate Eovaldi will likely get the ball for the Red Sox' opener later this month.Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff


The Red Sox did not name an Opening Day starter before spring training broke up and manager Ron Roenicke declined to do so when asked on Sunday.

But the schedule suggests it will be Nate Eovaldi.

The righthander is scheduled to pitch in an intrasquad game on Thursday at Fenway Park. That would line him up to start on July 24.

There may be no other option. Roenicke did not offer an update on Eduardo Rodriguez, who has yet to report to camp while waiting for results of a coronavirus test.

The only other healthy starting pitcher with any significant experience is Martin Perez, who is 12-14 with a 5.49 earned run average the last two seasons.

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Thursday’s game will be during the day. At some point late in camp, Roenicke said, the Sox would play some night games to better prepare for the season.

Tough coaching

Christian Vazquez kept his catching skills sharp during the shutdown by receiving pitches from a pitching machine at his home in Florida.

“I was blocking and catching [game-speed pitches] at my house,” Vazquez said. “I did my work and did my best to get in shape.”

His wife, Gaby, fed the balls into the machine.

“She’s the best coach,” Vazquez said. “She got mad when I dropped a ball.”

Vazquez said it was a tough decision whether to play. He and his wife had their first child, Diego, eight months ago.

“I brought them with me here to Boston because I can’t live without them,” Vazquez said. “We’re safe here with the doctors here. We’re in good hands. We’re better here than in Florida.”

Catching on

In addition to Vazquez, the Red Sox have four other catchers in camp with major League experience: Jett Bandy, Juan Centeno, Jonathan Lucroy, and Kevin Plawecki.

“I think we have fantastic depth,” Roenicke said. “I don’t think I’ve ever been with an organization coming into a camp and having five [catchers] who have played in the major leagues.”

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The righthanded hitting Lucroy has played 56 games at first base in his career, which makes him a candidate to platoon with Mitch Moreland there and serve as a backup catcher.

The Sox also have been impressed with Plawecki, both as a receiver and how he has swung the bat.

“We’re trying to see how everybody fits,” Roenicke said.

Teams can carry 30 players for the first two weeks of the season. That drops to 28 for two more weeks then 26.

Support for Price

Both Roenicke and J.D. Martinez said they supported the decision by former Red Sox lefthander David Price not to play for the Dodgers this season.

“I respect his opinion. It’s a scary time right now,” Martinez said. “I’m sure he’s doing what he thinks is best for his family. You’ve got to respect that. You wish him the best, honestly.”

Added Roenicke: “When you talk about your family and if you have concerns about it or have concerns about your own health, those are family matters that I’m sure he and I wife discussed.”

Schedule due

The schedule for the 60-game regular season is likely to be released early this week. The Sox will play 10 games each against the Blue Jays, Orioles, Rays, and Yankees and 20 games overall against teams from the National League East. … Perez, Austin Brice, and Chris Mazza were among the pitchers who threw live batting practice …New reliever Caleb Simpson, who was signed on Saturday, has yet to report … Sox players are thrilled with their new clubhouse setup on the suites level. Two players share each suite, which includes access to the seats in front overlooking the field. “It is pretty sweet, honestly,” said Martinez, who may or may not have intended the pun. “I remember walking in. I was like ‘Dang, I could get used to this. This ain’t too bad.’ Said Vazquez: “I hope next year we can move in there.”

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Peter Abraham can be reached at peter.abraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.