FORT MYERS, Fla. — If tradition holds, Red Sox manager John Farrell will wait until deep into March before announcing his Opening Day starter. His reticence was borderline comical last year given the choice obviously would be Jon Lester.
With Lester now a member of the Chicago Cubs, the choice is not remotely as obvious this season. But some signs are being unveiled.
The Red Sox start play Tuesday with a doubleheader against Northeastern and Boston College. Clay Buchholz (one inning) and Rick Porcello (two innings) will pitch against the Huskies in the first game. Wade Miley is scheduled to start and go two innings against the Eagles.
It’s reasonable to expect that’s how the Sox start the season. Opening Day is April 6 in Philadelphia. By starting Tuesday, Buchholz very easily could be lined up for that game.
“It would be an honor for me personally. I think that’s what we all aspire to,” Buchholz said. “Nobody has said anything.”
Farrell wasn’t tipping his hand Friday. But he has admitted to having the entire spring mapped out leading up to the opener.
The relievers in the Northeastern game will be Eduardo Rodriguez, Zeke Spruill, Dana Eveland, Anthony Varvaro, and Mitchell Boggs.
Steven Wright, Craig Breslow, Brandon Workman, Edwin Escobar, and Dalier Hinojosa will work in the BC game.
The first Grapefruit League game is Thursday against the Twins. Joe Kelly is set to start that game with Matt Barnes, Brian Johnson, Junichi Tazawa, Edward Mujica, Alexi Ogando, Robbie Ross Jr., and Tommy Layne also scheduled to pitch.
Farrell said the plan is to use 11 pitchers as starters in spring training. That number will shrink as camp goes on and the top five pitch more innings.
Along with Buchholz, Porcello, Miley, and Kelly, Justin Masterson is the other member of the rotation. Barnes, Johnson, Rodriguez, Wright, Escobar, and Henry Owens also will work as starters. They are lined up to be the rotation in Triple A.
Change in order
The Red Sox changed the front office listing on redsox.com a few days after the Globe reported Fenway Sports Group president Mike Gordon was listed above team president Larry Lucchino.
As of Friday morning, Lucchino was returned to the third spot below principal owner John Henry and chairman Tom Werner. Gordon is now listed in the next section.
Fenway Sports Group is the parent company of the Red Sox, Liverpool FC, Fenway Sports Management, NESN, and other holdings.
Werner and Lucchino contended Wednesday that the listing of Gordon as third in the team hierarchy was a mistake and not a symbol of his growing power within the organization, although they acknowledged Gordon’s influence.
Sox players have an hourlong meeting scheduled Saturday morning on the subject of domestic violence.
The session, which is mandated by Major League Baseball, involves only the players. The coaches will have their own session.
Farrell described the meeting as being educational.
“When players understand that this is being done for their own benefit, they have to take notice that not only is it important but what are some potential warning signs and how can you avoid ending up in a difficult situation,” he said.
Angel in outfield?
Farrell has been careful not to talk in absolutes about the alignment of his outfielders, cautioning that health could change the team’s plans along with what he termed “other factors.”
That’s a polite way of saying the Red Sox wouldn’t be opposed to making a trade.
The news this week that Los Angeles Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton could face suspension after a relapse involving cocaine and alcohol created one trade possibility.
Allen Craig, a native of southern California, would be a good fit for the Angels. The righthanded-hitting outfielder/first baseman is a spare part for the Red Sox.
The Sox could trade Craig and still have a surplus of outfielders.
Right on target
Mike Napoli is a powerful hitter. But it was unusual to see the righthanded hitter drilling ball after ball over the fence in right field during batting practice. The opposite-field power, he said, was a good sign. “For me, that shows I’m feeling good,” the Red Sox first baseman said. “I was in a good groove.” . . . Peter Woodfork, MLB senior vice president of baseball operations, will be at JetBlue Park on Saturday to explain the new pace-of-game rules to Farrell, the coaches, and members of the baseball operations staff. The Sox coaches will pass the information along to the players . . . The Red Sox have an international signing bonus pool of $3,681,000, according to Baseball America. But because they exceeded their limit last year, they are prohibited from signing any player for more than $300,000. In theory, the Sox could sign 12 players but also have the option of trading what are called “international bonus slots.”