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Sox-Yanks won’t debut until May in 2006

Even in the middle of a pennant race, it’s never too early to start looking toward next season in Red Sox Nation.

A major league source revealed to the Boston Globe’s Gordon Edes the Red Sox’ tentative 2006 schedule, which includes a stretch in which the Red Sox and Yankees face off 11 times in just over a month. The schedule still must be approved by the 30 team owners and is subject to change.

According to the source, the Sox will open the season on the road in Arlington, Texas on Monday, April 3 for a three-game series against the Rangers. The Sox will then travel to Baltimore for a three-game stay versus the Orioles beginning April 7.

After that, the team goes home to Boston to kick things off at Fenway April 10 against the Blue Jays. Boston’s first homestand will last 10 games, and includes the traditional April 17 Patriots Day morning matchup (against the Mariners).

Unlike this season, when the Red Sox and Yankees squared off six times in April, the rivals won’t meet until May for the first of their 19 regular-season encounters.

The first series between Boston and New York will be contested at Fenway on May 1-2. Just over a week later, the Sox head south to the Bronx to meet the Yankees from May 9-11. Then it’s back to Fenway for a three-game set May 22-24, and they’ll finish the busy stretch in New York from June 6-8.

Oddly, none of these games take place on the weekend.

However, the teams will wrap things up with a pair of four-game weekend sets in late summer, one in August (18-21, at Fenway), and one in September (14-17, at Yankee Stadium).

Boston’s last five games of the regular season will be played at Fenway Park: two against the Devil Rays (Sept. 29-30) and three against the Orioles (Oct. 1-3).

The Red Sox will take on teams from the NL East in interleague play in 2006. On the road, they’ll face the Phillies (May 19-21), Braves (June 16-18), and Marlins (June 30-July 2). At home, they’ll take on the Nationals, Phillies, and Mets during a nine-game homestand from June 19-29.

The Mets series from June 27-29 is worth noting, as old friend Pedro Martinez will likely be making his return to Fenway Park.

For the season, the Red Sox have no four-city road trips, and no four-team homestands.

The source told Edes the schedule is subject to some minor revisions by the clubs, and has not yet been signed off on by the networks (ESPN and Fox). However, only minor tweaks are foreseen.

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