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The roster is set as the season approaches

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  April 1, 2010 08:51 PM

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Here is the roster that'll face the Yankees on Sunday barring any unexpected changes:

Jacoby Ellsbury LF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Victor Martinez C
Kevin Youkilis 1B
David Ortis DH
J.D. Drew RF
Adrian Beltre 3B
Mike Cameron CF
Marco Scutaro

Jason Varitek C
Jeremy Hermida LF, RF
Bill Hall 3B, 2B, SS, RF, LF
Mike Lowell 3B, 1B

RHP Josh Beckett
LHP Jon Lester
RHP John Lackey
RHP Tim Wakefield
RHP Clay Buchholz

RHP Jonathan Papelbon
RHP Daniel Bard
LHP Hideki Okajima
RHP Ramon Ramirez
RHP Manny Delcarmen
RHP Scott Atchison
LHP Scott Schoeneweis

RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (back)
RHP Boof Bonser (groin)
INF Jed Lowie (illness)
RHP Junichi Tazawa (elbow)

What to like: The Sox have a much better defensive team than last season. ... The bottom third of the order is far more dangerous than what they usually ran out there last season. ... The Pedroia-Martinez-Youkilis combination will do a lot of damage. ... The rotation is strong top to bottom and daunting at the top. Is there a better No. 3 in baseball than Lackey? ... Papelbon's "off year" last season was better than most closers have a right to ever expect and he seems motivated to improve. ... Bard and Okajima should be an effective set-up duo. ... The bench has some good sticks and versatility in Hall. ... The versatility of Youkilis and Martinez and Ellsbury's ability to play center will allow the lineup to shift easily.

Things to wonder: Will Ortiz be Big Papi again or a guy nearing the end? ... Beltre and Cameron could be productive hitters rejuvenated at Fenway Park or .250 hitters who will combine for 250+ strikeouts. ... Delcarmen has pitched all spring training like he is injured. ... Can Matsuzaka return and make the rotation even stronger? Or were his first two seasons a mirage? ... There's not any speed on the bench. ... Can Drew protect Ortiz in the order. ... Can Lowell accept his role and be a force off the bench? ... Bard was hit hard near the end of last season. Can he adjust to hitters seeing him more often?

Bottom line: This is a 94-96 win team because of its pitching and defense. But the three best teams in the American League are the Yankees, Red Sox and Rays and they're all in the same division. The Rays were the best team in the Grapefruit League and that wasn't a fluke. They're stacked with talent.

It's going to be a fun summer.

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