5:48 p.m.: The Red Sox’ lineup has been posted. One player who won’t be in the starting nine is shortstop Stephen Drew.
Drew was hit in the head in the fourth inning by Twins pitcher Caleb Thielbar. Drew stayed in the game, and would eventually come around to score after taking his base, but the incident wasn’t without repercussions. As reported by NESN’s Jamie Erdahl, the Red Sox shortstop is battling “mild concussion-like symptoms,” and he’s been replaced in Friday’s lineup by Jose Iglesias as a result.
Drew signed a one-year, $9.5 million contract with the Red Sox this offseason, and he figures to be the team’s Opening Day shortstop. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that he’ll be able to quickly recover from this setback.
Will Middlebrooks, who had been the latest victim of “intestinal turmoil,” will be in Boston’s lineup. He’ll take his customary spot at third base.
The rest of the Red Sox’ lineup is below.
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Ryan Sweeney, RF
Jonny Gomes, LF
Daniel Nava, 1B
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Ryan Lavarnway, C
Lyle Overbay, DH
Jose Iglesias, SS
Ryan Dempster, P
8 a.m. ET: Ryan Dempster’s personality immediately fit right in, but it’s the right-hander’s spring training results thus far that should have Red Sox fans excited.
Dempster tossed two perfect innings against the Cardinals on Feb. 26 to kick off his spring, and he then pitched three one-hit innings against the Yankees on Sunday. It’s obviously still early, and we shouldn’t put too much stock into spring training results, but it’s hard to complain with the efficiency and aggressiveness he’s shown on the mound. And it’s that attack mode that manager John Farrell would like to see out of all of his pitchers.
Dempster will be the first one to toe the rubber when the Sox host the Twins at JetBlue Park on Friday. It’ll be the third meeting between the two teams, with Boston taking the first two, including a 12-5 rout at Hammond Stadium on Thursday.
Fortunately, Friday night’s action will air live on NESN. Dempster’s first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET. Be sure to tune in, both on the ol’ TV and here at NESN.com. I’ll do my best to provide additional commentary and analysis throughout the evening.