02/19/2013 4:45 PM ET
Lackey will open Grapefruit League season Saturday
By Ian Browne / MLB.com
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- When the Red Sox open their Grapefruit League schedule Saturday afternoon at 1:35 ET on MLB.TV at home against the Rays, John Lackey -- who didn't throw a pitch in 2012 -- will be first out of the gate.
It is just another sign of how well Lackey has progressed from Tommy John surgery. Due to the time missed, he will pitch just one inning on Saturday and then ramp up from there.
"He'll be on a five-day rotation from there, and continue to add 15-18 pitches per outing or one additional inning," said manager John Farrell. "It starts on Saturday."
Jon Lester will make his Spring Training debut on Sunday in Jupiter against the Cardinals at 1:05 p.m. Rubby De La Rosa will also pitch in that game, as will key bullpen members Joel Hanrahan, Junichi Tazawa, Andrew Bailey and Andrew Miller.
The Red Sox will split up on Monday, with half of the squad going to Port Charlotte to face the Rays, while the other group will play in Dunedin against the Blue Jays. Both games are at 1:05 p.m.
Alfredo Aceves and Daniel Bard are among those who will face the Rays. Under the watchful eye of Tim Wakefield, knuckleballer Steven Wright will start against Toronto.
Varitek making an impact in camp
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Pedro Martinez isn't the only prominent former member of the Red Sox who is making his debut as an instructor this spring. Jason Varitek has also been a frequent presence, and the former catcher was in the trenches during several drills on Tuesday.
Varitek, who retired a year ago, is a special assistant to general manager Ben Cherington, the same title Martinez has.
"You've got two very successful players that have been leaders in their own right at their respective positions. They've achieved team success as much as anyone who have ever played the game, particularly in this uniform," said manager John Farrell. "I think they're both so respected and they're so respective of the city of Boston, the organization, that they want to give back, and they've got a great opportunity to do just that."
Of course, Varitek's emphasis in camp will be with the catchers.
"It feels good, having a guy like him that you respected growing up and then you got to play with him," said Jarrod Saltalamacchia. "It's nice having him out there, because he's a guy that I've gone to in the past, and I can still go to him. He's there, but you don't feel like he's stepping on anybody's toes."
Mortensen could create tough decision
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Sporting more bullpen depth than they've had in recent years, the Red Sox could be faced with a tough decision late in camp with Clayton Mortensen.
Last year, the righty was constantly on the shuttle going back and forth between Boston and Triple-A Pawtucket. This year, he doesn't have any more options.
Considering how effective Mortensen was when called on by the Red Sox last season, he would probably be picked up by someone if exposed to waivers.
The righty posted a 3.21 ERA in 26 games for Boston last year, pitching 42 innings.
Mortensen is one of the relievers who can offer some length out of the bullpen.
"The one thing when you look at Mortensen, his contrast of style, he's got an outstanding slider and changeup," said manager John Farrell. "He has the ability in those games where he came in down a couple runs, with that changeup, he's got the ability to slow some bats down. A little bit different delivery with some deception in there. Again, [he is] another guy that took advantage of opportunity that might have been different than what he had in the past, and [he] did a good job."