The Sox will bring 13 pitchers, eight infielders, six outfielders and three catchers. All 30 players will be eligible to participate in the exhibition games, but the roster must be reduced to 28—with only 25 players eligible for actual game duty—before the Sox face the Athletics in the season-opening series Mar. 25-26.
The Sox play the Hanshin Tigers Saturday at 12:07 p.m. (Japanese time) and the Yomiuri Giants at 7:07 p.m. (Japanese time). Tokyo is 13 hours ahead of Boston. Clay Buchholz is scheduled to start against the Tigers while Tim Wakefield is slotted to start against the Giants. All four games the Sox play in Japan will be at the Tokyo Dome.
The travel roster is as follows:
The Sox are scheduled to leave for Tokyo following Wednesday's Grapefruit League finale against the Blue Jays at City of Palms Park in Ft. Myers, FL. They are scheduled to arrive in Tokyo Thursday night and will work out at Tokyo Dome Friday.
The Sox announced Monday that Matsuzaka will start the season opener Mar. 25 while Lester will start Mar. 26. Matsuzaka will start against the Blue Jays Wednesday while Lester is scheduled to start a minor league game against the Pirates' Single-A affiliate in Ft. Myers Thursday. He will join the Sox in Japan Saturday.
Matsuzaka will be followed to the mound Wednesday by Timlin, Delcarmen, Okajima and Papelbon. Three pitchers—Aardsma, Corey and Lopez—are scheduled to pitch in a minor league game against the Twins.
The Sox are 7-10-2 in Grapefruit League play. Following their return from Japan, the Sox will play three more exhibition games against the Dodgers in southern California Mar. 28-30. The middle game of the series will be played at Memorial Coliseum, where a capacity crowd of 115,000 is expected.
News and notes: The Sox-Athletics opener is the earliest Opening Day in big league history. The previous earliest season opener was played Mar. 29, 2000, when the Cubs beat the Mets, 5-3, in Tokyo…The only other Opening Day played in Japan occurred Mar. 30, 2004, when the Devil Rays beat the Yankees, 8-3, in Tokyo…This will be the 17th time the Sox and Athletics have played on Opening Day, but only the second time since 1961. The Sox beat the Athletics, 2-0, in Oakland Apr. 1, 1998…The first regular season games on American soil will be played Mar. 30 (Braves at Nationals)—only the second time in history a regular season game will be played before Mar. 31. The Rangers beat the Angels, 6-3, on Mar. 30, 2003.
Diehard managing editor Jerry Beach can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. To receive a free issue of Diehard, call 888-501-5752.
Sox Set Japan Roster
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