As for the Red Sox, a good week all around. Dice-K and Curt Schilling put forth their longest outings of the spring, 5 2/3 and 7 innings respectively. The Captain, Jason Veritek ended his 0-for-17 slump with his first spring homerun. And yes, we now have a closer. Or should I say, we continue with the closer we had, Jonathan Papelbon. All in all, a good move considering the circumstances. Is it as good as having traded for a bonafide closer like Chad Cordero or Billy Wagner in the off-season and putting Paps in the rotation, NO. Yet, after a month of looking at the Piniero, Donnelly, Timlin (if he could throw), Hansen and pitchers ad infinitum auditions, it's the Red Sox best option right now. The best thing is that Papelbon wants and can fill the role. With 35 saves last season, we know he can handle the pressure. The doctors apparently have told the Sox that there is no more risk of hurting his shoulder and having another sublaxation by being a closer than by being a starter. It also allows the rest of the pen to take their natural spots. Joel Piniero and Brendan Donnelly take over the 7th and 8th until Mike Timlin returns after the opening road trip. JC Romero and Hideki Okajimi are your lefty specialists. Kyle Snyder is your long guy. Now, the question is who is the fifth starter. My answer is what the Sox have put forth. Let Julian Tavarez try to continue what he did in September last year: be a consumate fifth starter. If he fails, you have options. Jon Lester will get a look after strenthening his body by starting in Pawtucket. Snyder has shown his ability to bounce back and forth between the rotation and long relief in the pen. Kason Gabbard is a lefty on the rise with good stuff. And yes, there's always the penchant to trade and sign a free agent by the front office. Me worried on March 24th? Nope. Right now, the Red Sox are a better team than they were a week ago.
The Bruins and Celtics. Let's continue the countdown to the end of the regular season quickly!
Some treats before I leave: