LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Greetings from the heart of Disney, about 10 minutes from where A.J. Pierzynski calls home, where the Red Sox spent the night under the same roof as some ballroom dancers before heading over to Champion Stadium to face the Braves on Saturday afternoon.
Allow us to explain. The Sox hotel on the premises was hosting an Arthur Murray ballroom dancing competition Friday night, which would have been serendipity for John Farrell's predecessor but just drew a passing mention Saturday morning from the Sox manager, who overnighted here with his coaching staff and a handful of players who also had been in Clearwater the day before.
John Lackey, who could have demonstrated the Texas two-step had he been so inclined, is instead scheduled to throw 80 to 85 pitches in his final full tuneup before camp breaks. Lackey will get on the mound once more before the team heads north Saturday, but that will be little more than a dress rehearsal at half-speed.
David Ortiz, who played in a minor league game Friday, was back in Fort Myers with a full day off, which might lend itself to finalizing the contract extension he is expected to receive before the end of camp. Jon Lester, who pitched Friday in Clearwater, also was back in the Fort, where the Sox are also working on his new deal, Lester expressing satisfaction with the direction the talks are headed. Both deals could be wrapped up before the Sox play the Orioles on March 31.
Other than Grady Sizemore, who was excused from playing Friday or Saturday, and Jonny Gomes, who played in Clearwater Friday, the Sox had a full complement of regulars. Mike Napoli was DHing in Ortiz's absence, with Daniel Nava leading off and playing first base. Nonroster invitee Corey Brown was in left field.
Here's the lineup:
Daniel Nava, 1B
Shane Victorino, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Mike Napoli, DH
A.J. Pierzynski, C
Xander Bogaerts, SS
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Corey Brown, LF
John Lackey, RHP