It's still five days until pitchers and catchers have to report to Fort Myers for Spring Training, but that hasn't stopped some of the Red Sox' top players from getting an early start. Already, the City of Palms Park is playing host to ace Jon Lester, closer Jonathan Papelbon, top offseason pickup Adrian Gonzalez, and top prospect Ryan Kalish.
According to Gordon Edes, even Daisuke Matsuzaka is flying in early, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia has made the short trip from the other side of peninsula, where he had been working with Gary Tuck on his catching.
If the players are excited to get things started, though, it's no surprise. There's plenty of motivation to be had. For some, it's the first chance to wash away the residue of a career-worst year, whether as a team or an individual. For others, it's about playing for the first time in far too long, with old injuries healed and ready to be forgotten. And then, for a select few, it's about new surroundings. A new team that presents a great chance for a first ring, spring training games that draw as many rabid fans as they're used to seeing in the regular season, and even the new media they're going to have to learn to live with for the next seven years.
For the moment, it's relatively calm in Fort Myers. But over the next couple of weeks, things are going to pick up. It's baseball season again, and one of the most exciting Boston teams in recent memory. We'll keep you updated as the players start to filter in, play games, and Opening Day draws closer.
For now, here's the upcoming schedule in brief: