The Boston Red Sox come off of the picket line and back to the country club today, opening the belated American league season against the Tigers this, afternoon in Detroit.
Boston manager Eddie "the Fox" Kasko directed practice in Fenway Park yesterday with 21 of his 25 regulars on hand in preparation for today's game. The only absentees were shortstop Louis Aparicio, southpaw pitcher Rogelio Moret, righthander Martry Pattin, and reserve infielder Phil Gagliano.
"We're as ready as we possibly could be under the circumstances." Kasko said after the workout and an intra-aquad game. The circumstances, astute baseball fans will recall, are Boston's lackadaisical fourth place finish in last year's pennant race and this spring's strike which, in traditional Red Sox fashion, asked for more money.
Kasko named as his starting, lineup to the Tigers game the order that he had been going with before the strike began.
Newly-acquired Tommy Harper will lead off and play center field, followed by Aparicio at short (providing, of course, that he doesn't get lost in the itinerary shuffle between Venezuela and Detroit).
Big Yaz will bat third and play left field, with Reggie Smith following as clean up man. Smith will hold down right field. Rico Petrocelli will bat fifth and play third base, and Danny Cater will hit sixth and play first. Second baseman Doug Griffin, catcher Duane Josephson, and Marty Pattin round out the order.
Pattin, acquired with Milwaukee last fall, won 28 games in two years with the pathetic Brewers and was the Red Sox's most impressive pitcher in training camp.