The New Sox Season

By Edgar B. Herwick III

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Feb. 21, 2012

spring training

After a historic collapse at the end of last season that left the Sox out of the playoffs for a second straight year, management made some major changes, including replacing longtime manager Terry Francona with veteran skipper Bobby Valentine, shown here on Feb. 19 as pitchers and catchers report to spring training. (David Goldman/AP)

 
BOSTON — The 2012 Red Sox season officially got under way Monday as pitchers and catchers completed their first workout at the team's new spring training facility in Fort Myers, Florida. Sox president/CEO Larry Lucchino talked to WGBH News about the team's prospects, players and new management.

Larry Lucchino
Larry Lucchino

One player noticeably absent from camp is longtime team captain Jason Varitek. Varitek's last two seasons were cut short by injuries: He played in just 39 games in 2010 and 68 last year. The soon-to-be 40-year-old free agent has been offered a minor league contract and a chance to make this year's team. However, sources close to the catcher say he's leaning toward retirement instead.
 
Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino said that either way, he sees Varitek in the Red Sox' future.
 
"He's been a tremendous leader on this team, a guy who bleeds Red Sox red," he said. "His loyalty to the organization is second to none and whatever he does, we're going to try to keep him a part of the Red Sox organization going forward."

"People are still saying we're not good enough. And we kind of like that. We kind of like that ability to say — You know what? We'll prove you wrong. We're going to win."

While some have lowered their expectations for the home team in the wake of the turbulent off-season, Lucchino is not one of them, saying today that his expectations for this year's club couldn't be higher.  
 
"Last year we were everybody's heavy favorite but this year we are a bit of an underdog and I think our players have something to prove. I think our whole organization has something to prove," he said. While some would be cowed, Lucchino was quite the opposite: "I anticipate this season more than any I can remember."
 
The Red Sox open the regular season in Detroit on Thursday, Apr. 5, in an afternoon game against the Tigers.  

Hear further thoughts from Lucchino on "The Emily Rooney Show."

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