Sunday February 13, 2011 | 03:26 PM

Want to dream?

What if Josh Beckett returns to form and challenges for the Cy Young, John Lackey resumes the 3.81 ERA he had with the Angels, Jon Lester (19-9) and Clay Buchholz (17-7) repeat their fortunes of last year, and Daisuke Matsuzaka slides comfortably in the No. 5 slot in the rotation?

What if Jonathan Papelbon goes back to throwing strikes and mixing effective split-fingered fastballs with his regular heat?

And if the re-tooled bullpen featuring Bobby Jenks and Dan Wheeler, along with returning Daniel Bard and the best from an army of reliever candidates, turns out to be the best in baseball (instead of one of the worst of 2010)?

What if injuries no longer play a huge role in the fate of the Red Sox, and that Dustin Pedroia's foot and Kevin Youkilis' thumb cause no problems?

What if catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia fulfills the potential he could not show with Texas?

What if the Red Sox figure out a way to beat left-handed pitching, with or without David Ortiz and J.D. Drew?

What if ...

For more on the Red Sox as they begin spring training, see the Sunday column.



About this Blog

Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.

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