Tuesday March 29, 2011 | 11:30 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Today's lineup, for Boston's final spring training game in Florida this year, looks similar to what the Red Sox could use in Friday's opener.

Ellsbury (cf), Pedroia (2b), Crawford (lf), Gonzalez (1b), Youkilis (3b), Ortiz (dh), Drew (rf), Varitek (c), Scutaro (ss) ... Buchholz (p).

Manager Terry Francona said the lineup will have some interchangeable parts, saying Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Youkilis could switch spots, as well as Dustin Pedroia and Carl Crawford swapping.

It was always thought that Crawford would be batting third, but he batted second for most of last year (101 games). And the idea of one speedster following another (Ellsbury) is intriguing. Then the clutch-hitting Pedroia (pictured left) would come up. Sounds like a plan against certain right-handed pitchers.

Francona also said the Opening Day lineup could be different because Texas is starting lefty C.J. Wilson, who is tough on left-handed batters (yielding a .144 batting average last year).

The bottom line is if playing Opening Day is special for J.D. Drew and David Ortiz, they will play. Otherwise, they will sit, like they would do for any other game against Wilson.

During Francona's pre-game meeting with the media, he once again singled out former Sea Dogs infielder Nate Spears as having "a great camp. There's no getting around it. He was a pleasure to watch. He worked hard. I think he grew on everybody ... like every single coach said 'the guy can play.'  It seems like I'm talking about him every day."

Spears, who will be moved to the Triple-A roster on Thursday, will be with the major league team for its exhibition game in Houston tonight.

For more on Spears, see today's baseball column. You can also check out the daily notebook.

The Red Sox are also bringing extra pitchers to Houston, and have plucked former Sea Dogs reliever Jason Rice out of the Triple-A camp, and Sea Dogs right-hander Blake Maxwell out of the Double-A camp.





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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