Farrell's decisions reflect importance of fast start

Manager valuing performance above salary commitments

Farrell's decisions reflect importance of fast start

CLEVELAND -- John Farrell believes the 2016 Red Sox have a chance to do "something special." For this season to be what the manager thinks it can be, he'd like to see his team come out of the gate strong.

After finishing in the last place the two seasons, Farrell thinks it's important for his club to send a message early they are ready to go on a different course.

Red Sox finalize Opening Day roster

"There's always a sense of urgency because of the expectations in Boston," Farrell said. "We know exactly what we've lived through, and getting off to a good start is important to any good year that you look back upon if you are going to term it successful."

"We jump right in to a very good pitching staff we're going to face here, then we're right in the throes of a heavy AL East schedule. We've got a tremendous opportunity in front of us to do just that, and that's to get off to a good start."

Farrell's determination to get off to a fast start this season was evident by the way he made decisions in Spring Training.

Where in past years, Farrell might have allowed time early in the season for expected starters to round into form, he made some bold lineup decisions at the end of camp.

Travis Shaw, 25, opens the season as the starting third baseman while Pablo Sandoval, who is in the second season of a five-year, $95-million contract, opens on the bench.

Shaw's RBI single

Brock Holt will be the primary left fielder against righties with Chris Young playing that position against lefties. Rusney Castillo, who was signed in 2014 to a seven-year, $72.2 million contract, starts the season as Bostons' fifth outfielder.

"I can say we're ready to begin the season," said Farrell. "We've had a productive Spring Training; we've had a couple of tough decisions to make in terms of the everyday alignment, lineup. Our players put in a great Spring Training. They're energetic; they came ready to work every day. We've got a couple of injuries we sustained that we're working through, but I like this group that we have.

"I think it has a chance to do something special."

Lefty ace David Price will get the first chance to get the Red Sox off on the right foot when he faces Indians righty Corey Kluber on Tuesday.

"Getting off to a good start is extremely important for everybody," Price said. "You don't want to put yourself behind that 8-ball in April early. You want to start playing good baseball early to get that feeling of winning early on in the season so you know what that feels like. That's something we're looking forward to doing, and I want to go out there and help us do that [Monday]."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.