"There's certain guys [who get extra rest], and J.D.'s one of them," manager Terry Francona said. "If there's a day I can alleviate the stress of getting on the bus, I'm just going to do it. I think he can get more out of staying back than coming over here for three at-bats. His swing is right on schedule. I just don't want to mess with that."
Francona said he was not concerned about bringing Drew back to face the team with which he exercised the opt-out clause in his contract last fall, enabling him to become a free agent.
"I really wasn't," Francona said. "As a matter of fact, I've already had three [Dodgers] coaches come up and tell me what a wonderful kid he is. And I'm seeing that part of him. We need to be smart enough. We don't need to change J.D. We need to accept J.D. I have no problem with that.
"This is a nice kid we're talking about, who is a [heck of a] player, and if we try to change that, that would be a big mistake. I don't see any need to do that. I love the way he swings the bat. I think he plays a good right field. I think he's our best baserunner. That's a pretty good package."
By the numbers: Quick. Which Sox player has appeared in the most games this spring? If you guessed Ed Rogers, who has appeared in 15 of the team's 17 games, you're correct. He is followed closely by Joe McEwing and Bobby Scales, with 14 games each.
Kevin Youkilis is leading the team with a .429 batting average, fifth in the American League. He also leads the league with five doubles and is tied for second with a .543 on-base percentage.
By the numbers, Part II: The Dodgers sold 9,067 tickets for Friday's game, which would have been a Dodgertown record, going back to the park's opening in 1948. The rainout also washed out that record.
The Sox have helped three teams on the road -- the Tigers, Mets and Marlins -- set attendance records this spring.
Pitching lines: Jon Lester pitched two innings of a Minor League game Friday afternoon for Triple-A Pawtucket against the Twins' Rochester affiliate, going two innings, allowing one hit, striking out two. He threw 20 pitches, 15 for strikes.
Tim Wakefield's next start will be Saturday at the Minor League complex, pitching for Class A Lancaster against the Twins' Fort Myers club. Jonathan Papelbon gets the big-league start for the Sox against the Reds at City of Palms Park.
Curt Schilling's next start is scheduled for Sunday at the Minor League complex, pitching for Pawtucket against the Reds' Triple-A Louisville team. Kason Gabbard will travel with the Sox to face the O's in Fort Lauderdale.
With Friday's rainout against the Dodgers, pitching coach John Farrell said he would have to overhaul the schedule for the relievers over the next few days. Hideki Okajima and Devern Hansack were scheduled to pitch Friday.
"We've got to revamp that work that was scheduled for [Friday] and try to slide guys in over the next couple days," Farrell said. "We've got an off-day scheduled for [Monday] as well, so that's going to cause some guys to miss some opportunities, but we're also getting to that point in time in the spring where starters are getting stretched out and innings are going to become a little bit more difficult to come by for some guys."
Okajima, too: In five Grapefruit League appearances spanning 6 2/3 innings, Okajima, who was scheduled to follow Daisuke Matsuzaka to the mound Friday, has a 2.70 ERA, allowing five hits, including two home runs and two walks, while striking out six.
Asked what he would like to see from the reliever, Francona replied: "Everything but that 0-2 curveball he's been throwing. No, just the progression that most veteran pitchers have."
Dodgertown countdown: The Dodgers' Spring Training home -- scheduled to close next spring, with the club moving to Arizona in 2009 -- first opened in 1948 and maintains most of its quaint characteristic.
The dugouts, for example, consist of an aluminum bench in a rectangular area about 50 feet long by five feet wide, sunk about six inches below the playing surface and about three feet in front of the first row of fans, with no cover or protection from sun -- or rain, as was needed Friday. The visitors' clubhouse is beyond the right-field fence.
While Francona enjoys many of those throwback features, he said he would also enjoy some modern amenities.
"It's a great atmosphere," he said. "I'd just appreciate a dugout or a bathroom. If you see me about the fifth inning scurrying, [you'll know why]."
Matsuzaka a bracket master? The Americanization of Matsuzaka includes him jumping into the pool. He has picked North Carolina to win the NCAA Tournament, but unlike most people, he picked the winner and then worked backwards through the rounds leading up to the Final Four.
"You know he doesn't know" much about college basketball, said Francona, a big college basketball fan himself. "But it's good. You get people involved and guys have fun with it."
Top o' the morning to you: The Sox will wear their traditional St. Patrick's Day garb of green hats and jerseys for Saturday's game, when they host the Reds. It is believed the Sox first wore green in 1990 when Roger Clemens purchased caps and stirrups for the team. The Sox enhanced the outfit with green jerseys in 2004.
Up next: Papelbon gets the start Saturday as the Sox return to City of Palms to host the Reds at 1:05 p.m. ET. In two Grapefruit League starts, Papelbon, who does not have a decision, has struck out eight, while allowing just one hit and one walk, in five innings. The Reds were also rained out on Friday. Their starter is expected to remain Kyle Lohse, as scheduled, for Saturday.
Maureen Mullen is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less