Sox, Yanks to meet for only spring game

First, only spring game for Sox, Yanks

BRADENTON, Fla. -- The Red Sox will have a near-full house of regulars on hand for Monday's 1:15 p.m. ET road contest in Tampa, Fla., against the Yankees. Is it just another sign that the rivalry is as fierce as ever?

Actually, no.

In fact, Sox manager Terry Francona was barely even aware that his team was playing the Yankees until it was brought to his attention.

Right now, the Red Sox are all about getting their work in before the team charter leaves for Tokyo on Wednesday.

So in the only meeting with the Yankees during this Grapefruit League season, the Sox could have a lineup that includes David Ortiz, Jason Varitek, Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia, Julio Lugo, Mike Lowell, Jacoby Ellsbury and J.D. Drew.

Manny Ramirez is the only member of the starting nine not expected to make the trek to Tampa, where the Sox will face off against longtime rival Andy Pettitte.

"We'll have just about everybody there," said Francona. "With a day off [on Tuesday], we kind of need to space it out and have guys play more than they don't."

The Yankees, who rested Derek Jeter, Bobby Abreu and Jorge Posada on Sunday, will also have the bulk of their "A" lineup out there.

Though it won't count in the standings, this will be Yankees manager Joe Girardi's first taste at the rivalry in his new capacity.

"I think it'll register a lot more in the season," Girardi said. "It's a great rivalry and an unbelievable one. The intensity and the length of the games are great for baseball."

The matchup with the Yankees will also give the Red Sox one more chance to look at Bartolo Colon before he gets to put on his own program.

In Colon's second Grapefruit League start, he's expected to pitch three innings.

Colon will start the season in some form of extended Spring Training or Minor League rehab. Thus far, the Sox have been pleased with his arm strength.

Julian Tavarez and Javier Lopez will also pitch in the game for the Red Sox on Monday.

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