h0353 BC-BBO-SpringTrainingRd 1stLd-Writethru 03-24 1501


Red Sox win opener

TOKYO — Daisuke Matsuzaka’s homecoming was saved by Manny Ramirez’s off-the-wall double.

Long after the Japanese pitcher left the game, Ramirez hit his second two-run double in the 10th inning to give the Boston Red Sox a 6-5 win over the Oakland Athletics in today’s major league season opener.

Closers come and go (on DL)


Closers Brad Lidge of the Phillies and and Toronto’s B.J. Ryan will miss the start of the season, adding to a long list of key players burdened by injuries during the final week of spring training.

The NL Central champion Cubs made Kerry Wood their closer on Monday and picked Jason Marquis as the team’s No. 5 starter.

As a rookie 10 years ago, Wood tied a major league record in his fifth start by striking out 20 batters in a game against Houston. Converted to a reliever last season to preserve his troublesome right arm and shoulder, the oft-injured Wood entered spring training in a three-way competition after the Cubs moved former closer Ryan Dempster to the rotation.

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