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MLB Boston Red SoxNew York Yankees

MLB Preview: Boston Red Sox Open Season Against New York Yankees

Anthony Gruppuso – USA TODAY Sports

When the Boston Red Sox take the field against the New York Yankees on Monday night, there will be a few faces missing. David Ortiz and Stephen Drew were placed on the disabled list and won’t be seeing any action in the first few weeks of the season while Daniel Bard was optioned to Double-A Portland.

What Red Sox fans will be happy to see is the starting shortstop and left fielder. Prospects, Jose Iglesias and Jackie Bradley Jr. made the opening day roster coming out of spring training. This marks the first major league appearance for Bradley and a return to the big leagues for Iglesias. The news of the Bradley breaking camp with the big club was welcome news to all of Red Sox Nation.

Earlier in the week, John Farrell named Jon Lester as the team’s opening day starter and will get the ball at Yankee Stadium. Lester had an outstanding spring, posting a 3-0 record with a 0.75 ERA, 0.50 WHIP and 20 strikeouts over 24 innings pitched. Red Sox fans are hoping he can carry his outstanding play into the regular season and fight for the Cy Young Award when the season comes to a close.

As the season opens, all teams in the AL East sit in first place, a fresh start, and a new beginning. This season the Red Sox hope to drastically improve on their horrible season in 2012. However, it won’t be easy with the new look Toronto Blue Jays, as well as the Baltimore Orioles, Tampa Bay Rays and the Yankees. Each team in the AL East has the chance to come out on top and make a deep run in the postseason.

The Yankees will have some familar faces missing as well. Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira have all been placed on the disabled list, leaving Robinson Cano all alone in the infield. Also, Curtis Granderson has also been placed on the DL and both Nick Swisher and Russell Martin departed for other teams this past offseason. Yankee fans will have to consult their game programs to find out who is who as the team takes the field on opening day. The team did resign Ichiro Suzuki and recently added veteran outfield Vernon Wells to their roster, so the fans will have some faces to cheer for.

Opening day also marks the first time Kevin Youkilis will face his former team, in a Yankees uniform. His first appearance in Yankee pinstripes won’t be as bad when he arrives at Fenway Park later in the season to face the Red Sox. It is unsure how Red Sox Nation will treat the former fan favorite when he does return to beantown.

Opening day in baseball is one of the great days all year. The two teams will come together to renew the rivalry and fight for a chance to play in the final game of the season in the World Series. Before that can all get started, the two teams will honor the victims of the Newtown, Conn. tragedy with a special pre-game ceremony.

Be sure to tune in on Monday and watch the greatest rivalry in sports get the baseball season underway for another season.

Justin Soderberg is a Boston Red Sox writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter, “Like” him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.