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Rays-Red Sox preview

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What's new: The Sox blew things up after a dismal 2012, bringing in John Farrell to manage and several high-makeup players such as C Mike Napoli, RHP Ryan Dempster, OFs Jonny Gomes (the ex-Ray) and Shane Victorino. LHP Jon Lester has returned to form, and the bullpen is improved. Rookie OF Jackie Bradley Jr. was a spring surprise. RHP John Lackey looked good but got hurt again, though SS Stephen Drew is back from the disabled list.

Key stat: Gomes is 10-for-29 (.345) with three homers and a 1.181 on-base plus slugging percentage in eight games against the Rays.

Connections: Gomes is a former Ray, 3B coach Brian Butterfield a former Eckerd College assistant. … Rays Alex Cobb, Brandon Gomes and Sam Fuld are New Englanders.

Series history: The Sox lead 150-109 overall, 83-46 at Fenway. But the Rays have not lost the season series since 2007.

Marc Topkin, Times staff writer

Rays-Red Sox preview 04/11/13 [Last modified: Thursday, April 11, 2013 9:48pm]

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