Today's lineup has Daniel Bard and Alfredo Aceves on the outside looking in.

Today’s lineup has Daniel Bard and Alfredo Aceves on the outside looking in.

Of all the pre-Opening Day traditions I tend to indulge right around this point in March, including, but not limited to, re-sorting baseball cards, finding the latest Athlon magazine, dusting off caps and re-watching Bull Durham, none are quite as frequent or neurotic as my tendency to take out a piece of paper, write out a prospective Boston Red Sox roster, and repeat for days on end.

Names are swapped in and out constantly. Players are called up to the big club and sent down to Pawtucket. Depth charts are tweaked. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west.

The pre-dawn of March each season presents its own challenges and puzzles. Years past have included debating which four of the nine journeymen Dan Duquette had signed would fill out the rotation behind Pedro Martinez (Bret Saberhagen, Pat Rapp, Kent Merker and brother Ramon Martinez would have been good guesses). Last year, I hunched over a notebook and debated the relative worthiness of having Cody Ross or Ryan Sweeney in right field, with Ryan Kalish on the bench. This year, none of those names are even worth writing down for one reason (departed as a free agent to Arizona) or another (trapped in the minors, on the disabled list, etc.).

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