News and observations: Red Sox vs. Blue Jays


TORONTO -- News and observations before the road trip finale:

* For the first time this season, Chris Young is in the starting lineup Sunday, playing left field as Brock Holt gets a day off.

"We wanted to get him a start before we get off this road trip to keep everyone involved,'' said John Farrell. "We felt like it was a day to give Brock a little bit of a breather -- he's been on the field for every inning (played to date). So this, to me, was the best matchup for Chris against the three (Toronto) righthanded starters (in this series).''

* Farrell and the rest of the Red Sox are looking forward to getting home and Monday's home opener. "It will be a great day; it always is,'' said Farrell. "We'll certainly feel the energy coming off the road and getting back in front of our fans at Fenway. I think guys are just looking forward to getting settled, too. It's been 11-12 days that we've been out.''

* The opener will mark the first game Farrell has managed at home since his announcement last August that he was taking a medical leave of absence to treat non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

"The last time I spoke with you guys (in the interview room) was not a fun message,'' said Farrell. ''I think the best thing is that our conversations now (with the media) is about what's going on between the lines. I haven't forgotten what I've gone through, but to have the focus on the games and the players...that's rewarding.''

* Farrell said there's a benefit to opening a season on the road, since it gives the players a chance to bond a little.

"I think there's more of an opportunity to do that,'' said Farrell. "We had a large group of guys go out to dinner (Saturday) night, again. There's an opportunity to do that, more so than when you're at home. You can band together a little bit. There's less of the distraction of settling in, getting your housing set up. You're on tour a little bit, you're on the road. You've got one another to hang out with. That's been good.''

* Farrell sees this group of players enjoying each other's company and being together.

"There's more evidence of that,'' he said. "That's a direct reflection of some of the guys that have been brought in -- Chris Young and David Price to name two. But I also think that Mookie (Betts), Blake (Swihart), Travis (Shaw), (Xander Bogaerts), Jackie (Bradley Jr.)....they spent a lot of games and a lot of years together in the minor leagues. So there's that cohesiveness to begin with..There's more of a closeness from experience.''

* Chrisian Vazquez has played two games in Pawtucket without incident. "He's come through it well,'' Farrell said. "He's throwing the ball well and responded to the cold temperatures favorably. That's been good.''

The plan calls for Vazquez to catch two games then take a day off.

"There's nothing to suggest we can't get to (three straight) shortly,'' said Farrell. "We haven't set a marker where we say, 'We need you to catch 'x' games consecutively (before being promoted). What we want to do is give him enough reps to where he's built his back up, his legs up, his throwing up. Having not caught in over a year, he's got to get in game shape a little bit.''

* Carson Smith threw a 25-pitch bullpen Saturday in Fort Myers and "came out of it fine,'' according to Farrell. Eduardo Rodriguez will pitch a sim game in extended spring training Sunday afternoon.

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