J.D. Martinez. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
BOSTON (WBZ-AM) -- It's Opening Day for Mookie Betts and the Red Sox.
"Going into a new year, you have new hopes," said Mookie Betts. "Everyone's kind of on a high right now, so I think we just kind of ride that throughout the season."
They're in Tampa to challenge the Rays in the first of a four-game set, starting a 4 o'clock with Chris Sale set to oppose Chris Archer.
Betts was an All-Star and the sixth-place finisher in the American League MVP balloting last year, but his home run and RBI totals, as well as his average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage were all worse than in 2016, so you know Boston's lead-off hitter is looking forward to a fresh start.
Dustin Pedroia will miss several weeks rehabbing his knee, but he's excited to have J.D. Martinez on his side.
"He's a great player," Pedroia said. "It's going to be fun to watch him hit every day, and play the game. We're pretty fortunate to have him."
Martinez belted 45 homers in 119 games last year, and believes the Sox are positioned for a championship.
"You look at our team, we have a very strong pitching staff, very strong bullpen, very strong lineup, and we're very strong defensively," Martinez said. "It's kind of hard to find one thing we're really weak at. For me, to expect anything less than going to a World Series--I think I'd be selling us short."
WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Adam Kaufman reports