Tony Massarotti says that it is time for Josh Beckett to validate the trade that brought him here to Boston at the very high price of Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez. He believes he can do it, too. Alex Speier also has a column on Beckett, noting that while the right hander has the stuff and makeup to become the ace of the staff, he also has the desire to take that role. Bill Ballou says that because of all the money the Sox are paying Beckett, plus the enormous price they paid to obtain him, it’s time that they got something for their investment. Michael Silverman says Beckett plans on improving this season by relying more on his curve and off-speed pitches.

Gordon Edes has a micro-feature on Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis, who somehow manages the impossible task of flying under the radar here in Boston. Sean McAdam has Kyle Snyder overcoming adversity to make his first-ever opening day roster. Jeff Goldberg looks at Hideki Okajima trying to shrug off the impact of having his very first pitch in the Majors hit out of the park. Jeff Horrigan examines the Red Sox woes in Kansas City the past two years.

Mike Fine has a preview of the 2007 Red Sox, and notes that this is a team that has a number of flaws, and plenty of competition in the American League, which will make for a tough road all year. Gerry Callahan looks at Curt Schilling’s season getting off to a rough start, and notes that every Schilling outing this season is going to be like “American Idol” with the pitcher being judged on whether he should be brought back next season. Joe Haggerty has a look at a Brooklyn based youth league which really started the baseball careers of Manny Ramirez and Julio Lugo.

Rich Thompson has a few minor league notes, including Craig Hansen trying to make the adjustments needed to get him back in the majors. Brendan McGair has more on Hansen, who the Red Sox are determined not to rush back to Boston this season. Joe McDonald says that the PawSox will benefit this season from the Red Sox pitching depth.

Edes’ notebook examines how Major League baseball has become a true International League. Horrigan’s notebook has some 20 members of the 1967 Red Sox coming back for ceremonies prior to the home opener next week. Goldberg’s notebook has more on the planned events for the 2007 Fenway opener. Ballou’s notebook also has a look at the 1967 Red Sox reunion planned for Fenway.

Patriots

John Tomase has Randall Gay working hard to come back from being placed on Injured Reserve the past two season. Gay was re-signed by the Patriots this offseason and his anxiously looking forward to training camp. Mike Reiss has a look at Matt Light, who is participating the NFL Business Management and Entrepreneurial program, being held as a four day workshop at Harvard Business School. Reiss’ notebook has Todd Sauerbrun signing a deal with the Broncos, and the Patriots have the right to match the offer in the next seven days.

By the way, if you were wondering about the identity of the blonde woman with Bill Belichick at the NCAA title game, it was not Sharon Shenocca of the NJ divorce case as some have wrongly speculated. Tom Curran in his blog identifies the woman, reporting that it was Belichick’s “girlfriend Linda Holliday of Florida.”

Celtics

Christopher L. Gasper has Al Jefferson doubtful for tonight’s game with the Bucks after banging knees with Ryan Gomes in practice. Steve Bulpett says to expect the Celtics and Jefferson to be very cautious over the final two weeks of the season.

Bruins

Stephen Harris reports on the Bruins losing their fourth game in a row, this time 2-0 to the Canadiens in Montreal. Fluto Shinzawa has Hannu Toivonen playing fairly well, but being unable to stop Saku Koivu, who scored both Montreal goals. Harris’ notebook has more on a solid effort in defeat from Toivonen.

Masters

Karen Guregian says Tiger Woods once again intimidates his opponents as they head into this week’s Masters. Jim McCabe looks at how the holes at Augusta National are named. Jeff Jacobs has Phil Mickelson upbeat heading into the Masters. Jim Donaldson notes that in the year after losing his father, Woods will become a father this year.

Guregian looks at Henrik Stenson, whom Sports Illustrated has appointed as the “prime threat” to surprise at this year’s Masters. She also has a piece on Charles Howell III, who would be a great story with a win at Augusta, as he is a local.

McCabe’s notebook has Brett Quigley taking off after practice to be with his wife, who is expecting. Guregian’s notebook has Mickelson again going with two drivers in his bag.

NCAA

Mark Blaudschun has the Florida Gators thinking of their legacy after the back-to-back titles. Bob Ryan has Billy Donovan with a decision on his hands on whether to stay at Florida or move onto Kentucky. Bill Reynolds has more on Donovan and the drive that has made him a champion. Mark Murphy says that Greg Oden may follow the lead of the Gators and stay in school for another shot at a title.

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