BALTIMORE -- The Boston Red Sox are scheduled to open the 2012 season against the Tigers in Detroit, according to an early draft of the major league schedule distributed to all 30 clubs and the players' union, according to a major league source.
After three games in Detroit, including the season opener on Thursday, April 5, and three in Toronto, the Sox are scheduled to play their home opener Friday, April 13 against the Tampa Bay Rays, who are slated to play four games that weekend, including the Monday morning Patriots Day game.
The Texas Rangers are then in for two games, followed by the Yankees, the scheduled opponent on April 20, the 100th anniversary of the first game played at Fenway Park. That's fitting, given that an early incarnation of the Yankees, the New York Highlanders, provided the opposition in the first game. The Sox beat the Highlanders 7-6 in 11 innings. The Yankees are scheduled for two more games that weekend.
The draft of the schedule is subject to revisions -- usually minor in nature -- and is expected to be finalized and released in September, the source said.
Unlike this season, when the Sox and Yankees met nine times by June 9, in the season's first 63 games, the Sox and Yankees will meet just once more before the All-Star break, also at Fenway July 6-8.
The Sox are not scheduled to make their first visit to Yankee Stadium until July 27-29, then return Aug. 17-19.
The teams are scheduled to meet in three-game series twice in September -- at Fenway Sept. 11-13, and then in Yankee Stadium Oct. 1-3, the final three days of the regular season.
National League East teams will be the principal rivals for the Sox in interleague play. The Sox are scheduled to play the Phillies in Philadelphia from May 18-20. They then have a six-game trip that will take them to Florida to play the Marlins from June 12-14 and to New York to play the Mets from June 15-17. The Marlins are scheduled to play in their new ballpark in Miami next season.
Unlike this season, the Sox will not play nine straight interleague games on the road, a source of complaint for manager Terry Francona, who was unable to use a DH for that entire stretch. David Ortiz made two starts at first base in that span and went hitless in 11 at-bats (13 plate appearances).
Like this season, the Sox are scheduled to make just two West Coast swings. The first is to Seattle and Oakland (in that order) June 28-July 4. The second is a nine-game swing to Anaheim, Oakland and Seattle from Aug. 28-Sept. 5. So the Sox will be on the West Coast for two major holidays, the Fourth of July in Oakland, and Labor Day (Sept. 3) in Seattle. They are scheduled to be home against Detroit on Memorial Day (May 28).
Gordon Edes covers the Red Sox for ESPNBoston.com.