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Newest Red Sox excited for Fenway opener

TORONTO -- Monday should make a far more pleasant homecoming for the Red Sox than the past two seasons, when they arrived at Fenway Park 0-6 and then 1-5 a year ago.

Instead, they will be 4-2 after blowing out Toronto, 13-0, in Sunday's series finale at Rogers Centre.

"I think the guys are looking forward to the energy that Fenway and our fans give us," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "We've been two months in Florida and another week-plus on the road. I think, all things considered, everybody is looking forward to getting back. It should be an exciting day tomorrow."

It will be the first chance for the club's newcomers to experience a home opener with the Red Sox.

"I'm looking forward to it," said closer Joel Hanrahan. "That's something I've been waiting for since I got traded here, was to get home and see what it's like being at Fenway and getting a chance to play there in front of the home fans."

One of the biggest ovations of the day will likely go to 22-year-old outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr., who won a spot on the team after an outstanding Spring Training.

"Oh, it's definitely going to be a lot of fun, that's for sure. I think it's going to be exciting, more than anything, just to play in front of the hometown fans. I'm ready to get there," Bradley said.

The 2:05 p.m. ET start against the Orioles will be preceded by the usual festivities, which are expected to begin at 1:30.

One dominant theme will be the Red Sox paying tribute to the cancer-fighting Jimmy Fund, as the Sox and the Jimmy Fund are celebrating the 60th season of their official partnership.

The Jimmy Fund Chorus will sing the national anthem prior to the game and God Bless America during the seventh inning stretch. And, of course, there will be a flyover, featuring two vintage P-51 Mustangs at the conclusion of the anthem.

The Merlin-powered P-51 Mustangs, which first entered World War II combat in December 1943, are provided by the Air Force Heritage Flight Foundation, and will be piloted by Charles Hainline and Vlado Lenoch.

Several Jimmy Fund patients who have been treated over the last 60 years will participate in the ceremonial first pitch.

Ian Browne is a reporter for Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne.
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