JetBlue unveils Red Sox-themed airplane

JetBlue unveils Red Sox-themed airplane

JetBlue unveils Red Sox-themed airplane
BOSTON -- Two days ahead of his scheduled flight to Spring Training, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine was at Logan Airport on Friday, riding in the cockpit of a JetBlue plane freshly painted with the team's road uniform scheme.

The plane, which was put in service after Valentine's ceremonial ride down the tarmac, was designed as part of JetBlue's partnership with the Red Sox. Its maiden trip Friday morning was to Fort Myers, Fla., where the club will run Spring Training at its new stadium, JetBlue Park.

"I'm going to be on [that flight] before you know it. A lot of the players are already there," Valentine said. "I'm really excited. I'm already there. I'm already in Spring Training [mode]. ... I have some players running around. I'll be there on Sunday, and I'm very excited.

"It's coming. Before you know it, we'll be running around, we'll be together, everyone will be in uniform -- and that's what I'm waiting for."

Red Sox pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training on Feb. 19. There's still some business left to be sorted out before camp begins -- like whether or not Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield will be in camp (they have non-roster invitations), and David Ortiz's contract situation (an arbitration hearing is scheduled for Monday) -- but none of those matters should greatly alter the club's outlook entering camp.

"He's a mature adult, and we're a mature organization, so I don't think it's going to be anything," Valentine said when asked if there was any concern about Ortiz's reaction to a potential hearing.

Valentine's non-stop tour of public and team-related events appears to be over after an incredibly busy two-plus months.

Some Sox players, like Jon Lester and Aaron Cook, have already started working out in Florida, and Valentine's been keeping tabs. The equipment truck will leave Fenway Park on Saturday, and then all attention shifts south.

"I get reports daily. Everyone's healthy, they look good, feel good," Valentine said. "You know, we don't want to peak too soon, so we're just trying to get in shape."

As for the Airbus A320, its passengers Friday morning found Sox jerseys and hats waiting for them at their seats.

Evan Drellich is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @EvanDrellich. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.