Rain moves up Penny debut

Rain moves up Penny debut with Sox

BOSTON -- While the rest of the 2009 Red Sox will start their season a day later than scheduled, Monday's postponement means that Brad Penny will actually open his season a day earlier.

With Opening Day now set for Tuesday at 4:05 p.m. ET, ace Josh Beckett -- who gets the nod in that one -- won't be able to pitch again until Sunday at Anaheim. Originally, Beckett was going to start Saturday against the Angels.

Penny, who has been brought along at a slightly slower pace this spring as he recovers from last year's right shoulder woes, will flip-flop with Beckett and make the start on Saturday.

The other change in Penny's schedule is that the Red Sox canceled plans for the righty to go back to Fort Myers, Fla., and pitch a camp game on Tuesday.

He will now have a shortened simulated stint in the bullpen at Fenway on Tuesday.

"I kind of knew ahead of time this might happen," said Penny. "It didn't really make a difference, Saturday or Sunday."

Penny is just looking forward to getting started with his new team after spending the past three years with the Dodgers.

"I'm excited," Penny said. "Any time you get to pitch for an organization like this, it's an honor. It should be a lot of fun."

He will join Beckett, Jon Lester, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Tim Wakefield and eventually John Smoltz in what could be one of the deepest and best rotations in the game.

"I'm watching these guys this spring and every single one of them is having a quality outing and locating the ball," Penny said. "They know how to pitch and they work hard. I think in all it's going to be a great rotation."

Short hops: Shortstop Julio Lugo, on the 15-day disabled list following right knee surgery, will fly back to Fort Myers on Thursday to accelerate his rehab schedule. After roughly a week in Florida, Lugo will embark on a Minor League rehab assignment. ... Outfielder Mark Kotsay and Smoltz, also on the DL, will stay with the Red Sox through their West Coast trip, which concludes on April 15 in Oakland. ... Because of the postponent, three-time Grammy Award-wining Seal will no longer sing the national anthem. The honor will now go to the Boston Symphony Orchestra. ... Even with the change in schedule, the Red Sox remain hopeful that Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy will throw out the first pitch.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.