Farrell doesn't count Yankees out

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- For the first time in recent memory, there could be quite a few prognosticators who pick the Yankees for second or lower in the American League East.

But Red Sox manager John Farrell isn't going to make the mistake of downplaying Boston's top rival. The Yankees paid a visit to Fort Myers on Sunday for the first of two meetings against the Red Sox this spring.

"No one is ever going to count the New York Yankees out," said Farrell. "They're a very veteran team. They're going to score a lot of runs again, I'm sure. They're going to have a darn good team."

For many years, the Yankees and Red Sox were the American League East heavyweights, at least heading into the season. But the 2013 race is much harder to predict.

"Our division is very even when you look at it on paper, and it should be a strongly contested division race, start to finish," Farrell said. "But I don't think you're ever going to take away the rivalry between two cities and two storied franchises. That'll always be part of the underlying story to every series that gets played or every game that gets played. I don't think that's ever going to go away."