Opening Day begins in Japan with Red Sox playing A's

Updated: January 16, 2008, 6:13 PM ET
Associated Press

BOSTON -- Red Sox fans will have to get up early to watch the World Series champions start their title defense.

The major league season opener against the Oakland Athletics in Tokyo will start at 6:07 a.m. EDT on March 25, the Red Sox said Wednesday. The teams also play the following day.

Ahead of Opening Day, the Red Sox play the Central League's Hanshin Tigers at Tokyo Dome on March 22 (11:07 p.m. EDT March 21) and the Yomiuri Giants on March 23 (6:07 a.m.).

Boston also finalized its $550,000, one-year contract with backup catcher Doug Mirabelli. Catching mostly games started by knuckleballer Tim Wakefield, Mirabelli hit .202 with five homers and 16 RBIs in 48 games.

The 37-year-old, who had become a free agent, can make $275,000 more in roster bonuses, $150,000 in conditioning bonuses and $1.25 million in performance bonuses based on games and games started.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press