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Red Sox notebook

Epstein reins in the exuberance

Hold your horses, cautions wary GM

By Peter Abraham
Globe Staff / February 18, 2011

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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Josh Beckett said Tuesday that the Red Sox could win 100 games this season. Mike Cameron heard that comment before he arrived in camp yesterday.

“I decided to show up and see if I could be a part of that,’’ he said. “I like that.’’

Cameron then compared the Red Sox with the powerful Seattle teams he played for from 2000-03.

General manager Theo Epstein, ever the realist, toted a bucket of cold water to his sit-down with reporters.

“I think it’s nice that those players feel good about themselves and their teammates and what we have here,’’ he said. “But let’s be honest, we haven’t done anything yet. All we have is a bunch of guys in this clubhouse here to try and set out and do a job.

“We’ve got a lot to prove. We’ve got to prove we’re not a third-place team in this division. We’ve got to prove we can stay healthy. We’ve got to prove that we can repeat performances, what guys have done in the past, that they can come out and do it again in 2011, or improve upon those performances. We’ve got to prove we can come together as a team.

“We don’t have win No. 1 yet. We have a lot to prove and the work is just starting. That said, I like that these guys feel good about themselves and their teammates and our chances.’’

It is worth noting that the Red Sox have not won 100 games since the 1946 team was 104-50.

You’ve got a friend Carl Crawford arrived in camp, having finished his workouts in Houston. He quickly got into uniform and joined his new teammates on the field. “I’m glad to see that guy on our side now,’’ David Ortiz said after giving Crawford a hug. Crawford, who will speak to the media tomorrow, is friendly with several of the Red Sox, having worked out in Arizona in previous years with Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis. He also knows Cameron and Darnell McDonald well. “Exciting guy to have on the team,’’ McDonald said. “He can beat you with the legs, his bat, and with his glove. He’s fun to watch.’’

Not-speedy Gonzalez Adrian Gonzalez isn’t fast. Wait, that’s not right. Let him explain it. “I like to let everybody know I’m real slow,’’ the new first baseman said. “Don’t expect me to be fast. There’s a lot of times when people think I’m fast and then they’re telling me I’m not hustling. I’m like, ‘No, I’m going as fast as I can.’ I don’t run with my chin sticking out, forcing it or anything, so I don’t look like I’m trying to go as fast as I can. But I’m going as fast as I can.’’ . . . In an interview with the Associated Press, Hall of Famer Hank Aaron predicted the Red Sox would face the Giants in the World Series. “They’re going to score a lot of runs, I know that,’’ he said of the Sox. “And if they’re pitching comes around, they’re going to be awful tough to beat.’’

Gang is (almost) all here Position players reported yesterday and will have their physicals today. Their first official workout is tomorrow. The only players missing from yesterday’s voluntary workout were J.D. Drew and Marco Scutaro. “J.D. I know is here,’’ said manager Terry Francona. “He was at Target getting supplies. Scoot will be here. Scoot has a way of dropping off the map for a while. He’ll be ready to go.’’ . . . Ortiz and Gonzalez, two powerful lefthanded hitters, spent some time yesterday discussing their trade. “We were talking about our approach versus lefties quite a bit,’’ Ortiz said. “We’re going to be talking a lot during the year. That’s what we were saying. We’re going to give each other feedback on things we might be able to pick up.’’ . . . Francona takes great delight in smacking cloth baseballs at the pitchers during defensive drills. His latest victim was Jon Lester, who took two shots off the leg . . . Pedroia, who has an endorsement deal with New Balance, handed out shirts to all the players and staff with a stylized “DP’’ logo on the front . . . Youkilis looked like a younger man, having shaved off his distinctive goatee.

Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @peteabe.

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