Updates from Florida as the Red Sox play the first of two split squad games with the Baltimore Orioles on March 8.
SARASOTA, Fla. — The most interesting aspect of spring training for the Red Sox will be how their outfield comes together for Opening Day.
Grady Sizemore's return to health could create some interesting decisions. Can the Red Sox get away with Sizemore in center field with occasional games from Shane Victorino or does Jackie Bradley Jr. need to be on the roster?
"The competition is there," manager John Farrell said. "But we haven't arrived at a conclusion with Grady yet. We're hopeful that Monday and Tuesday he's got a chance to go back-to-back days. We still have to get answers to some questions that aren't there yet.
"There's still going to be that looming question of what's the total number of games played? We want to be sure that we keep a trajectory going upward rather than have any kind of setback because we've taken too quick a step."
Sizemore was 2 for 3 on Friday and ran the bases well.
Farrell called it "really encouraging" and mentioned that Sizemore was 4.2 seconds down the line when he beat out an infield single. That's not far off from his prime of 4.1.
"You get that feel there's no hesitation," Farrell said.
• Jake Peavy will throw three innings in the bullpen today in Fort Myers. He is lined up to start on Thursday against Minnesota. Peavy is recovering from a deep cut on his left index finger.
• The Red Sox are off on Wednesday. But Felix Doubront will pitch in a minor league intrasquad game to stay on turn.
• LHP Craig Breslow, who has yet to pitch in a game, should get on the mound soon. He has been brought along slowly after a heavy workload last season and lingering concerns about his shoulder.
SARASOTA, Fla. — Shane Victorino has yet to play a game in spring training for the Red Sox. When he does come back, which should be soon, it may only be as a righthanded hitter.
Victorino largely abandoned switch hitting in August last season because of a strained left hamstring. It proved successful as he hit .300 with an .896 OPS in 115 plate appearances batting righthanded against a righthanded pitcher.
Victorino has been coy about his plans, refusing to say whether he will bat lefthanded again. But he has yet to take a swing batting lefthanded during batting practice sessions on the field.
"It's almost going to be a game-time decision. I think he has his viewpoints on it and where his confidence is," manager John Farrell said this morning. "He hasn't told me that he's eliminating switch hitting."
Victorino is a natural righthanded hitter who learned to switch hit in 2002 when he was in the minors. He has been a better hitter righthanded over the course of his career.
"The right side has always been his strong side," Farrell said. "I think last year his production against righthanded pitching probably has enabled him to be a little bit more open-minded to getting the majority of at-bats from that side of the plate."
Farrell said the Red Sox support the idea.
"We want the most productive player," he said. "If that's what it lends to, we'd be perfectly fine with it if that's what he opts to do."
Batting righthanded Victorino hit a modest .216 in the postseason but drove in 12 runs over 14 games. He had big hits in Game 6 of the ALCS and Game 6 of the World Series.
"You look at the approach at the plate and the overall production and the confidence and you tend to think that has a chance to [continue]," Farrell said. "Time will tell."
Victorino has been held out of games so far for several reasons. He is recovering from surgery on his right thumb and has been doing extra work to strengthen groin muscles that gave him problems last season.
"Hopefully by sometime early this coming week he will be on the field," Farrell said. "All his on-field work has been free, no issues. That's been encouraging."
Good morning. Here are the lineups:
RED SOX (2-5-1)
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Deven Marrero SS
Mike Carp 1B
Will Middlebrooks 3B
Travis Shaw DH
Ryan Lavarnway C
Bryce Brentz RF
Brock Holt 2B,
Henry Ramos LF
Pitching: LHP Henry Owens followed by RHP Noe Ramirez, LHP Tommy Layne, RHP Alex Wilson, LHP Jose Mijares.
Nick Markakis RF
J.J. Hardy SS
Chris Davis 1B
Adam Jones CF
Nelson Cruz LF
Delmon Young DH
Matt Wieters C
Alex Gonzalez 3B
Jonathan Schoop 2B
Pitching: RHP Bud Norris followed by LHP Eduardo Rodriguez, RHP Tommy Hunter, RHP Darren O'Day, LHP Tim Berry, LHP T.J. McFarland, RHP Oliver Drake, LHP Aaron Laffey.
Game time: 1:05 p.m.
Notes: The teams also have a game at JetBlue Park at 7:05 p.m. John Farrell and his coaches are working both games. It's 86 miles between the ballparks. ... Owens will be making his second major league appearance in spring training. He allowed a run in two innings against the Pirates on Monday. ... Instant replay will be in use today.
SARASOTA, Fla. — Greetings from Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, where's it's 54 degrees. But it's sunny and expected to get warmer.
Long day ahead for the Red Sox, who have a split-squad doubleheader against the Orioles. Game 1 is here at 1:05 and Game 2 is at JetBlue Park at 7:05. Then the Sox have a day game against the Pirates in Bradenton on Sunday.
Links to our Globe stories today:
Red Sox backup catcher David Ross had a tumultuous first season with the Red Sox. Now he's ready to fill a significant role.
The notebook has Felix Doubront looking strong again. It also was a big day for Grady Sizemore.
FORT MYERS, Fla. — One Red Sox official called signing Grady Sizemore "a lottery ticket" for the organization because of the long odds it would pay off.
So far, a few of the numbers have popped up.
Sizemore was 2 for 3 in today's game against the Braves. But most notably, he took second base on a wild pitch in the third inning, sliding in to beat the throw from catcher Gerald Laird.
Sizemore hustled to beat out an infield hit in the first inning then had a line-drive single in the third. The outfielder is one of the surprises of camp after missing two consecutive seasons with injuries.
“He did a number of things today we haven’t seen yet,” manager John Farrell said.
Sizemore isn’t seeking out particular situations. But he’s passing physical tests as they occur in games.
“I’m not thinking about anything out there. It’s not one of those things where I’m hesitant or worried about anything,” he said. “If I were thinking along those lines, I wouldn’t be ready to play.”
Sizemore will get two days off before playing again Monday. He is not expected to play back-to-back games until later next week.
“The only question that we have right now is answering the durability one,” Farrell said.
That is an important question, obviously. As the Red Sox assemble their roster, they will need to determine whether Sizemore can be a regular player or more effective as an extra outfielder. Other decisions will hinge off that.
SCORE: Red Sox 4, Braves 1.
BREAKDOWN: Felix Doubront pitched four shutout innings, allowing two hits without a walk and striking out three. Five relievers allowed one run on two hits. Atlanta’s Jason Heyward homered off Junichi Tazawa in the sixth inning. The Sox broke a 1-1 tie with three runs in the seventh. Jonathan Herrera had an RBI double and Ryan Lavarnway a two-run single.
THUMBS UP: Wil Middlebrooks and Xander Bogaerts had a rough day in the field on Wednesday against the Cardinals. But they were solid against the Braves. Middlebrooks charged a slow roller and made a strong running throw to get Ramiro Pena in the third inning. Bogaerts went deep in the hole to get a force at second base in the fourth inning.
THUMBS DOWN: Umpire Marvin Hudson had the nerve to call ball four when Koji Uehara was facing Gerald Laird in the fifth inning. “Can you believe it?” catcher David Ross said. In truth, the ball was outside because Uehara was working on a slider.
MEDICAL REPORT: Catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who hasn’t played since twisting his left ankle on Monday, is scheduled to start on Saturday night against the Orioles. Manager John Farrell said the injury was the result of a new pair of cleats and Pierzynski is now wearing something that fits better. … Righthander Matt Barnes, who was temporarily shut down with a tender shoulder, has started throwing again.
AROUND THE BASES: David Ortiz was 0 for 8 in spring training before doubling to the triangle in center field in the fourth inning. …The Red Sox will not make their first cuts until after Tuesday’s split-squad doubleheader, Farrell said. … Former Red Sox manager Joe Morgan attended the game. … Dustin Pedroia, Jonny Gomes, David Ross and Mike Napoli went to the Florida Gulf Coast University basketball game on Thursday night. The “Dunk City” Eagles beat Eastern Tennessee.
NEXT GAME: The Sox have a split-squad doubleheader against the Orioles on Saturday. Game 1 will be at 1:05 p.m. in Sarasota. Game 2 will be at 7:05 p.m. in Fort Myers. Henry Owens will start the first game and Brandon Workman the nightcap.
Live updates as the Red Sox host the Atlanta Braves. Game time is set for 1:05 p.m.
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Red Sox manager John Farrell expects Shane Victorino to play in his first game early next week. He has been held out to work on strengthening core muscles that bothered him at times last season.
“He’s making solid progress,” Farrell said. “More range of motion in all his activities on the field and is responding very favorably at this point.”
• Jake Peavy will throw an extended bullpen session on Saturday, essentially a simulated game without batters. The righthander is recovering from a deep cut on his left index finger and cannot yet catch a ball.
“The wound is healing satisfactorily,” Farrell said. “Given all things considered he’s making good progress with it.”
Peavy is scheduled to pitch a game next week, either Wednesday or Thursday. If he stays on that schedule, Peavy should be able to make the Opening Day roster.
“If my math is right, that gives him four starts here. We’re not going to skip steps but we feel like there is ample time to ramp him up,” Farrell said.
• A.J. Pierzynski, who hasn’t played since twisting his left ankle on Monday, is scheduled to start on Saturday night against the Orioles. Farrell said the injury was the result of a few pair of cleats and Pierzynski is now wearing something that fits better.
• Righthander Matt Barnes, who was temporarily shut down with a tender shoulder, has initiated a throwing program.
• The Red Sox will not make their first cuts until after Tuesday’s split-squad doubleheader against the Orioles, Farrell said.
• Dustin Pedroia, Jonny Gomes, David Ross and Mike Napoli went to the Florida Gulf Coast University basketball game on Thursday night. The “Dunk City” Eagles beat Eastern Tennessee.
• Farrell offered no apologies for fielding a lineup of little-known players against the Marlins on Thursday. A report said Miami officials were “outraged,” but a team spokesman said Friday that no complaint was filed to Major League Baseball.
Major league rules require teams to have a lineup with at least four players who are regulars or have a reasonable chance to being regulars. The Red Sox used one player who fit that definition — Jackie Bradley Jr. — in Thursday’s 0-0 game in Jupiter.
Farrell said he was aware of the Marlins being upset but was comfortable with the lineup he used.
“You can’t speak to what goes on inside another team’s camp. There are reasons why that they bring a team that they do,” Farrell said.
Farrell said the starting infielders stayed behind to work with coach Brian Butterfield on positioning in shifts. The Red Sox also were missing several regulars with injuries.
“We had work and injuries we were contending with,” Farrell said. “I thought we played a pretty darned good game.”
• The Red Sox agreed to terms with 19 players on the 40-man roster with 0-3 year of service times. Such players have no negotiating leverage and generally accept contracts based on a team’s formula.
The Red Sox, like most teams, adjust salaries over the minimum of $500,000 based on service time in the majors and performance. As such, Felix Doubront ($586,000), Daniel Nava ($556,500) and Will Middlebrooks ($540,000) were the highest paid of the group according to WEEI.com.
Brandon Workman ($518,000), Xander Bogaerts ($517,000), Ryan Lavarnway ($510,000) and Rubby De La Rosa ($504,000) were on the next tier followed by Alex Wilson ($503,500), Drake Britton ($503,000), Brock Holt ($503,000), Jackie Bradley Jr. ($502,000), Allen Webster ($502,000) and Steven Wright ($502,000).
Bryce Brentz, Dan Butler, Garin Cecchini, Alex Hassan, Anthony Ranaudo and Christian Vazquez received $500,000.
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Jonny Gomes got an elaborate tattoo to commemorate the World Series. But he didn't stop there.
Gomes commissioned a painting from sports artist Vernon Wells Sr. It was delivered this morning and is very impressive. It's a reproduction of various scenes from throughout the season involving Jonny.
Wells, whose son Vernon was a long-time MLB outfielder, does terrific work. Check out vwellsart.com to see a selection of his paintings.
Here are the lineups:
RED SOX (1-5-1)
Pitching: LHP Felix Doubront followed by LHP Jose Mijares, RHP Francisco Cordero, RHP Koji Uehara, RHP Junichi Tazawa, RHP Edward Mujica.
B.J. Upton CF
J. Upton LF
La Stella 2B
Pitching: LHP Alex Wood.
Game time: 1:05 p.m.
Notes: The Red Sox return home after back-to-back days on the road in Jupiter. ... Doubront threw two scoreless innings in his spring training debut. ... Uehara and Tazawa will be making their second appearances. ... Two division champions from a year ago are 3-11-3 so far in spring training.
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Baseball lost a true pioneer on Thursday with the death of Dr. Frank Jobe. It was Jobe who performed unlar collateral ligament reconstructive elbow surgery on Tommy John on September 25, 1974.
Now "Tommy John surgery" is commonplace in baseball and has saved the careers of hundreds of players. The list includes Red Sox starter John Lackey.
Jobe also served as a medical staff sergeant in the Army's 101st Airborne Division during World War II. He later became the long-time team physician of the Dodgers but helped players from all teams.
Jobe belongs in the Hall of Fame for his contributions to baseball.
Links to our Globe Red Sox coverage:
For some Red Sox players, smokeless tobacco remains a habit that's hard to break.
Nick Cafardo writes that the left side of the Red Sox could be a problem,
The notebook has Rich Hill mourning a lost son.
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Florida Marlins officials were "outraged" the Red Sox did not field a representative team for this afternoon's game in Jupiter.
The Sun Sentinel newspaper also reported the Marlins planned to contact Major League Baseball about the situation.
MLB requires teams to field spring training lineups with "a minimum of four players who were regulars on the previous year’s major league team or who were platooned on the previous year’s major league team on a regular basis, or who have a reasonable chance to be regulars on the major league club’s squad during the upcoming season."
Each of those regulars, excluding pitchers, must play a minimum of three complete innings.
The Red Sox lineup included only one player — center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. — who fits that description.
The Marlins raised ticket prices for the game, labeling the Red Sox a "super premium" attraction.
Live updates as the Red Sox take on the Miami Marlins on Thursday, March 6.
We're going to be anticipating severe weather here over the next few hours so we have no idea how much of this game will take place. There's a window from noon-4 p.m. where severe storms could bury the region.
John Farrell indicated that both David Ross and AJ Pierzysnki have come along nicely from their foot and ankle injuries and are scheduled to play Friday and Saturday.
Jake Peavy, who threw a bullpen, will continue with his throwing program and Farrell hopes that in the next few days the bandage on his left index finger will be reduced to the point where he can wear a glove and begin taking the pounding on the healing laceration where he cut himself with a fishing knife.
Back in Fort Myers, Brian Butterfield put the infielders through workouts, especially Will Middlebrooks, who had a tough day in the field on Wednesday in Jupiter vs. the Cardinals.
Farrell met with Marlins catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and wished him well. There had been some hard feelings during the World Series when Salty was benched in favor of Ross, but both have moved on and appear to be getting along fine.
Farrell is impressed with Bryce Brentz' camp thus far. Brentz has hit two homers and made a tremendous throw from right field Wednesday to nail a runner going from second to third.
This is a big draw for Marlins, so they'll try to get the game in. Bill Parcells, who lives here, just showed up.
Giancarlo Stanton is in the Marlins' lineup. There will always be rumors associated with Stanton and Boston. Stanton acknowledged he's heard them and said he respects the Red Sox for the great team concept.
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Red Sox righthander John Lackey pitched for the first time in spring training this morning, going three innings in a minor league intrasquad game.
Lackey was perfect, retiring all nine hitters he faced and striking out six of them. He threw 36 pitches, all fastballs and a few changeups.
It certainly beat the alternative, which would have been a long bus ride across the state for the game against the Marlins.
"I just didn't want to go to Jupiter today to be honest with you," Lackey said. "It's a lot shorter trip here."
Lackey is scheduled to start on Tuesday against Miami at JetBlue Park.
"I felt good. Pretty much threw a lot of fastballs, trying to get that location to start off with," Lackey said. "Good place to start."
Lackey was coming of Tommy John elbow surgery when he reported to camp last season. Now he's pitching with much more peace of mind.
"Definitely just a lot different," he said. "Last year you kind of wondered how you were going to feel with the elbow more than trying to locate pitches. I was just trying to see how my elbow was going to feel more than anything."
Lackey had a strong season in 2013, going 10-13 with a 3.52 ERA over 29 starts and 189.1 innings. He was 3-1 with a 2.77 ERA in the postseason. He pitched a key inning of relief in Game 4 of the World Series then beat the Cardinals in Game 6, allowing one run over 6.2 innings.
A few other notes from the Fort:
• Lefty Andrew Miller faced two batters in the intrasquad game and retired them both.
• David Ross (left foot) said he is ready to start on Friday.
• Will Middlebrooks, who had a rough day in the field on Wednesday, was out early working with infield coach Brian Butterfield. It's noteworthy that Butterfield stayed behind to work with Middlebrooks and Xander Bogaerts.
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Here is the pitching schedule for the next five days:
Friday vs. Atlanta: Felix Doubront, Jose Mijares, Francisco Cordero, Koji Uehara, Junichi Tazawa, Edward Mujica.
Saturday at Baltimore: Henry Owens, Noe Ramirez, Tommy Layne, Alex Wilson, Dalier Hinojosa,
Saturday vs. Baltimore: Brandon Workman, Jose Mijares, Andrew Miller, Brayan Villarreal, Miguel Celestino.
Sunday at Pittsburgh: Clay Buchholz, Rubby De La Rosa, Francisco Cordero.
Monday vs. Tampa Bay: Jon Lester, Chris Capuano, Anthony Ranaudo, Jose Mijares.
Tuesday at Baltimore: Allen Webster, Dalier Hinojosa, Alex Wilson, Brayan Villarreal.
Tuesday vs. Miami: John Lackey, Drake Britton, Junichi Tazawa, Koji Uehara, Edward Mujica, Andrew Miller, Burke Badenhop.
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Lefthanded reliever Rich Hill arrived at Red Sox camp this morning to heartfelt hugs and words of support from teammates. His infant son, Brooks, passed away on Feb. 24.
"We had a son on Dec. 26 and he was born with multiple issues that we confronted and had to deal with as we were moving through the last couple of months at Mass General," Hill said. "Unfortunately, he succumbed. He's passed. He taught us a lot of things. Unfortunately things didn't work out."
The Hill family — Rich, Caitlin and 2-year-old Brice — landed in Florida on Wednesday night.
"My wife has been extremely strong," Hill said. "We're going to enjoy our time here and obviously make the most of the opportunity that's here to play baseball," said Hill, who turns 34 next week. "Excited to be here, to be playing baseball again and get back into the normalcy of my profession and to be around a great group of guys and to just take that next step.
"One-day-at-a-time approach, that's where we're at, to really enjoy every day."
Hill was with the Red Sox from 2010-12 and pitched well when healthy, posting a 1.14 ERA over 40 games and averaging 10.2 strikeouts per nine innings. Hill appeared in 63 games for Cleveland last season despite a 6.28 ERA.
Hill, a native of Milton, thanked the Red Sox for their support. One of the main reasons he signed a minor league contract with the organization was to remain close to his family.
"There was a strong correlation," he said. "Fortunately, had the opportunity to come back. The Red Sox have been tremendous through this whole part of our life. ... They were absolutely fabulous. It was 100 percent support all the way."
Hill said his family has had "tremendous support" from family and friends.
"Extended family, at Mass General. Everybody there has been tremendous. The doctors, the nurses and everybody who cared for our son," Hill said.
Hill is hopeful of finding a spot on the Red Sox roster.
"We'll see. I feel that the opportunity is here," he said. "The opportunity is here for myself to make the most of it and go out there and do everything that I can on a daily basis to perform."
The Red Sox have lefthanded relievers Craig Breslow and Andrew Miller on the 40-man roster along with starting pitcher prospect Drake Britton, who pitched in relief in the majors last season. Lefthanded reliever Jose Mijares is in camp on a minor league contract.
Here are the lineups:
RED SOX (1-5)
Pitching: RHP Allen Webster followed by LHP Drake Britton, RHP Alex Wilson and minor league call-ups.
Pitching: RHP Nathan Eovaldi followed by LHP Brad Hand, RHP Chaz Roe, LHP Mike Dunn, RHP Chris Hatcher, LHP Dan Jennings and LHP James Leverton.
Game time: 1:05 p.m.
Notes: Webster did not pitch well in his first spring game, giving up three runs on four hits in 1.2 innings against the Twins. Britton was sharp in that game, throwing two scoreless innings and striking out four. ... Thunderstorms are expected in the area around Roger Dean Stadium around game time. ... Saltalamacchia, a member of the Red Sox from 2010-13, signed a three-year deal with the Marlins in the offseason.
FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox are 1-5 and have been outscored 43-24 so far in spring training. It's pretty ugly and several folks wrote emails asking if there was reason to be concerned.
It's a legitimate question and even John Farrell mentioned on Wednesday that the team needs to clean up its mistakes.
But there probably aren't more than a handful of players in the clubhouse who have the remotest idea what the team's record is. At this point, it's not a concern.
This stage of spring training is glorified practice for the players who will make up the 25-man roster. They play one game every few days and then only for three or four innings.
Jon Lester, John Lackey, Clay Buchholz, Jake Peavy, Felix Doubront, Koji Uehara, Junichi Tazawa, and Craig Breslow have thrown a grand total of five innings in games so far.
David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, and Mike Napoli have 22 at-bats. Until the Red Sox make some cuts and get their actual team on the field what transpires on the field doesn't hold much meaning beyond being able to evaluate individual players.
The Red Sox were 2-4 after six games in spring training last year and it turned out pretty well.
Nick Cafardo is with the team in Jupiter today for the game against the Marlins. Here at Fenway South, John Lackey will throw a simulated game.
Our stories in the Globe today:
Nick spoke to Jarrod Saltalamacchia and the catcher made it clear he wasn't wanted back by the Red Sox.
The notebook has Farrell expecting better and Jon Lester working on his game back in the Fort.
Here's the report on an 8-6 loss against the Cardinals.