New Red Sox infielders Mark Loretta and J.T. Snow were in camp today and spoke to the media. Here are some of their comments from the day's press conferences, compiled by the Boston Globe’s Chris Snow:
"So far so good. my first impression is it's a little more humid than Arizona. I've had 14 spring trainings, all in Phoenix, so this is my first time in Florida for spring training. This feels great."
"I just got in, today is my first day. Everybody is very welcoming and friendly and just trying to learn some names, it seems very laid back and casual. Just very laid back."
"Just to give you an example of that, Mike Lowell, we share a locker together and we were talking real briefly today, where do you like the ball on double plays? Do you like to come across the bag, do you like to stay behind the bag, etc. So we're already starting the dialogue. The dialogue is just initial, and then getting on the field and taking groundballs. Six weeks is plenty of time to get to know a double play partner and tendencies of guys in the infield."
On getting in sync with his new double play partner:
"I think there's more made out of that than there really should be. At this stage of our careers, we've all played with a lot of partners so to speak. Everybody has to catch it, throw it, catch it again for the double play. It's really not that big of an adjustment."
"I'm excited, I think it's a great time in my career to experience this. I've played for Milwaukee and Houston and San Diego, not exactly huge media markets. I'm excited to experience East Coast baseball and Yankees-Red Sox and a chance to win the World Series with a traditional team, all that stuff, so I'm very excited."
"Yeah, J.T. is the consummate pro. He's an exceptional defensive player, as an infielder, he's the type of guy you feel very confident throwing the ball over there and he can pick it with anybody. I might be the weak link in this infield. I think I'm the only one without a Gold Glove when he's out there. That's something to be said."
On his defense:
"I take pride in consistency, knowing the hitters, knowing where to position myself. I'm not the most flashy fielder, but I take pride in making all the routine plays and occasionally making the spectacular play but that's not something I'm looking to do on a consistent basis."
Previous thoughts about Boston:
"I was, when I was a free agent after the 2002 season, we had some dialogue about coming to Boston. At that point, he couldn't guarantee me a starting position. I think Todd Walker was here at the time or they had signed him or something. At that stage of my career, I really wanted to go somewhere where I could get back to playing every day. San Diego, I'm from Southern California, that was a pretty good fit there. So it really came down between San Diego and Boston at that stage and we've kind of been mutual admirers of each other ever since."
"I do, I missed 50-plus games with injuries last year and it's always frustrating to do that and I think any time you have a big layoff like that it took me a while to get back in the swing of things, so yeah, I'm looking to get back to the level I was at in '03 or '04, 100 percent, back to normal, no issue."
"I think particularly at this stage of my career, having 10 years of major league experience, I think it serves me to be able to handle the scrutiny and the intensity and the passion, it's really something I'm looking forward to. So that's something I won't shy away from at this stage of my career. And make no mistake, San Diego has a reputation of being laid back, but we made the playoffs last year, we had a new stadium that was packed every day, so it wasn't like we were just going out playing beer league softball. There was always pressure and really the most pressure that comes is the pressure you put on yourself."
On the Red Sox lineup and playing at Fenway:
"If I end up hitting second, I don't think there's any better 3-4 combination you could have behind you in the game, maybe in history. That certainly will bode well. I think Fenway should work well for me. I'm not really a dead pull hitter, in fact, I like to use the middle of the field, the right side of the field. What's nice about Fenway park is the right side is pretty big so I expect to hit some doubles to right-center and occasionally use the monster if someone tries to come in. I'm going to try and really hit the ball where it's pitched and I think Fenway should work out for me."
On Manny and Ortiz:
"I really don't focus on who is hitting behind me. But if the pitcher does, that's better for me."
"I played in the American League before, I was with Milwaukee when they were still in the American League, so I'm familiar with the ballpark. I think in this day and age with interleague play, in fact, we played at Fenway in 2004 and Yankee Stadium. It's not as big an adjustment as it was before. I'm going to rely on some of the guys here to give me some good scouting reports."
On his goals:
"The only numeric goal that I have is to score at least 100 runs. I've had that goal in San Diego the last two years. I think that does a couple things. That means I'm getting on base and the guys behind me are driving me in. It's a real good stat for a guy who hits high in the order. That's really my main goal."
On Josh Beckett:
"Josh, to me, was if not the best than the top three pitchers in the National League. He was not a guy I liked to face. He's got all the stuff. He's got some makeup. You saw what he did in the playoffs against the Yankees in '03. He's a huge addition. He's a No. 1 pitcher on anybody's team."
Keys to matching up with the Yankees:
"I'd say at least on paper, I think you'd have to say that we're going to pitch better than they do. I think we're going to play better defense. That's really the key that I'm seeing. I've only made the playoffs once, but I know that teams that can pitch and catch the ball will be there at the end. That's really what we're going to focus on. I think we're going to have enough offense certainly to score enough runs. Something to keep the other team from scoring."
On changing leagues:
"The biggest adjustment I think is just going to be the starting pitching from the other side. I've been in the National League now for six or seven years. I think just getting to know some of the three, four, five starters on some of the American League teams. You know some of the No. 1 and 2 guys. Like I said before, every year every player has some adjustments to make whether they're on the same team or not. As far as the AL East, from afar I've always felt that it's the most competitive division in baseball. I think what Toronto's done and what Baltimore's done, obviously the Yankees and us, even Tampa Bay has probably improved. So it's going to be competitive. I was in the NL West last year. You can make a case that was a competitive league. Even though we won the division at 82-80, there were a lot of teams there at the end."
On the intensity level change from SD to Boston:
"San Diego has a rap of being a laidback sports town, and it is. But there's still people in the stands. You're still battling for the playoffs. You put pressure on yourself. Dave Roberts is a good friend of mine. I spent a lot of time with him this winter. He said, 'You can plan on it and think about it, but until you get there you can't fully understand what it's like.' So it's going to be a learning process."
On the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry:
"I always thought it got a little bit too much coverage, to be honest with you. Playing on the West Coast, it seemed like they were always on ESPN and the lead on SportsCenter. You kind of get pushed aside. It's a completely different situation. It's something I'm looking forward to."
J.T. Snow"I feel like it's the first day of school trying to find my way around. I got a chance to meet a lot of the guys and put some faces with some names and I haven't been to Florida in a number of years, but it's exciting, I'm honored to wear the uniform. I hope good things happen."
"Yeah, this offseason, my agent and I were talking to some teams and the Red Sox came up, it's one of those places that is always up there on your list I think just with everything that goes on with it. Some friends that I played with with the Giants, Doug Mirabelli and Bill Mueller, and they both played here and got a chance to get their feedback and ideas and thoughts, and they all said if you get a chance to play in Boston for a year, to go do it. I'm excited. I've known Terry Francona a long time. We're both from the University of Arizona so I've seen Terry at alumni functions and that was another factor. I've respected him for a lot of years. I played against him when he was managing the Phillies and he's done a great job over here so and then the chance to just play on a winner. The longer you play the game, the more years you play, your number one goal is to win the World Series and get a ring. I came very close in 2002 with the Giants. At this point in my career, that's the main reason that I want to still play, to try to get a ring."
On wearing his dad's No. 84 (his father, a former Rams receiver, passed away in January):
"Um, it was actually a no brainer. I was talking, when I was in negotiations with the Red Sox and my dad was in the hospital and he was talking a lot and I actually got to finalize the deal while he was still alive and it just came to me. So he knew I was going to sign with the Red Sox and I told him that I was going to wear his number so I think it made him happy and he was excited. I know it's not a typical baseball number but I'll blend in with the minor league guys out there I guess and kind of do my own thing and hide but
it's really, he did so much for me in my career and as a kid growing up and in sports that it was a no brainer to do it. It was just to honor him, because I wouldn't be sitting here and have played 13 years in the big leagues without his support and his upbringing so it's an honor for me to do that."
On his dad's satisfaction on him wearing the number:
"Yeah, he was, when I told him, he was at the point where he was having a hard time communicating and talking, but he could still [communicate], by nodding his head, so it brought a smile to his face and like I said, I think he felt good about it. I think if your son had a chance to wear. There's not too many sons that even make it in professional sports who had a dad that played, but we're in two different sports, so I think he was excited about it."
What does he hope to add?:
"Anything that I can. I've played on some good teams, I've played on some winning teams, the Red Sox were up front with me and I signed and I know what my role is, I know Kevin Youkilis is making the switch over to first and he's going to play a lot and I'm going to get to play. I'll do whatever they ask me to do. I'm at the point in my career now where my number one factor is just to win and add as much as I can to a team. Like I said, I'm not here to stir anything up. I think our playing on the field will determine playing time. I still feel like I can play and contribute and in the back of my mind, I still feel like I can play every day. I know that's probably not a possibility here but we'll see what happens. It's a long season. A lot of things happen, there's some injuries and guys struggle and guys go through a lot during the season so I'm here to do whatever I can to help."
Will the Green Monster help him?:
"I don't know, I haven't played in Fenway since '96 when I was with the angels. I think that the park I played in in San Francisco was pretty tough on left-handed hitters. It wasn't my favorite place to hit. It kind of took it's toll on you, so I'm excited about getting out of there and playing in Fenway so we'll see what happens."
Is he comfortable being a teacher as well?:
"I don't like to throw myself on other guys. If someone asks or wants help with playing first base or different things, yeah, no problem, but I'm not really overbearing and throw myself on somebody."
Will mentoring Youkilis take from his own desire to play more?:
"Yes and no. We have to wait and see how the season plays out. Obviously I want to play as much as I can and contribute and help as much as I can. We're 25 guys, we're a team, we're going to try and help each other do whatever we can to win and get to the postseason. We'll see how it plays out."