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Wrapping up the day from Fort Myers

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  February 15, 2010 07:59 PM

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Lots of folks e-mailing, Tweeting or asking during the chat if I was impressed by anybody today. To be honest, it's hard to be impressed by anything at this point.

The pitchers are throwing in the bullpen and the hitters are taking BP off a coach. These are professionals, so of course they look good doing that stuff. Something would be terribly wrong if they didn't.

That said, you could tell Clay Buchholz has been throwing regulary. His delivery was smooth. Ryan Kalish's swing was there, the product of a productive winter. Kevin Youkilis was his usual no-nonsense self, arriving early and getting to work.

What impressed me the most were how many players have showed up early. I also was impressed that when I went over and shook hands with Jose Iglesias, he looked me square in the eye and wasn't afraid to ask a few questions of his own. He seems like a determined kid who wants to immerse himself in the organization and our culture.

Does that mean he can play shortstop in the big leagues? Heck no. But I remember David Wright showing that same level of maturity when he was 20 and new to Mets camp.

Meanwhile, a few notes for you:

* Don't expect this camp to be a coming out party for Casey Kelly. Theo Epstein indicated that he'll get one or two starts before going back to get his work done with the minor leaguers. He has a chance to start the season with Portland and that needs to be his focus.

* Clay Buchholz strikes me as somebody who added some maturity along with those 13 pounds.

* Jed Lowrie found a new way to tape his wrist that has helped, Theo Epstein said. He basically needs to show he can stay on the field and get past that injury. Then the Sox will figure out where he fits.

* Epstein would prefer to carry 11 pitchers. But Terry Francona and John Farrell want 12 and it'll probably be 12. It's hard to get away with 11 in the AL East just because you're going to get smacked around from time to time.

* I don't see how the Tim Wakefield and Mike Lowell situations will be anything but awkward. Wakefield wants to pitch and believes, with good reason, he has earned that right to start But Buchholz is ready and the Sox aren't going to pay Daisuke Matsuzaka $8 million to sit around.

They also can't use a six-man rotation as that screws everybody up. The idea is to get more out of guys like Jon Lester, Josh Beckett and John Lackey, not less. They Sox have to find a way to keep Wakefield happy until he, inevitably, is needed to start.

Lowell has been a regular for a long time now and, injured or not, isn't going to like coming to camp without a place to play. He's a proud guy with a solid record of performance. Now he's in a weird limbo of coming back from an injury to a team that tried to trade him.

Imagine getting called in one day at work and fired and then called back an hour later and told, "We're actually not canning you yet, Sparky. Maybe next time we have layoffs." How would you feel going about your job?

How Wakefield and Lowell handle those questions will largely determine whether this is Camp Quiet or Camp Controversy. Based on what we know of those two guys, they will handle it well.

Check back tomorrow for more coverage here on Extra Bases.

Also, follow me on Twitter at PeteAbe and Amalie at AmalieBenjamin. You'll find photos, links and observations from camp.

Thanks.

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