CHICAGO — A few random Red Sox thoughts spurred on by a tour of the Genghis Khan exhibit at the Field Museum:
• White Sox lefty Matt Thornton, who has pitched well against righthanders in his career, could be a good bullpen pickup for the Red Sox. He is signed for $5.5 million this season and $5.5 million in 2013, however. There's also a $1 million buyout for 2014 or a $6 million team option.
• Seems hard to believe that at this time in 2010 there was open speculation whether the Red Sox should release David Ortiz.
• It was interesting to see literally the entire team watching some funny clips on MLB Network before batting practice on Thursday. Meanwhile Josh Beckett has taken to playing cards with teammates before games and Dustin Pedroia has swapped cribbage with Terry Francona for "Words With Friends" against Adrian Gonzalez.
I'm not here to tell you that the clubhouse is a model of togetherness. But this group does seem to be coming together a lot better in the last two weeks.
• The level of respect the hitters have for batting coach Dave Magadan reminds me a lot of Kevin Long with the Yankees. Cody Ross has already said Magadan is the best hitting coach he has ever had. No matter who became manager, Magadan was staying on the staff.
• There was little reaction to the Carl Crawford news by the players. And, really, why should there be? The Red Sox had the best offense in the game last season with Crawford contributing little. The same is true this year. There is empathy for his issues, but certainly no feeling of there being something to replace.
• If the Red Sox want Bobby Valentine to feel more comfortable, they should let him do his pre-game media sessions in the dugout or in his office. The interview room at Fenway makes it feel like the manager is being put on trial every day and you can tell he doesn't like it. He's a different person on the road.
• Mike Aviles has hit probably seven balls this season that Jose Iglesias couldn't match if he hit the ball, picked it up and hit it again. The kid is hitting .206/.295/.221 with one extra-base hit in 68 at-bats at Pawtucket. He's only 22, but clearly this is a long-term project offensively.
• You have to feel for Ryan Kalish. If not for injuries he would have played a ton in right field last season and would be playing center field this season. He's still down in the Fort rehabbing his shoulder.
• Personality has nothing to do with performance. But it's amazing how quickly Ross has fit in and is well-liked by everybody around the team. Ryan Sweeney is a quieter person but he seems to be enjoying himself a lot, too.
• Props to Felix Doubront's wife and two boys, who braved the cold to watch him pitch last night. It was not a good night for watching baseball.
• Rich Hill will join the team today and Justin Thomas is off to Pawtucket. That's one step to fix the bullpen but others remain. In his first year as GM, Ben Cherington will be judged more on the moves he makes now as opposed to over the winter.
Off to the ballpark. Check back later for the lineups.