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Sox will see Youkilis in pinstripes on Monday

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 31, 2013 06:19 PM

NEW YORK — “Bald Vinny” Milano, leader of the boisterous Bleacher Creatures at Yankee Stadium, will start a chant of “Kevin Youkilis” shortly after the first pitch is thrown at 1:05 this afternoon.

It will be a surreal scene, Yankees fans cheering for a player they detested when he was with the Red Sox. But not only is Youkilis in pinstripes this season, he is projected to hit cleanup against Red Sox starter Jon Lester in their depleted lineup.

“Now he’s one of the bad guys. We’ve got to worry about him,” Lester said on Sunday.

The Red Sox traded Youkilis to the White Sox in June for two players they have since released. When the White Sox declined Youkilis’ $13 million option, he became a free agent and the Yankees signed him for $12 million.

Youkilis was 5 for 12 in three games against the Red Sox last July, including 1 for 2 with a home run against Lester. But competing against him as a member of the Yankees is an entirely different story.

“It’ll be weird,” Lester said. “I wouldn’t never thought that it would happen. But he made that choice for him and his family. I’m sure he’s excited about it.”

Youkilis was signed to play third base in place of the injured Alex Rodriguez. But he is expected to play first base today. With Mark Teixeira also on the disabled list, the Yankees are in flux.

Youkilis hit .280 with a team-best six home runs in spring training.

Also:

• As Dick Williams did in 1967, John Farrell predicted a winning record for the Red Sox. “I do believe we’ll win more than we lose,” Farrell said. “I think [if] our starters pitch like they have in spring training, I think that will be a cornerstone to how this team performs in the long run.” Given that the Sox were 69-93 last season, a winning record would be a significant improvement.

• The Red Sox are working with Major League Baseball’s medical department to get shortstop Stephen Drew cleared to start playing in games. Drew, out since March 7 because of a concussion, is required to get clearance before he can play in a game of any kind. He remained behind in Fort Myers and could play in extended spring training games as soon as Monday. Drew had only 18 plate appearances before he was injured. He is expected to need at least a few weeks before returning to the majors. The Red Sox will start Jose Iglesias at shortstop until Drew returns.

• Under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement, the Sox and Yankees were not allowed to hold a workout on Sunday. The Sox did have an optional session of batting practice that most of the position players attended. Third baseman Will Middlebrooks took some swing despite a cold that had him slumping on a clubhouse couch afterward.

• John Lackey pitched four innings in a minor league intrasquad game that started at 9:30 a.m. back in Fort Myers. Statistics were not available but Farrell said that Lackey hit 93 mph with his fastball. As often happens after Tommy John surgery, Lackey has added some velocity.

• Lester will be focused on the task at hand on Monday. But he will look up for the military flyover. “I love the flyovers,” he said. “I always try to make sure I watch those. I grew up into planes and all that. I love that.”

• Lester is 7-2 in 12 career road starts against the Yankees, including six wins in 11 starts at the new Yankee Stadium. No other visiting pitcher has more than four wins at the park.

• The Red Sox are 54-57-1 all-time on Opening Day (excluding the second game of doubleheaders in 1903, 1948 and 1982).

• The Sox have lost eight straight going back to last season.

• Bradley at 22, would be the youngest Opening Day starter for the Red Sox since 22-year-old Donnie Sadler started at second base in 1998 and the youngest left fielder since a 22-year-old Carl Yastrzemski started the first game in 1962.

• Bradley, Iglesias and Middlebrooks are two of seven Red Sox on their first Opening Day roster. The others are Pedro Ciriaco, Clayton Mortensen, Daniel Nava and Junichi Tazawa.

2013 Red Sox roster

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 31, 2013 02:45 PM

Here is the roster, official as of Sunday:

PITCHERS (12): RHP Alfredo Aceves, RHP Andrew Bailey, RHP Clay Buchholz, RHP Ryan Dempster, LHP Felix Doubront, RHP Joel Hanrahan, RHP John Lackey, LHP Jon Lester, LHP Andrew Miller, RHP Clayton Mortensen, RHP Junichi Tazawa, RHP Koji Uehara.

CATCHERS (2): David Ross and Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

INFIELDERS (6): 1B Mike Carp, 2B-SS-3B Pedro Ciriaco, SS Jose Iglesias, 3B Will Middlebrooks, 1B Mike Napoli, 2B Dustin Pedroia.

OUTFIELDERS (5): LF-CF-RF Jackie Bradley Jr., CF Jacoby Ellsbury, LF-RF Jonny Gomes, LF-RF Daniel Nava, RF-CF-LF Shane Victorino.

DISABLED LIST (4): LHP Craig Breslow, SS Stephen Drew, LHP Franklin Morales, DH David Ortiz.

It's official: Jackie Bradley Jr. makes Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 31, 2013 02:29 PM

NEW YORK — John Farrell told Jackie Bradley Jr. that he had made the Red Sox while the team flight was en route to New York on Saturday night.

"At 35,000 feet, he couldn't jump any higher," Farrell said. "I think he kind of sensed it all along."

Bradley will start in left field on Monday against the Yankees. He was given No. 44, a nice improvement from No. 74 in spring training.

"He improves our outfield defense," Farrell sad. "He showed a very consistent approach at the plate. A lot of people want to target the batting average in spring. In our evaluation it goes much deeper than that. When you see the consistency of at-bats he put up, feel like the strength in his mental approach will handle some of the distractions that will ultimately be thrown his way. One of the better players we had in spring training."

Bradley hit .419 in 28 games during spring training with a .507 on-base percentage and a .633 slugging percentage. Farrell said the idea of keeping Bradley took root halfway through camp once they saw him play. David Ortiz's injury created an opening.

"Our intentions were for him to start the season in the minor leagues," Farrell said. "But I didn't want to put a ceiling on the guy."

The Red Sox designated Mauro Gomez for assignment to make room for Bradley on the 40-man roster.

The Red Sox also placed LHP Craig Breslow (left shoulder tendinitis), LHP Franklin Morales (low back strain), and David Ortiz (right Achilles tendinopathy) on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to March 22.

The calm before the Opening Day storm

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 31, 2013 01:20 PM

NYY.jpg

NEW YORK — Good afternoon and Happy Easter from Yankee Stadium, where the Red Sox will have a workout to prepare for Opening Day against the Yankees on Monday.

We'll have updates later on.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 31, 2013 09:09 AM

sox.jpgHere is our 2013 Red Sox preview section that centers on team chemistry.

There are multiple stories and graphics in this package including pieces on John Farrell, Dustin Pedroia, Shane Victorino and Jonny Gomes along with capsules on every player on the team, every team in baseball and columns from Dan Shaughnessy and Chris Gasper.

Check out our predictions for the season, too.

The Red Sox set out to change the tone of their team with a group of newcomers.

The notebook has Mike Napoli feeling physically ready for the season.

Red Sox release Sweeney; Maier reassigned

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 30, 2013 11:36 PM

NEW YORK — Red Sox made two minor roster moves tonight involving outfielders who were in camp on minor league contracts.

Ryan Sweeney, who was told Thursday he would not make the 25-man roster, requested his release and was granted it. The Red Sox had offered him a spot with Triple A Pawtucket. Sweeney is trying to catch on with another team.

Mitch Maier accepted an assignment to Pawtucket. He also had the right to opt-out of his contract. Maier missed two weeks with a sprained left wrist, which limited his options.

The Red Sox have yet to announce a 40-man roster move that will allow them to add Jackie Bradley Jr, to the team.

Game report: Red Sox 4, Twins 1

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 30, 2013 05:56 PM

SCORE: Red Sox 4, Twins 2.

RECORD: 17-17-1.

BREAKDOWN: Daniel Nava had two hits and drove in a run as the Sox wrapped up a long stay in Florida with a win. Shane Victorino had a two-run single.

THUMBS UP: Felix Doubront threw five shutout innings in his spring wrap-up. He scattered six hits, walked one and struck out six. After a slow start due to a sore shoulder and poor conditioning, Doubront had a 3.00 ERA in five spring starts. … Righthanded reliever Koji Uehara retired both batters he faced to complete a dominating spring. In 10 appearances, Uehara threw 9.2 scoreless innings. He allowed four hits, walked two and struck out 12.

THUMBS DOWN: Closer Joel Hanrahan allowed a run in the ninth on two hits and walk.

MEDICAL REPORT: Lefthander Franklin Morales threw in the bullpen for the first time since straining how lower back. He did not travel with the team to New York so he can continue working out. “I feel pretty good,” Morales said. “I can get going.” … Outfielder Mitch Maier got in his first game since spraining his left wrist on March 15. Maier is leaded for Triple A Pawtucket.

AROUND THE BASES: Counting the game against Puerto Rico's WBC team, Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Ryan Dempster, Doubront and John Lackey had a 2.13 ERA this spring. … Lackey stayed behind and will pitch four innings in a minor league intrasquad game on Sunday morning to finish his work. He will then fly to New York. … The Sox have sold out all 33 Grapefruit League games played at Jet Blue Park since the facility opened last season.

NEXT GAME: Opening Day is Monday in New York against the Yankees at 1:05 p.m. The Red Sox will start Jon Lester against CC Sabathia. The Red Sox have a voluntary workoput (per the rules of the collective bargaining agreement) at Yankee Stadium on Sunday.

Final: Red Sox 4, Twins 2

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 30, 2013 01:08 PM

Game over: Red Sox 4, Twins 2: Hanrahan allowed a run on two hits and a walk but the Sox win to finish the spring 17-17-1.

Top of the 9th: Red Sox 4, Twins 1: The Sox (and Andrew Bailey) allowed an unearned run thanks to an error by Mookie Betts.

Off to the clubhouse. Back in a bit. Hanrahan in for an actual save situation.

Top of the 8th: Red Sox 4, Twins 0: Andrew Miller with a perfect inning. Sox six outs away from a shutout.

Top of the 7th: Red Sox 4, Twins 0: Felix Doubront threw five shutout innings in his spring wrap-up. He scattered six hits, walked one and struck out six. After a slow start due to a sore shoulder and poor conditioning, Doubront had a 3.00 ERA in five spring starts.

Righthanded reliever Koji Uehara retired both batters he faced to complete a dominating spring. In 10 appearances, Uehara threw 9 2/3 scoreless innings. He allowed four hits, walked two and struck out 12.

Top of the 5th: Red Sox 4, Twins 0: Singles by Salty, Nava and Iglesias loaded the bases for Bradley. He got up 3-and-1 then swung and missed twice. But Victorino singled in two runs. The second baseman, Dozier, should have made the play.

Top of the 4th: Red Sox 2, Twins 0: Doubront allowed a single, but that was it. Pedroia singled with two outs and Napoli was hit by a pitch. Middlebrooks hit the ball hard but right to Ramirez in right.

Bradley now in center, Ciriaco at second and Carp at first.

Top of the 3rd: Red Sox 2, Twins 0: Doubront left two runners on. He has been playing with fire so far. Middlebrooks singled to center to start the bottom of the inning. With two outs, Middlebrooks stole second. He then scored on a single by Nava.

Top of the 2nd: Red Sox 1, Twins 0: Doubront left the bases loaded by striking out Ramirez looking. The Sox got a run when Ellsbury reached on an infield single, advanced on a groundout and Napoli lined a pitch off the wall. Napoli was thrown out going to second.

Pre-game: Good afternoon from JetBlue Park for the final time this spring training. It'll be Felix Doubront for four innings against the Twins. Look for the starters to get two at-bats before everybody packs up and heads for New York.

The game is on NESN Plus and WEEI. But we will have occasional updates here, too.

Red Sox still waiting to make a roster move

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 30, 2013 11:08 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox do not plan to set their 25-man roster until the 3 p.m. deadline on Sunday. The team will use the time to make a move to get Jackie Bradley Jr. on the 40-man roster.

Because that roster is full, the Sox will have to either designate a player for assignment or trade one to clear a spot for Bradley. Until then, he will not officially be on the team.

But Bradley did arrive at Jet Blue Park in a charcoal suit and will accompany the team to New York.

When asked if anything about spring training came as a surprise to him, John Farrell said it was how good Bradley was.

“Just reading about him, hearing about him, until you see him you don’t know fully what to expect but that’s been a good surprise," the manager said. "I think we had a pretty good idea coming in what to anticipate. But until you see it unfold and take hold, you get a better sense of it.”

Also:

• Shortstop Stephen Drew, out since March 7 with a concussion, is so close to getting in a minor league game that he will not travel with the team to New York.

“That’s the exact reason for it,” Farrell said.

Drew has been taking batting practice, fielding ground balls and throwing.

“He continues to report some further resolving of the symptoms. He continues to move in the right direction,” Farrell said.

The Sox want Drew to be able to play every day once he starts playing. Before Drew can get in a game, he has to be further cleared by doctors affiliated with Major League Baseball.

• David Ortiz, out all spring training recovering from an Achilles' tendon injury, will travel with the team to New York and will return to Fort Myers after that series. Farrell said Ortiz could take live batting practice or in games the week of April 8.

“There’s a framework in place that would target some time the following week to hopefully get some live at-bats,” Farrell said. “That’s the general time frame right now without being hard and fast to a given date.”

Ortiz has been running straight ahead and doing side-to-side agility drills. The next step for him will be taking turns. From there he would progress to running the bases.

• Farrell is planning to use backup catcher David Ross in the third game of the season, Thursday against the Yankees. “His involvement is going to be somewhat regular,” Farrell said. The Sox are open to using Jarrod Saltalamacchia as the DH with Ross catching. “Not going to use that as a deterrent,” Farrell said. “That’s a distinct possibility at some point.” If Ross were injured and left the game, the Sox would put Saltalamacchia behind the plate, give up the DH and use pinch hitters as needed.

• The Red Sox are still negotiating with Ryan Sweeney, who opted out of his minor-league deal on Thursday after being informed he would not be on the major league roster.

• Farrell sees Daniel Nava, not Mike Carp, as the primary backup at first base.

• Farrell likes the idea of hitting Shane Victorino second against lefthanders because he switch hits and has speed. But against righthanders, Victorino will hit well down in the lineup, Farrell said. Victorino has a career .881 OPS against lefthanders, .732 against righthanders. Nava will be the No. 2 hitter against righthanders, it appears, at least to start the season.

• Farrell said he was pleased with how spring training went for the Sox outside of the injuries for Ortiz and Drew.

“Overall I think we’ve had a successful camp,” he said. “We’ve been able to integrate the number of [new] players that have been brought in successfully. They’ve understood what we’re trying to get done as far as our approach every night.

“We’ve settled into some element of a lineup given who’s available. Certain David and Stephen coming back is going to positively affect that. … I think overall it’s been a very businesslike approach. The attitude has been great, the energy has been consistent and we’ve had a very concentrated effort.”

UPDATE, 12:45 p.m.: Not that this will come as any great shock to you, but righthanded reliever Clayton Mortensen is on the roster. That seemed pretty obvious when Daniel Bard was optioned to Pawtucket a few days ago, but Mortensen asked John Farrell just to be sure.

Grapefruit League Game 34: Twins at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 30, 2013 08:00 AM

Good morning. Here are the lineups for the last game of spring training:

RED SOX (16-17-1)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Napoli 1B
Middlebrooks 3B
Saltalamacchia C
Gomes LF
Nava DH
Iglesias SS
Pitching: LHP Felix Doubront followed by RHP Joel Hanrahan, RHP Koji Uehara, LHP Andrew Miller, RHP Andrew Bailey.

TWINS (17-15)
Hicks CF
Mauer C
Willingham LF
Plouffe 3B
Parmelee DH
Ramire zRF
Rohlfing 1B
Dozier 2B
Florimon SS
Pitching: RHP Mike Pelfrey.

Game time: 1:35 p.m. at JetBlue Park.

TV/Radio: NESN Plus / WEEI.

Notes: The Sox close out spring training with their third consecutive game against the Twins ... The Sox are 5-2 against the Twins in spring training. The teams will meet for the first time in the regular season on May 6 at Fenway Park ... The Sox were 16-11-4 in spring training last season ... Doubront is making his fifth start of the spring against a major league team. He has gone 13 innings, allowing six earned runs on 14 hits with five walks and 16 strikeouts.

Final: Twins 8, Red Sox 3

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 29, 2013 12:56 PM

Game over: Twins 8, Red Sox 3: The Sox were held to six hits and fell to 16-17-1.

Top of the 9th: Twins 8, Red Sox 2: Ciriaco had a triple in the eighth inning. Ronald Bermudez then drove in a run.

Off to the clubhouse. Back in a bit.

Top of the 8th: Twins 7, Red Sox 1: Marco Duarte allowed three runs on five hits in the seventh inning. All of the starters (except Ciriaco) are out of the game. Sox are being out-hit 10-2. Must a collective hangover from winning the Mayor's Cup last night and the long party that followed.

Middle of the 6th: Twins 4, Red Sox 1: Bradley walked before singles by Ellsbury and Pedroia scored him. First two hits for the Sox.

Top of the 6th: Twins 4, Red Sox 0: Tazawa allowed two singles and a walk to load the bases. When Ryan Doumit grounded to first, Tazawa was late covering the base and the Sox could not turn a double play. But he then got Parmelee to ground into a DSP.

Top of the 5th: Twins 3, Red Sox 0: Twins pitchers have faced the minimum so far. Outside of a walk, the Sox haven't been on base.

Dempster allowed two walks and a single in the fourth. He is likely done for the day.

Top of the 4th: Twins 2, Red Sox 0: The Sox do not yet have a hit. Dempster had two strike outs in the bottom of the inning.

Top of the 3rd: Twins 2, Red Sox 0: RBI doubles by Ramirez and Escobar gave the Twins the lead.

Top of the 2nd: Red Sox 0, Twins 0: Both teams went in order. Rather uneventfully, too.

Pre-game: Good afternoon from sunny Fort Myers and Hammond Stadium, about four miles from JetBlue Park. It'll be the Red Sox against the Twins.

We'll have updates throughout the game. So feel free to hang out and leave some comments.

Jackie Bradley Jr. makes a memory for a kid

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 29, 2013 11:46 AM

jbjkidbat.jpg

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Here's an email I received a few minutes ago from a Red Sox fan:

I was at last night's game and was fortunate to be able to see Jackie Bradley Jr. play. The reason why I am writing you is that when I was at the game a security staffer called my 10 year-old-daughter over and handed her an autographed Jackie Bradley Jr. bat.

This was totally unprompted and surely has made a huge impression on her. These small gestures by ball players have a long-lasting effect on children. I wish him a long, successful baseball career. He certainly has a family of lifelong fans now.

How great is that?

Jackie has obviously been a good player and based on spring training (and comments from folks who have known him over the years), he seems like a good guy, too. Nice to hear stories like that.

Nava on team; Bradley still in limbo

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 29, 2013 10:02 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — John Farrell said this morning that Daniel Nava is on the Opening Day roster. But he would not say the same about Jackie Bradley Jr. Not yet, anyway.

Bradley is not yet on the 40-man roster, so the Red Sox would have to clear a spot for him. That could come by either designating a player for assignment or trading one. It seems likely that the Sox are trying to trade a player — Mauro Gomez would seem like the obvious choice — before making their addition of Bradley official.

There is literally not another healthy position player in camp. So if it's not Bradley for the final spot, the Sox will be springing a surprise on everybody. The rosters are not due until Sunday.

"We're at the point where we're working through some final roster situations," Farrell said. "We're at 40 currently, so any changes to that are going to require a process in which to go through. We're not at the final 25 or the final 40 yet."

Farrell said the final roster is not expected to be announced until Sunday.

"Right now, Daniel Nava is likely to be on our Opening Day roster. Beyond that, we're not final," Farrell said.

Bradley is in the lineup playing left field today. That is likely how the Sox plan to use him, at least until David Ortiz returns from the disabled list.

Is there a scenario where Bradley is not on the team?

"Until it's official, yeah there would be a scenario," Farrell said. "But that means someone's going to come who's already sent out or we look to do something different. But again, we've got some things to get through over the next 48 hours."

That certainly sounds like a 40-man roster situation.

Also:

• The Sox intend to stretch out LHP Franklin Morales once he returns to games with the idea of creating some rotation depth. Morales will start the season on the disabled list with a lower back strain.

Once Morales returns to the majors, he would be a reliever.

• Ryan Sweeney has been offered a spot with Triple A Pawtucket. He has until tonight to give them an answer.

• Mitch Maier, who can opt-out of his minor league deal today, has tentatively told the Red Sox he would accept an assignment to Pawtucket. He has been out with a sprained left wrist and is not yet ready to play, although he is taking batting practice.

Roster update: Mike Carp makes the team

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 29, 2013 09:10 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Mike Carp was told this morning that he made the Red Sox roster. As of 9 a.m., Jackie Bradley Jr. and Daniel Nava had not yet been told. But that would seem to be a formality.

Carp, 26, is a first baseman and left fielder who was obtained from Seattle on Feb. 20 for future considerations. He has not hit particularly well in camp (.190/.244/.310) but has a track record that includes a solid 2011 season (.276/.326/.466) with Seattle that included 12 home runs. Carp was injured much of last season.

"I knew I was in a good position, especially playing first base and having the experience there. But you never know until you get the final decision from the skipper himself," Carp said. "It was nice this morning to come, get pulled in the office and told. It's a good feeling. You can have a good day and get ready for tomorrow and that flight to New York."

So unofficially, the roster looks like this:

Starters (5): Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Ryan Dempster, Felix Doubront, John Lackey.

Relievers (7): Joel Hanrahan, Andrew Bailey, Andrew Miller, Koji Uehara, Junichi Tazawa, Alfredo Aceves, Clayton Mortensen.

Catchers (2): Jarrod Saltalamacchia, David Ross.

Outfielders (5): Jacoby Ellsbury, Shane Victorino, Jonny Gomes, Jackie Bradley Jr., Daniel Nava.

Infielders (6): Mike Napoli, Dustin Pedroia, Jose Iglesias, Will Middlebrooks, Pedro Ciriaco, Mike Carp.

Disabled list: David Ortiz, Stephen Drew, Ryan Kalish, Franklin Morales, Craig Breslow.

Grapefruit League Game 33: Red Sox at Twins

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 29, 2013 07:50 AM

Good morning. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (16-16-1)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF,
Pedroia 2B
Napoli 1B
Middlebrooks 3B
Saltalamacchia C
Gomes DH,
Bradley Jr LF
Ciriaco SS
Pitching: RHP Ryan Dempster followed by RHP Junichi Tazawa, RHP Clayton Mortensen

TWINS (16-15)
Carroll DH
Dozier 2B
Plouffe 3B
Doumit C
Parmelee 1B
Ramirez CF
Escobar LF
Ortiz RF
Florimon AA
Pitching: RHP Cole De Vries.

Game time: 1:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: None.

Notes: Dempster, the No. 3 starter, is expected to go four innings. In five major league starts this spring, he has a line of 17.2 IP, 15 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 4 BB, 10 K. ... The Sox have only one more game in spring training after today. They host the Twins tomorrow afternoon at JetBlue Park.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 29, 2013 07:19 AM

The Red Sox made some roster moves and Jackie Bradley Jr. looks to be the beneficiary.

The notebook has Stephen Drew set to start the year on the disabled list. But it may not be a long stay.

Red Sox pass on Ryan Sweeney; spot cleared for Jackie Bradley

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 28, 2013 10:25 PM

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AP Photo/Kathy Willens

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Jackie Bradley Jr. was only supposed to spend a few weeks in spring training with the Red Sox. Now it appears he will be facing the Yankees on Opening Day.

The Red Sox informed outfielder Ryan Sweeney on Thursday night that they would not be purchasing his contract. That would appear to clear the way for the 22-year-old Bradley to be added to the roster.

“Nobody has told me anything,” Bradley said after driving in a run to help the Red Sox beat the Minnesota wins, 6-1. “I’m just going to show up tomorrow.”

The Red Sox had a hole to fill when it became apparent designated hitter David Ortiz would not be ready to start the season as he recovers from an Achilles tendon injury. Bradley made himself the best option, hitting .444 with seven extra-base hits, nine walks and 12 RBIs over 71 plate appearances. He has a .521 on-base percentage and a .644 slugging percentage.

“I’ve tried to play hard and show them what I could do,” said Bradley, a supplemental first round pick in 2011 out of South Carolina. “I had no idea what to expect. It has been fun.”

The Sox would not keep Bradley on the roster without the intention of playing him. He could start in left field on Monday with Jonny Gomes filling in as the DH.

Bradley is an outstanding defensive player and has an advanced approach at the plate. He had a .423 on-base percentage in his first two seasons in the minors.

Sweeney’s departure also means that outfielder Daniel Nava and first baseman/left fielder Mike Carp will likely be on the team. The Red Sox would need to create a spot on the 40-man roster for Bradley.

Red Sox manager John Farrell was tight-lipped after the game about the roster. But he praised Bradley earlier in the day, saying the Sox believe he can handle the unexpected promotion.

“You always want to get the best feel you can for the makeup of the individual. Looking at all sides, so in the event of something that doesn’t turn out well or as he’s challenged, how does he respond to those? That’s a projection," Farrell said.

"Until you get to that point, you don’t fully know. How strong mentally is he? If struggles occur at the major league level, what would his response be? Yet at the same time, you look at the spring training he’s had, the talent that he is and you try to put together the best team with the best players that you can. We’ve allowed him to go this deep into camp, so we’re not afraid and not unwilling to break with him. If that were the case, we would have sent him out four weeks ago.”

By promoting Bradley now, the Sox are starting his service-time clock, which could lead to his becoming a free agent in six years instead of seven. That would change if he returns to the minor leagues for 20 days at some point during the season or in subsequent years.

“We can’t control tomorrow, let alone six years from now," Farrell said.

Sweeney was told when he signed a minor league contract with the Red Sox in January that a spot on the roster was his to lose. He lost it by hitting .217 in 46 at-bats with one extra-base hit.

After meeting with Farrell, he called his agent, Larry Reynolds, to decide what to do. Sweeney has the right to opt-out of his minor league deal and become a free agent.

“I wanted to be a part of it,” he said. “Now we’ll see what happens. … It’s definitely a weird situation, the first time I’ve gone through it.”

Sweeney hit .260 over 63 games for the Red Sox last season.

Final: Red Sox 6, Twins 1

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 28, 2013 07:01 PM

Game over: Three runs more came across in the eighth inning. Jackie Bradley Jr. (26 of 59, .441) singled in a run as did Ross and Jose Iglesias.

Top of the 8th: Red Sox 3, Twins 0: Aceves allowed a single and then threw away a double play ball. But he retired the side from there. The Sox then wasted a two-out double by Nava when Pedroia flied to right.

Top of the 7th: Red Sox 3, Twins 0: After a scoreless inning by Uehara, the Red Sox scored twice.

Victorino singled and went to second on an error. Gomes was hit by a pitch and Bradley ran for him. After a double steal, Ross singled in both runners.

Off to the clubhouse.

Top of the 6th: Red Sox 1, Twins 0: Hanrahan threw a perfect inning. The Sox then loaded the bases with one out on singles by Gomes, Iglesias and Ellsbury (2 for 2 with a walk). But Nava fanned and Pedroia grounded out.

Top of the 5th: Red Sox 1, Twins 0: Buchholz is done after four innings. He allowed one hit, one walk and struck out six.

His line this spring: 22.2 IP, 12 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 6 BB, 22 K. Pretty impressive. More impressive has been the command of his pitches.

Top of the 4th: Red Sox 1, Twins 0: Buchholz has retired nine of the 10 batters he has faced. The Sox left runners on in the second and third. Ellsbury walked in the third. He looks over his minor ankle injury.

Top of the 2nd: Red Sox 1, Twins 0: Buchholz worked around a two-out walk. Ellsbury doubled and advanced on grounders by Nava and Pedroia to score the first run.

Pre-game: Good evening from JetBlue Park. The Red Sox host the Twins with Clay Buchholz on the mound.

The game is on NESN and WEEI. But we'll have occasional updates here.

Lineup change for the Twins. Morneau is out with mild back tightness and Parmelee will hit fourth and play first. Wilkin Ramirez will start in right field.

Juan Nieves: Daniel Bard can get back to what he was

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 28, 2013 06:21 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox named Daniel Bard as one of their starting pitchers last April 1. A year later, the ramifications of that mistake continue to be felt.

Bard was optioned to Double A Portland on Thursday. The Red Sox had little choice given his poor performance in spring training and continued control issues. Once one of the game's premier set-up men, Bard requested the opportunity to start after the 2011 season and the Red Sox agreed. Since that fateful decision was made, Bard has a 6.53 ERA and a 1.71 WHIP in games he has pitched in spring training, the majors and the minors.

At 27, it's fair to wonder whether his career is in jeopardy.

Pitching coach Juan Nieves still believes Bard can return to prominence as a reliever. But it's going to take time, which is why Bard was sent to Portland and not Triple A Pawtucket.

"Sometimes guys go to Triple A and they think if I get a couple of good starts, a good game, a couple of six, seven good innings in a row, then I'm good. I'm back. No, this a process," Nieves said. "A consistency is going to be very important. Not only from the performance itself but his consistency also with his delivery.

"It's not a demotion. We want him to understand that there is a process."

Nieves said Bard took the news well.

"He knows he's not where he wants to be. But he knows where we're going with it," Nieves said. "The direction is there. Now it's how much work he puts into it and how important it is every day. That's going to be the key."

According to Nieves, Bard is getting there.

"The velocity is back. I think there's more in the tank," he said. "I feel very pleased with the progress. I would have enjoyed the fact of having him in winter ball and starting the process earlier. You get another month and half, two months with him and we should see incredible results because he's on the right track. It's just not happening all at once."

Nieves said he wants to see Bard get more called strikes because he's locating the ball well. The Sox don't need to see precision, but they need to see him more in the strike zone than he has been. The Sox also want to see Bard pitch with confidence and attack hitters.

Nieves believes that all will happen.

"Oh, absolutely," he said. "There is a lot there. If he's healthy, I don't see any reason why he shouldn't come back and be the guy that we always have seen."

Stephen Drew placed on seven-day disabled list

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 28, 2013 05:12 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox today placed shortstop Stephen Drew on the seven-day concussion disabled list retroactive to March 27.

In theory, Drew would be eligible to return to the Sox on April 3, the second game of the season. But given that he has not played in a game since March 7, that is highly unlikely.

"We’re not there to make that an official return date by any means," manager John Farrell said.

Drew and Farrell have talked generally about how much playing time he will need to be ready. He will not go to New York with the team because he is close to being ready for extended spring training games, which start on Monday.

“To get to a hard number, he’s not in a position to offer up it’s X number of at-bats before he feels he’s game ready," Farrell said. "We’ve got to get to the first game first and proceed from there."

Drew, who was hit in the head by a pitch, still has come symptoms. But he has been taking batting and fielding practice on the field.

“As frustrated as he is by not seeing a trajectory right to being back to full speed, there’s that peaks and valleys along the way even though the valleys are getting shallower," Farrell said. "In general, there’s less symptoms but yet there are still symptoms."

In other injury updates:

• David Ortiz (right heel) worked out on the field and did some agility drills. "So he’s making progress in terms of just volume and adding activities rather than what last week had in store in terms of hitting off a tee and some light soft toss. Based on the revised plan he’s moving along as laid out," Farrell said.

• Lefty reliever Franklin Morales (lower back) will throw off a mound on Saturday.

• Lefty reliever Craig Breslow (shoulder) will throw off a mound on Monday. Like Morales, he must progress from bullpen sessions to live batting practice and then to games. Both are at least three weeks away.

Mauro Gomez, Daniel Bard optioned; no decision on Jackie Bradley

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 28, 2013 04:01 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox have optioned RHP Daniel Bard to Double A Portland and 1B/DH Mauro Gomez to Triple A Pawtucket.

But beyond that, it's status quo on the roster according to manager John Farrell.

The Sox have until midnight to inform Ryan Sweeney whether he will be on the roster. Sweeney can opt-out of his minor league deal if he is not. Outfielder Mitch Maier, who is out with a sprained left wrist, has an opt-out on Friday.

Farrell said the Sox were basically down to two spots on the roster they had to figure out.

Farrell didn't go into detail. But clearly Sweeney, Jackie Bradley Jr., Mike Carp, and Daniel Nava are the players contending for those spots.

"We’re working towards that 25-man roster," Farrell said.

Farrell was asked how they're weighing the needs of the team and what is best for Bradley at this stage of his development.

“Both of those are balanced. You always want to get the best feel you can for the makeup of the individual. Looking at all sides, so in the event of something that doesn’t turn out well or as he’s challenged, how does he respond to those? That’s a projection," he said.

"Until you get to that point, you don’t fully know. How strong mentally is he? If struggles occur at the major league level, what would his response be? Yet at the same time, you look at the spring training he’s had, the talent that he is and you try to put together the best team with the best players that you can. We’ve allowed him to go this deep into camp, so we’re not afraid and not unwilling to break with him. If that were the case, we would have sent him out four weeks ago. But all those things are considered.”

Is service time an issue?

“We can’t control tomorrow let alone six years from now," Farrell said.

Farrell said he and the coaches are more impressed with how Bradley has played, not so much his gaudy statistics.

"We look at the consistency of at-bats. You look at certain counts that he finds himself in and how is the approach to that. One at-bats that kind of stands out to be is the other day against [Pedro] Strop [of Baltimore]. He gets down two strikes and takes two split-finger fastballs that are major league quality pitches, gets back in the count and there’s a two-run single.

"When you look at the consistency of controlling the strike zone, getting himself into good hitters counts and what he does in those situations, that goes beyond the overall batting average."

Bard being sent down, which was expected because of his recent struggles, means Clayton Mortensen has made the team as a reliever.

Bard appeared in eight games in camp. Over eight innings he allowed six earned runs on nine hits with four walks and two hit batters. Putting 15 batters on base in eight innings was a sign that his control has not returned. Bard did strike out 10, however. That is a sign that he can be salvaged.

Grapefruit League Game 31: Twins at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 28, 2013 02:00 PM

Good afternoon. Here are lineups:

RED SOX (15-16-1)
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Daniel Nava DH
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Mike Napoli 1B
Will Middlebrooks 3B
Shane Victorino RF
Jonny Gomes LF
David Ross C
Jose Iglesias SS
Pitching: RHP Clay Buchholz followed by RHP Alfredo Aceves, RHP Joel Hanrahan, RHP Koji Uehara.

TWINS (16-14)
Aaron Hicks CF
Joe Mauer C
Josh Willingham LF
Justin Morneau 1B
Ryan Doumit DH
Trevor Plouffe 3B
Chris Parmelee RF
Eduardo Escobar 2B
Pedro Florimon SS
Pitching: RHP Kevin Correia.

Game time: 7:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN/WEEI.

Notes: Buchholz has had a tremendous spring. Over five starts and 18.2 innings, he has allowed two earned runs on 11 hits with five walks and 16 strikeouts. He'll probably go four innings tonight as a tune-up for his start against the Yankees on Wednesday. ...The Sox play the Twins tonight, Friday and Saturday before breaking camp.

UPDATE, 3:13 p.m.: Ryan Sweeney, who can opt out of his deal tonight if he is not on the roster, is still in camp. Nothing to report on the makeup of the roster at the moment.

A busy couple of days for the Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 28, 2013 11:04 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Pardon the lack of posts this morning. The Sox have a night game tonight and there was some packing and organizing to be done at the Globe condo after living here for nearly two months.

Here is what is coming up for the Sox:

• The Sox host the Twins tonight with Clay Buchholz on the mound. We also could get some clarity on the roster.

Ryan Sweeney's opt-out clause kicks in at midnight. Then the team has a day to tell him what its plans are. Worth noting: The Sox did not sign Sweeney until they learned Ryan Kalish needed shoulder surgery. Sweeney also has not hit well in camp (.217/.294/.239 in 51 plate appearances). But he does play exemplary defense at three outfield positions and that has value.

It would appear that Jackie Bradley Jr. and Daniel Nava will make the team. So it then becomes a question of picking Sweeney, Mike Carp or Mauro Gomez. Carp perhaps has more upside and can play two positions.

• The Sox have day games against the Twins on Friday and Saturday. The team leaves for New York on Saturday after the game.

• Thanks to a change in the collective bargaining agreement, teams cannot schedule workouts on the day before Opening Day. They can't even call it an optional workout. All they can do is tell players that they can work out if they want to.

The coaches will be at Yankee Stadium around noon. My guess is a bunch of players will be there, too.

That's it for now. Check back later for the lineups and notes.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 28, 2013 10:52 AM

Dan Shaughnessy writes that an improved Jon Lester gets the nod for Opening Day. (Subscription only).

The notebook has Jacoby Ellsbury sitting out with an injury.

Game report: Marlins 5, Red Sox 1

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 27, 2013 05:41 PM

SCORE: Marlins 5, Red Sox 1

RECORD: 15-16-1

BREAKDOWN: The Sox had a 1-0 lead through six innings. Daniel Bard allowed three in the seventh and lefthander Ryan-Rowland Smith two more in the ninth. Daniel Pertusati drove in four runs for Miami.

THUMBS UP: Jon Lester, Andrew Miller and Andrew Bailey held the Marlins to four hits over the first six innings and struck out six. … Jonny Gomes was 2 for 4 with a home run. … Will Middlebrooks walked twice. … Jose Iglesias (1 for 2) is hitting .283 this spring. He was picked off, however.

THUMBS DOWN: Bard may have punched his ticket to Pawtucket by allowing three runs on three hits and a walk in the seventh inning. He has given up six earned runs in his last three outings and that doesn’t include a rocky inning in a minor league game. His control is wavering again.

MEDICAL REPORT: The Sox will leave lefthanded relievers Craig Breslow (shoulder) and Franklin Morales (lower back) in extended spring training when the team breaks camp on Saturday. Both have been slow to return from their injuries and it’s uncertain when they will be ready for games.

AROUND THE BASES: Pedro Ciriaco, who had back spasms, played in his first game since March 14. Ciriaco will be on the Opening Day roster as a backup infielder. … The Sox were 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position and left 11 runners on base. … Forbes magazine valued the Red Sox at $1.31 billion, third in the majors behind the Yankees ($2.3 billion) and the Dodgers ($1.61 billion). … The Sox have three more games in spring training, all against the Twins.

NEXT GAME: The Sox host the Twins at 7:05 p.m Thursday. Clay Buchholz will start with Alfredo Aceves, Joel Hanrahan and Koji Uehara to follow. Minnesota will start righthander Kevin Correia. NESN and WEEI will have the game.

Final: Marlins 5, Red Sox 1

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 27, 2013 01:33 PM

Game over: Marlins 5, Red Sox 1: Jon Lester threw four strong innings and relievers Andrew Miller, Andrew Bailey and Junichi Tazawa all looked sharp. But a rocky seventh inning by Daniel Bard led to the loss.

Jackie Bradley Jr. was 1 for 4 with a walk.

Middle of the 9th: Marlins 5, Red Sox 1: Lefty Ryan Rowland-Smith, up from minor league camps, allowed two runs in the top of the inning.

Top of the 9th: Marlins 3, Red Sox 1: Tazawa threw a scoreless inning. The Sox left two runners on in the seventh and one in the eighth. They are 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position.

Middle of the 7th: Marlins 3, Red Sox 1: Tough inning for Daniel Bard. Single, single, groundout, Sac fly, Walk Two-run double.

Last 3 outings: 3 IP, 7 H, 7 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 3 K. Plus a rocky minor league inning, too.

Top of the 7th: Red Sox 1, Marlins 0: Andrew Bailey worked around a double by Hechavarria in the sixth inning. Middlebrooks and Salty walked with one out in the bottom of the inning. But Gomes struck out and Carp popped up.

Top of the 6th: Red Sox 1, Marlins 0: Andrew Miller worked a scoreless inning. In the bottom of the frame, Jose Iglesias singled and was picked off. Bradley walked. But Nava popped out and Pedroia struck out.

Andrew Bailey is on the mound now.

Top of the 5th: Red Sox 1, Marlins 0: Another perfect inning for Lester. He is done after 50 pitches (38 strikes). His line: 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K.

Lester's line for the spring is pretty impressive: 24 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 20 K. That's a 0.75 ERA and a 0.50 WHIP. He faces the Yankees and CC Sabathia on Monday at 1:05 p.m.

Top of the 4th: Red Sox 1, Marlins 0: Lester allowed a single by Coghlan but that was it. The Sox got a two-out single from Nava but Pedroia flied to center.

Top of the 3rd: Red Sox 1, Marlins 0: Lester retired the side in order. His ERA for the spring is 0.82.

Gomes homered to left in the bottom of the inning, A fan atop the wall caught it.

Top of the 2nd: Marlins 0, Red Sox 0: Lester worked around a one-out single by Hechavarria, which should have been an error on Napoli.

Bradley, of course, led off the bottom of the inning with a single. He's a ridiculous 25 of 55. Nava walked before Pedroia bounced into a 1-6-3 double play and Napoli flied deep to right.

Pre-game: Good afternoon from JetBlue Park, where the Red Sox will host the Miami Marlins.

Opening Day starter Jon Lester is set for four innings and/or 65 pitches in his final tune-up. The Sox also will have Jackie Bradley Jr. in center field. He could have to be Kelly Leak today with Mike Carp in left and Daniel Nava in right.

We'll have updates here, so hang out, enjoy some baseball from afar and leave some comments.

Farrell hopes to set Red Sox roster soon

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 27, 2013 11:40 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — No, the Red Sox have not made a decision about whether to keep Jackie Bradley Jr. yet. But it should be soon.

"Still working through it," John Farrell said. "Probably like to have some sense of who are 25 guys are going to be by the end of the day [Thursday]. We want to be fair to all that are going north that they get a couple of days to prepare themselves. We'll see how that goes."

As it stands now, the roster is almost set. These players have almost certainly made the team:

Rotation (5): Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Ryan Dempster, Felix Doubront, John Lackey.

Bullpen (7): Joel Hanrahan, Andrew Bailey, Andrew Miller, Koji Uehara, Junichi Taawa, Alfredo Aceves, Clayton Mortensen.

Catchers (2): Jarrod Saltalamacchia, David Ross.

Infielders (5): Mike Napoli, Dustin Pedroia, Jose Iglesias, Will Middlebrooks, Pedro Ciriaco.

Outfielders (3): Shane Victorino, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jonny Gomes.

That leaves three spots open with five players in the mix: Bradley, Daniel Nava, Mike Carp, Ryan Sweeney and probably Mauro Gomez. One of those players would have to provide coverage at first base. Carp, Nava and Gomez have experience at that position.

Carp, Nava and Gomez are on the 40-man roster. Adding Bradley or Sweeney would require a transaction.

The guess right now: Bradley, Nava and either Sweeney or Carp.

Ryan Lavarnway optioned to Pawtucket

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 27, 2013 11:24 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — General manager Ben Cherington made it clear before spring training that the Red Sox would use Jarrod Saltalamacchia and David Ross as their catchers and that Ryan Lavarnway would start the season with Triple A Pawtucket.

So it was no surprise that the 25-year-old was optioned this morning.

Lavanway could have been gotten in the mix to DH in place of David Ortiz. But he hit .136/.188/.159 in 48 spring training plate appearances.

An accomplished hitter in the minors, Lavarnway has hit .172/.230 /.286 over part of two seasons (209 plate appearances) in the majors.

"Right now he needs everyday at-bats," manager John Farrell said. "I will say, and as I mentioned to Ryan in our meeting this morning, my benchmark was last September with him and he's come back in at a weight that is more consistent with his in the past [and] overall strength. I thought he did a very good job with just the catching side of the game."

Farrell said Lavarnway's throwing is much improved, particularly his footwork and how quickly he transfers the ball. The Sox timed him at 1.9 second against the Phillies the other day when he threw out Ben Revere stealing second.

"More than acceptable at the big league level," said Farrell, who also noted that Lavarnway also has become better at reading swings, calling pitches and framing low pitches.

"From a catching standpoint he had, I thought, I good spring. And yet offensive we need to get him back to the player he's been year over year," Farrell said.

The Sox, Farrell said, would be comfortable bringing Lavarnway up if a need arises.

The Red Sox also reassigned righthanders Anthony Carter and Jose De La Torre to minor league camp. The Red Sox now have 35 players in major league camp. That includes Ryan Kalish, who is on the 60-day disabled list, and five other players who are injured.

Ellsbury, Victorino out of the lineup

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 27, 2013 10:53 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox are without starting outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury (right ankle) and Shane Victorino (right wrist) today.

Both are expected to return to the lineup on Thursday, manager John Farrell said.

Ellsbury and Victorino were injured during Sunday's game against the Phillies in Clearwater. Ellsbury rolled his ankle going back to first base when Cliff Lee threw over to the base. Victorino collided with the wall while making a catch.

The oft-injured Ellsbury said at the time that the injury was not serious and repeated on Monday that he expected to play on Wednesday.

"More precautionary than anything. Just going to give him another day to get over the jammed ankle," Farrell said. "We fully expect him to be back in the lineup [on Thursday]."

Victorino played on Monday against the Orioles. But after Tuesday's day off, he said his wrist was sore. He had an MRI that showed no structural damage.

"He felt some stiffness in that right wrist. Another day. He hit in the cage early this morning but just felt like where we are in spring, don't want to push it as much," Farrell said. "He should be back ready to go for the final three games here."

In other injury news:

• David Ortiz (right heel) has progressed to hitting on the field and doing some agility work. He also has been running in a straight line.

"David's making solid progress in terms of increasing the activity," Farrell said. "He's feeling pretty good right now."

• Stephen Drew (concussion) is doing everything except playing in a game. He is throwing, running, taking batting practice and fielding grounders. The Sox are hopeful he will play in a minor league game before camp breaks on Saturday.

"Certainly don't want to rule it out," Farrell said. "Based on how he felt this past Sunday, that seemed to be in line. But yet there were some reoccuring minor symptoms and we've got to let those clear up."

Farrell said that Drew sometimes has symptoms at night after working out during the day and it extends into the following day.

Drew and Ortiz will travel with the team to New York. Where they go from there will be determined.

Injured lefthanders Craig Breslow (shoulder) and Franklin Morales (lower back) will stay in extended spring training.

(This post was corrected at 1:10 p.m. after the Red Sox said that Farrell misspoke about which player had the MRI. It was Victorino, not Ellsbury).

It's official: Jon Lester will start on Opening Day against the Yankees

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 27, 2013 10:18 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Red Sox manager John Farrell made it official this morning, announcing that Jon Lester will start against the Yankees on Monday in New York.

"It is Jon Lester," Farrell said, confirming what has been obvious for weeks now.

Lester will face CC Sabathia at Yankee Stadium at 1:05 p.m.

"He was probably targeted all along [for Opening Day]. But at the same time didn't want that to be a focal point," Farrell said. "His work that was needed and the adjustments that he's continued to reinforce and repeat on the mound were the priorities. Felt like it was important to focus on the needs of spring training for every pitcher including Jon."

It will be the third consecutive Opening Day assignment for Lester, a 29-year-old lefthander. The last Red Sox pitcher to start three consecutive Opening Days was Pedro Martinez, who started seven in a row from 1998-2004.

Lester was 9-14 with a 4.82 earned run average last season in 33 starts. He has had a terrific spring training, allowing two earned runs over 20 innings.

"What Jon has done is gotten back to a delivery that is similar to his in the past," Farrell said. "I think he's executing the pitches with the consistency which we've seen before, which made him one of the top lefthanders in the game. He's had a very strong spring training."

Lester was 1-1 with a 3.90 ERA in five starts against the Yankees last season.

The Red Sox will follow Lester with Clay Buchholz, Ryan Dempster, Felix Doubront and John Lackey.

"I think we're encouraged by every pitcher in camp," Farrell said. "From a pitching standpoint this has been a very consistent spring training. There's been solid progression made individually and as a group."

Grapefruit League Game 30: Marlins at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 27, 2013 08:24 AM

Good morning. Here are the linueps:

RED SOX (15-15-1)
Bradley Jr CF
Nava RF
Pedroia 2B
Napoli 1B
Middlebrooks 3B
Saltalamacchia C
Gomes DH
Carp LF
Iglesias SS
Pitching: LHP Jon Lester followed by RHP Daniel Bard, LHP Andrew Miller, RHP Jose De La Torre, RHP Junichi Tazawa, RHP Andrew Bailey.

MARLINS (12-15-2)
Coghlan CF
Hechavarria SS
Ruggiano LF
Kearns DH
Valaika 3B
Kotchman 1B
Hill C
Valdez 2B
Hernandez RF
Pitching: RHP Kevin Slowey.

Game time: 1:35 p.m.

TV/Radio: None.

Notes: This is the final start for Lester before Opening Day on Monday. He has had a terrific spring training (20 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 16 K). ... Ellsbury, who jammed his right ankle on Sunday and left the game, is not in the lineup after saying on Monday that it was not a concern. ... Bradley is hitting .444/.523/.667 in 65 plate appearances this spring. It appears likely he will make the team. ... Slowey is the No. 5 starter for Florida.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 27, 2013 08:17 AM

John Lackey passed another test on Tuesday and is ready to join the Red Sox rotation. Nick Cafardo has the story.

Dan Shaughnessy writes from Fort Myers at Dunk City is where it's at. (Subscription only).

John Lackey passes another test

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff March 26, 2013 04:24 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — John Lackey doesn’t want to get too far ahead of himself. But after pitching in a minor league game on Tuesday, he is happy with how spring training has gone.

“I’ve got one more start to go, but it’s gone pretty good. Pretty happy about where my stuff is," the righthander said.

Lackey went 5.1 innings, allowed seven hits, three runs, four walks and seven strikeouts against Tampa Bay’s Triple-A team. He threw 101 pitches, 54 for strikes.

“I was throwing off-speed pitches for strikes, so I felt good about that. I tried to throw a lot of fastball’s the last couple of innings and tried to stretch it out a little bit. It’s gone pretty well,” Lackey said.

Even though Lackey doesn’t want to jinx himself, he has watched video of games involving the hitters who will play for the Toronto Blue Jays this season. That’s the team he will face on April 6 at Rogers Centre in his first start in more than a year after Tommy John surgery.

That will be a big moment for Lackey, who has gone through a grueling rehab from the surgery and has made a seamless transition to pitching post-surgery. He feels better than he has in years, but he doesn’t want to say it too loudly. But he now sees hope for a career that was very much in question after he signed a five-year, $82 million deal with the Red Sox two years ago.

“I felt good,” he said. “Got to the number of pitches I wanted to get up to. Got up six times. Got what I needed accomplished and keep moving forward. I was trying to get my work in honestly. Being on the back field on an off day, you know, motivation was a little bit of an issue I guess."

Lackey is expected to pitch in a minor league intrasquad game on Sunday after the team has left Fort Myers. He would then rejoin the Sox in New York.

Sea Dogs Welcome Back Dinner is April 3

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 26, 2013 02:58 PM

The annual Welcome Back Sea Dogs Dinner to benefit the Opportunity Alliance will be 5:30 p.m. April 3 at the Portland Expo.

The Welcome Back Dinner is a family-friendly event with music, balloons, a silent auction, and a ballpark-style meal. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet the 2013 Portland Sea Dogs players and coaches, get autographs and shake hands and have their pictures taken with Slugger, the Sea Dogs' mascot.

Tickets for the event are $20 for adults and $15 children (age 14 and under). Tickets can be purchased online at www.opportunityalliance.org or www.seadogs.com. For more information contact the Opportunity Alliance at 207-874-1175.

The Opportunity Alliance is comprised of 50 integrated community based and clinical programs serving more than 20,000 people annually.

The Sea Dogs begin their 20th season 6 p.m. April 4th against the Trenton Thunder (Yankees) at Hadlock Field. Tickets are available for all Sea Dogs home games. Call 207-879-9500 or order online at www.seadogs.com.

Lyle Overbay granted release

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff March 26, 2013 11:02 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. – The Red Sox have granted veteran first baseman Lyle Overbay his release from his minor league contract to pursue other opportunities, according to a major league source.

Overbay has been trying to win a spot on Boston's bench as a backup to Mike Napoli, but the team appears to be leaning toward a combination of Daniel Nava and Mike Carp for that role. Overbay seemed to be competing with Carp and Ryan Sweeney for a spot on the Red Sox bench.

Sweeney has an opt out on March 28, so a decision will have to be made on him as well.

UPDATE, 4:37 p.m.: Overbay has signed a minor league deal with the Yankees.

Decision due on Lyle Overbay

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 26, 2013 10:36 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox have no game today and the players are off. But two items to be aware of:

• There is a noon deadline to make a decision on Lyle Overbay. Under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement, any free agent with six years of service time who accepts a minor league contract must be told five days prior to Opening Day whether he will make the 25-man roster or not. That is today because MLB's Opening Day is Sunday.

If that player accepts an assignment to Triple A, he will receive a $100,000 retention bonus. The player can then opt out of the contact on June 1 if not yet in the majors.

Overbay has hit .220/.327/.341 over 49 plate appearances. The 36-year-old is coming off a down season with the Diamondbacks and Braves that saw him hit .259/.331/.397 over just 61 games.

• John Lackey is scheduled to pitch in a minor league game at 1 p.m. at Fenway South. As of Monday, Jarrod Saltalamacchia was planning to catch him. The Sox wanted to keep all their starters on turn despite the day off.

Lackey will pitch in another minor league game on Sunday after the team breaks camp.

Some random Red Sox off-day notes

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 26, 2013 09:15 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox have a day off today, although John Lackey will stay on turn and pitch in a minor league game at Fenway South.

Seems like a good time for some random thoughts:

• There has been way too much hand-wringing about Jackie Bradley Jr. and whether he should make the team. With David Ortiz out, the Sox have a need. Bradley, obviously, has played well enough to merit a spot on the roster. So why not keep him until Ortiz returns and then send him down for 20 days to stave off free agency for another year?

It's easy to say Bradley won't make a difference, no matter what he does. But the 2011 Orioles were 69-93. How did they do last year?

The Sox ask too much of their fans financially to not field the best team possible. Baseball is a business that competes for our entertainment dollar. There are times you need to look at it from that perspective.

• Lost a bit in the Bradley hype is the fact that Will Middlebrooks is having a terrific spring. He has hit safely in 10 of his last 11 games at 15 of 35 (.429) with nine extra-base hits.

Middlebrooks also is playing well defensively. He said the day he spent working with Mike Lowell made a major difference in reading angles and setting his feet correctly.

• Mike Napoli is probably twice as good at first base than you think he is. He has worked hard to refine his skills at the position to a point where the Sox have no intent on replacing him late in games for defensive purposes.

• The Red Sox are going to do a lot of defensive shifting, something that John Farrell successfully employed in Toronto last season. You'll see Middlebrooks at second base and Dustin Pedroia in shallow right field against certain hitters.

• In case you missed it, the Indians released Daisuke Matsuzaka. His stats weren't horrible (8 IP, 10 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K) in spring training, but scouts weren't impressed with his stuff.

• When Ryan Dempster was pitching in a minor league intrasquad game on Sunday, 20-year-old lefty Henry Owens was on an adjacent field doing what looked like magic tricks with his pitches.

Owens struck out 13 of the 15 batters he faced and was throwing 92-95 miles per hour. Check out what Alex Speier of WEEI wrote about Owens' performance.

Having stood there and watched some of what Owens was doing, everything Alex wrote is true even though it sounds unbelievable. Owens looked like a major league All-Star facing Little Leaguers.

• Even with David Ortiz, the Sox were going to have trouble scoring runs. Without him you could see some ugly games against the better righthanded pitchers. Unlike previous seasons, where power made the difference, the Sox will need to manufacture runs and run the bases well to support their pitchers.

• Try picking the AL East from top to bottom, it's not easy. You can make a good case for the Rays, Jays and Orioles to win and a pretty good case for the Sox, Yankees, Orioles or Rays to finish in last if you wanted to.

Here's the problem with the AL East: Every team is fairly dangerous and the teams in the division could beat each other up. Teams in the AL West can pile up victories against the Astros. What an advantage that is when it comes to the wild card.

• Lots of readers have asked what happens down the road if the Sox have to find places for Middlebrooks, Xander Bogaerts and Jose Iglesias to play.

For starters, that will not be a 2013 problem as Bogaerts is not ready. It may not even be a 2014 problem given that he is 20. Beyond that, there is no such thing as having too many good players.

Obviously shifting Iglesias off shortstop would be a capital crime. And while it's easy to say that Middlebrooks could play first and Bogaerts could play third, it would be a waste of a great arm to move Middlebrooks to first base.

Bogaerts has the athletic ability to play other positions. There are always trades, too. Best thing for now is to let it all play out. Performance has a way of settling these kind of questions.

• Feeling like Jarrod Saltalamacchia will have a big year.

• Not feeling like Felix Doubront will.

• The Red Sox have a terrific complex at Fenway South. But one fault, at least from the viewpoint of a reporter, is that there is little access to the manager and coaches.

At most parks, the manager's office and the locker room used by the coaches is accessible to the media and you can pop your head in to ask a question or have something explained. But the Red Sox have John Farrell and his coaches in an area where reporters are not allowed to tread, literally behind closed doors.

We see them on the field, but that is a time they're busy doing their jobs. And when you request an interview, it's usually standing off to the side in the clubhouse and there's no time for just an informal chat.

It's not a big deal and that will change during the season. But one of the fun parts of spring training is getting to know people before the pressure of the season weighs on them and learning something about them, about a player or about baseball. Hopefully it's something you can pass along to a reader.

Like I said, it's not a big deal. It's just too bad.

• That said, time with pitching coach Juan Nieves is always educational. He's getting rave reviews from the pitchers, too. After a couple of years where it felt like the Sox had a substitute teacher, Nieves is going to make his students better.

• The Red Sox have been careful not to make any predictions about when David Ortiz comes back. The guess here is May 6 against the Twins.

Two reasons: Ortiz has yet to play in any sort of game and is going to need 35-50 plate appearances to get his timing back given his long stretch away. Big Papi also is very cognizant of the idea that coming back too soon could lead to something worse.

He has spoken to a number of players who had similar injuries, Ryan Howard among them, and all counseled patience.

• That's it for now. Only four more games that don't count before the ones that do. Make sure you pick up the Globe on Sunday for our season preview section.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 26, 2013 08:24 AM

The Red Sox are trying to lure fans to the park by chopping concession prices. Amalie Benjamin has the story.

Nick Cafardo writes that the Red Sox have some decisions to make about their roster.

The notebook has Jackie Bradley Jr. doing it again.

Here is the game report.

Jackie Bradley Jr. does it again

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff March 25, 2013 05:04 PM

SARASOTA, Fla. – Another day, another Jackie Bradley legend is born.

This time Bradley came off the bench with a pinch-hit two-run single up the middle in the eighth inning against superb Orioles reliever Pedro Strop and then banged a triple in the ninth to right field against the wall against minor league lefty Chris Petrini.

A day after he homered against Cliff Lee, but also struck out twice against lefthanders, Bradley made up for it with the single and triple. Coming off the bench, no less.

“No it certainly didn’t (slow him down),” Farrell said. “Against a good pitcher in Strop and a lefty who had decent stuff. He takes a strike and is not afraid to hit deep into the count and gets a breaking ball in the middle of the plate (for the triple). Very consistent approach. And even more impressive was that after yesterday where some lefthanders tied him up a little bit, he came back against a lefthander with some quality stuff and put a good swing on the ball.”

Bradley said after the 12-9 loss to the Orioles, “I definitely wanted to take a pitch. I wanted to see if you could work out a walk. He looked like he was throwing strikes to the first two batters. But I still wanted to see a pitch, try to make him work a little bit.”

Bradley had to sit most of the game, but by the time he got in he was anxious to take part in the hit-fest that took place on a sunny, windy day at Ed Smith Stadium.

“Yeah, you never know when you’re going to be called upon so might as well be ready. They told me I was going in. Had to get my mind set right and the rest was history,” he said.

At this point it would be an upset if Bradley didn’t make the team.

“Looking forward to hearing,” Bradley said. “Yeah, you always want to know where you’re going to go just so you can make arrangements, if you got to get an apartment or something. But everything’s at the last minute. So not only are y'all waiting, I am too.”

How about a host family? There would be no shortage of offers.

“Yeah, why not. The living room couch. I’ll do it,” Bradley said.

Red Sox reassign Bogaerts, Diaz and Sutton

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 25, 2013 04:59 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox have reassigned infielders Xander Bogaerts, Jonathan Diaz, and Drew Sutton to minor league camp.

Bogaerts, 20, was 2 for 7 over six games. The shortstop was away for nearly a month playing for the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic. Bogaerts played only 23 games for Double A Portland last season, so he could return to the Eastern League to start the season.

Diaz hit .240 and Sutton .257. They are likely to have starting roles for Triple A Pawtucket.

The Red Sox now have 39 players in big league camp. That includes outfielder Ryan Kalish, who is on the 60-day disabled list and four players — Craig Breslow, Stephen Drew, Franklin Morales and David Ortiz — who are expected to open the season on the 15-day DL.

Non-roster outfielder Mitch Maier also is injured.

Doubront gets his money's worth in Single A game

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 25, 2013 03:27 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Red Sox lefthander Felix Doubront pitched for Single A Salem at Fenway South this afternoon against Frederick.

Check out this unusual line: 5.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 6 BB, 9 K, 1 HB, 1 WP. He threw 103 pitches, 56 for strikes.

Doubront struck out eight of the last 14 batters he faced after a rough first inning that saw him walk two batters and allow the two runs. His velocity was 94-95 at times and he threw his curveball for strikes.

The biggest thing was getting to 103 pitches and getting into the sixth inning. That sets him up for a shorter outing on Saturday to get him ready for the season.

Infielder Pedro Ciriaco, who has been out with back spasms, played in the same game and was 1 for 4 with a double. He spent five innings at shortstop. Ciriaco said afterward that he felt fine.

Final: Orioles 12, Red Sox 9

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff March 25, 2013 01:17 PM

Game over: Orioles 12, Red Sox 9: Jackie Bradley Jr. tripled in the ninth on a drive to right field after he'd knocked in two runs with a single.

Bottom 7th: Orioles 12, Red Sox 9 - JJ Hardy provided the seventh homer of the game, a three-run shot.

Top 7th: Orioles 9, Red Sox 9 - A Mike Carp RBI double and a Jackie Bradley two-run single tied it up for the Sox. Bradley's hit came as a pinch-hitter against Pedro Strop one of the top relievers in baseball.

Top 6th: Orioles 9, Red Sox 6 - Jonny Gomes drilled a two-run homer with Christian Vazquez aboard to deep leftcenter. Vazquez had doubled.

Bottom 4th: Orioles 9, Red Sox 4 - Boston pitching has been pounded. Not a good day for Clayton Mortensen who allowed back to back homers to Adam Jones and Matt Wieters. Jones' was a two-run homer, his second of the game.

Bottom 3rd: Orioles 6, Red Sox 4 - Adam Jones hit a solo homer to lead off the inning. An infield hit by Matt Wieters, a bunt single by Chris Davis led to a ground-rule double by JJ Hardy on a ball that Jonny Gomes completely misplayed in the wind and sun in left field, scoring a pair. Wilson Betemit then hit a sacrifice fly to score the thrid run.

Top 3rd: Red Sox 4, Orioles 3 - Three consecutive singles by Jonny Gomes, Mike Napoli and Will Middlebrooks produced the fourth run. Napoli was caught in a rundown between third and home on Ryan Sweeney's grounder after he went first to third on Lyle Overbay's fly ball out.

Bottom 2nd: Red Sox 3, Orioles 3 - Wilson Betemit blasted a three-run homer off Sox starter Graham Godfrey. Chris Davis singled and JJ Hardy doubled ahead of it.

Top 2nd: Red Sox 3, Orioles 0 - Christian Vazquez, the stellar defensive catcher, slammed a two-run homer to left field with Jose Iglesias aboard to give the Red Sox the three-run lead. The homer came off T.J. McFarland

Top 1st: Red Sox 1, Orioles 0 - with two outs, Mike Napoli doubled to rightfield and scored on Will Middlebrooks' single to left center off starter T.J. McFarland.

Ellsbury sore; Overbay decision soon

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff March 25, 2013 11:36 AM
SARASOTA, Fla. – Jacoby Ellsbury reported to the Fort Myers facility and reported he felt sore from the right ankle injury he suffered Sunday in the first inning vs. the Phillies.

"We're going to keep him off his feet and not have him take any BP today, so again Wednesday would be ideal that he gets back on the field," Farrell said.

The Red Sox still don't believe there's any major issue. Ellsbury hurt his ankle and heel when he tried to get back to first base after a Cliff Lee pickoff throw.

The Red Sox will have to make a decision on Lyle Overbay's opt-out, which is Tuesday, which means a decision could come as early as today.

Overbay is an experienced first baseman, but right now he's competing for what appears to be a 25th spot on the roster with Mike Carp and Ryan Sweeney, assuming Daniel Nava and Jackie Bradley have made the team.

While the New York Yankees just traded for Vernon Wells to fill an outfield spot, Overbay could also pose an interesting temporary option for them as a platoon with Juan Rivera at first base. The Yankees decision-makers are split on Overbay and how much he could help. While he can get hot and could benefit from the short porch in right, Overbay is more of a left-center gap type hitter. But he may be an upgrade defensively over Rivera.

In the news:

• Some of Boston's bigger hitters were supposed to stay back to play in minor league games, but the Red Sox ended having a representative team in Sarasota with Jonny Gomes, Shane Victorino, Will Middlebrooks, and Mike Napoli all making the trip.

"I gave them the option of staying behind in a minor league game, but they wanted to play in the major league game, we're getting to the point in camp where guys want to go everyday. Guys are talking about finding their daily rhythm," Farrell said.

• Status quo on Stephen Drew. More hitting in the cage for Big Papi, and Drew continues baseball activities, but no word on when he might play.


Red Sox pitching plans for the final week

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 25, 2013 10:51 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Here's how the Red Sox have their pitching lined up for the final week of spring training:

Tuesday (team is off): John Lackey in a minor league game.

Wednesday vs. Miami: Jon Lester, Daniel Bard, Andrew Miller, Junichi Tazawa, Andrew Bailey, Jose De La Torre.

Thursday vs. Minnesota: Clay Buchholz, Alfredo Aceves, Joel Hanrahan, Koji Uehara.

Friday at Minnesota: Ryan Dempster, Junichi Tazawa, Daniel Bard, Clayton Mortensen, Jose De La Torre.

Saturday vs. Minnesota: Felix Doubront, Joel Hanrahan, Koji Uehara, Andrew Miller, Andrew Bailey.

Sunday (team is off): John Lackey in a minor league intrasquad game.

Monday: Opening Day in New York: Lester will be the starter, although that hasn't been announced formally yet. Buchholz, Dempster, Doubront and Lackey will follow from there.

The bullpen will be Hanrahan, Bailey, Miller, Tazawa, Uehara, Aceves and Mortensen with Bard possibly getting in the mix. The Sox have no plans to keep an extra reliever.

Carter and De La Torre will be depth relievers in Pawtucket. Both have generally pitched well in camp.

Red Sox take a back seat to the FGCU Eagles

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 25, 2013 09:28 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Greetings from the hottest spot in college basketball.

Florida Gulf Coast University, the 15th-seeded Sweet 16 Cinderellas of the NCAA men's basketball tournament, is a mere eight miles from Jet Blue Park. Until this week, only a few of the Red Sox knew there was a team there.

They all do now, as does the rest of the country, after the Eagles beat Georgetown and San Diego State to advance. The players, coaches and most everybody else at the ballpark was talking about it this morning.

Gulf Coast Town Center, an outdoor shopping and dining spot that is close to the school, was hopping last night with people watching the game and cheering.

Did you know that FGCU coach Andy Enfield is a former Celtics assistant coach under Rick Pitino? He was in Boston from 1998-2000.

There is one undefeated team in NCAA tournament history and they're in the Fort. Who could have guessed?

The Eagles play Florida on Friday at 9:57 p.m. in Arlington, Texas, in the South Region semifinals.

Grapefruit League Game 29: Red Sox at Orioles

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 25, 2013 07:28 AM

Good morning. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (15-14-1)
Victorino CF
Gomes LF
Napoli DH
Middlebrooks 3B
Overlay 1B
Sweeney RF
Iglesias SS
Holt 2B
Vazquez C
Pitching: RHP Graham Godfrey followed by RHP Clayton Mortensen, RHP Jose De La Torre, RHP Anthony Carter.

ORIOLES (17-7-3)
Roberts 2B
McLouth LF
Jones CF
Wieters C
Davis 1B
Hardy SS
Betemit DH
Machado 3B
Flaherty RF
Pitching: LHP T.J. McFarland.

Game time: 1:05 p.m. at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota.

TV/Radio: ESPN.

Notes: Godfrey is coming up from minor league camp to make the start. The 28-year-old, who was obtained from Oakland in November, is 1-6 with a 5.09 earned run average in 10 major league appearances. ... Felix Doubront will pitch in a minor league game back in Fort Myers rather than face the Orioles, a division team. ... The Orioles have the best record in the Grapefruit League. ... McFarland, 23, was a Triple A starter for Baltimore last season. He has appeared in seven spring training games, all in relief. ... The Red Sox are off on Tuesday and then play four more games, all in Fort Myers. Three are at home and one is against the Twins four miles away. ... There are three Class A games starting at 1 p.m. at Fort Myers. Dounbront, Joel Hanrahan (one inning) and Pedro Ciriaco will be in those. The Red Sox were going to have other big league position players in the minor league games and decided to bring them to Sarasota instead.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 25, 2013 07:13 AM

Nick Cafardo writes that Jackie Bradley Jr. has done everything needed to make the team.

The notebook has Jacoby Elllsbury leaving the game with an ankle injury.

Here's the game report.

Ellsbury injures right ankle; leaves game

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff March 24, 2013 01:43 PM

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Jacoby Ellsbury left the game in the second inning, after jamming his right heel trying to get back to first base on a pickoff throw in the first inning.

The Red Sox announced that Ellsbury left the game for precautionary reasons. He will be re-examined tomorrow.

Shane Victorino moved from right to center and Bryce Brentz went in to play right.

Ellsbury had reached on catcher's interference before attempting his first stolen base after that and was thrown out by Humberto Quintero.

We’ll have more when we receive some information.

UPDATE: “I was trying to get in and beat the tag, and jammed my foot and rolled my ankle,” Ellsbury said. “It was one of those things where you’re not far enough to dive back headfirst, but far enough to go feetfirst. I stepped on the base and rolled the ankle.”

Ellsbury attempted his first stolen base of the spring right afterward, because “I was testing it out on a 3-2 count, hoping [Dustin Pedroia] would swing, but it’ll be good.”

Ellsbury said when he ran out to center field for the bottom of the inning, he could feel the ankle getting tighter. “I’m sure we’ll look at it tomorrow, but I feel good about it.”

Ellsbury was hit for the next time through the order.

“We took him out for precautionary reasons,” said Farrell. “We’ll examine him in the morning. Hope this is nothing more. Once we get past the offday [Tuesday] we’re cautiously optimistic he gets back.”

Final: Red Sox 7, Phillies 6

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff March 24, 2013 01:06 PM

Game over: Red Sox 7, Phillies 6: Marco Duarte shuts down the Phillies to earn the save.

Top 9th, Red Sox 7, Phillies 6: Xander Boegarts and Bryce Brentz singled and Shannon Wilkerson drove in the run with a single.

Bottom 8th: Red Sox 6, Phillies 6 - Jimmy Rollins walked and Chase Utley homered. Ryan Howard homered - all the runs came off Ryan Rowland-Smith

Top 6th: Red Sox 6, Phillies 3- Jonathan Papelbon retired the side and induced a double-play grounder to Bryce Brentz. Papelbon didn't seem happy about getting so little work.

Bottom 5th: Red Sox 6, Phillies 3 - Big gusts of wind and rain is off and on here today. Daniel Bard came on to pitch and likely deserved a better fate. Dustin Pedroia hurried a throw to first base on Ben Revere's grounder and wound up on second base. After a passed ball by Ryan Lavarnway, Chase Utley singled to drive in the run.

Top 5th: Red Sox 6, Phillies 2 - The Red Sox had two on with one out after Mike Napoli singled and Will Middlebrooks doubled to leftcenter. But Lee struck out Gomes and Bradley to get out of the inning.

Bottom 4th: Red Sox 6, Phillies 2 - Shocking development: Jackie Bradley has committed an error. Bradley, playing left field dropped a pop up that Will Middlebrooks called for in short left field. It's really windy here so not sure it can be held against him.

Bottom 3rd: Red Sox 6, Phillies 2 - Workman struggled as he allowed an RBI single to Ben revere and one to Chase Utley.

Top 3rd: Red Sox 6, Phillies 0 - The Sox keep pouring it on Cliff Lee. Three straight singles by Shane Victorino, Dustin Pedroia and Mike Napoli loaded the bases and Will Middlebrook's reached on an error by Jimmy Rollins allowing two runs to score. Jackie Bradley drove in his fourth run with a sharp line drive sacrifice fly to center.

Developing: Jacoby Ellsbury left the game in the second inning, injuring something (leg, groin?) trying to get back to first base on a pickoff throw. Shane Victorino moved from right to center and Bryce Brentz went in to play right. Ellsbury attempted his first stolen base after that and was thrown out.

Top 2nd: Red Sox 3, Phillies 0 - It may have been wind-blown, but Jackie Bradley hit a three-run homer vs. Cliff Lee and may have sealed his fate on making the team. Will Middlebrooks singled to right and Jonny Gomes was hit with a pitch leading up to it.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 0, Phillies 0 - Righty Brandon Workman, starting for the Red Sox, walked leadoff man Ben Revere but was caught stealing on a nice throw to second by catcher Ryan Lavarnway. Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley (strikeout) went down in order.

Top 1st: Red Sox 0, Phillies 0 - Jacoby Ellsbury attempted his first official stolen base of the season and he was thrown out by catcher Humberto Quintero. Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia (strikeout) went down against Cliff Lee.

Ryan Dempster throws 96 pitches in intrasquad game

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 24, 2013 12:10 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — That Ryan Dempster managed to stay on top of the mound and keep pitching was an achievement.

The No. 3 starter of the Red Sox threw 96 pitches over what amounted to five innings in an intrasquad game on Sunday. It was so windy at Fenway South that the batter's eye on Field 6 ripped apart and all of the pitchers had trouble keeping the ball in the strike zone.

Dempster allowed six runs on nine hits with five walks and a hit batter. He struck out six and allowed home runs by Keury De La Cruz and Ryan Sweeney.

Of the nine hits, at least five were aided by the wind.

Dempster will have one more start in spring training before the start of the season. He is lined up to face the Yankees on April 4.

Here's how the other major leaguers did in the intrasquad games:

RHP Koji Uehara: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HBP. 17 pitches, 11 strikes.

LHP Andrew Miller: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HBP. 18 pitches, 10 strikes.

LF Mike Carp: 0 for 4, BB, K

INF Pedro Ciriaco: 0 for 5. Also played five innings at shortstop.

RF Daniel Nava: 1 for 2, HBP, BB, K

1B Lyle Overbay: 1 for 3, BB, 2 K

CF Ryan Sweeney: 2 for 4, HR, 2B.

Also: Shortstop Stephen Drew took grounders on the stadium field and batting practice as he continues to come back from a concussion. ... Jeremy Hazelbaker made an unbelievable catch to the the fifth inning of the game Dempster pitched in. He raced into the gap in left center and caught a ball over his shoulder before running into the fence. ... Felix Doubront, Joel Hanrahan, Miller, and Andrew Bailey are all scheduled to pitch in minor league games at Fenway South on Monday. Many of the position players are expected to play, too. Those games start at 1 p.m.

As Bradley audition continues, Farrell confirms Ellsbury, Drew roles

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff March 24, 2013 11:38 AM
CLEARWATER, Fla. – Two things we learned from John Farrell in this morning’s news briefing: even if Jackie Bradley were to make the 25-man roster, Jacoby Ellsbury remains the leadoff hitter, and even if Stephen Drew starts on the disabled list, the starting shortstop job is his when he’s ready.

Bradley is in left field and batting seventh against lefty Cliff Lee in today's game vs. the Phillies. The Red Sox basically have three center fielders in the lineup with Ellsbury in center and Shane Victorino in right.

The Red Sox have tried to test Bradley in the toughest situations. Facing Lee is one of them.

“This is the best environment to put him in away from our ballpark against a good pitcher. This will be a good situation for him. It’s more of a test than just the environment. But it’s the best environment we can put him in with a few days left in camp and the fact we’re going against a good lefthanded pitcher. Part of what we want to look at it is him in left field, but in a setting in spring training this presents,” Farrell explained.

Asked how he's handled the situations, Farrell said, "He hasn’t been in a prolonged slump. He’s taken a similar approach whether it’s against a lefthander or righthander. He’s hit lefthanders well. He handled Mike Dunn with the Marlins and put some good swings on pitches,” Farrell said.

Defensively?

“He’s gonna play any one of three positions well,” Farrell said.

Farrell admitted that run prevention is being factored in the decision of whether to keep Bradley.

"This outfield has a lot of range and covers a lot of ground,” Farrell said.

Farrell likened Bradley’s situation to that of Grady Sizemore in Cleveland back when Farrell was the player development director. He said he knew Sizemore was ready to be a big leaguer. When asked the same question of whether Bradley was ready to be a big leaguer he said, “Could be. He plays the game pretty damned well.”

Farrell said Sizemore was actually optioned out, but Juan Gonzalez got injured and Sizemore was recalled.

“My perspective was he was ready, but an injury opened up a spot for him,” Farrell said.

Farrell said Drew may be getting closer to taking the field, and while he still has an occasional concussion symptom, it has diminished.

“It would be ideal to get him into a game or two before camp breaks,” Farrell said. “We’ll see the way the next two days go.”

Farrell said no matter what happens, Ellsbury's spot in the lineup is determined.

“Yes, he’s our leadoff hitter,” Farrell said.

Farrell also indicated the top six batters in today's lineup could be the way it goes once the season starts, certainly against lefthanded starters.

Farrell said Drew will get his job as starting shortstop back when he's ready.

“He was signed for that reason (to be the starter),” Farrell said. “A temporary injury situation is not going to alter our course on that. That’s not to take anything away from Jose (Iglesias). He’s had a very good spring. There’s a different air about him in the box.”

Other notes:
• Jarrod Saltalamacchia was originally scheduled to play, but he had an incision to remove a mole on his back open up. As a precaution to help prevent infection, the Sox held him out and the medical staff thought it would be a couple of days to allow the opening to close up.

• David Ortiz continued to hit. The tentative plan is to keep him in Fort Myers to allow him to work at his own pace and start a running program. Ortiz has the ability to veto that and join the team.

Grapefruit League Game 28: Red Sox at Phillies

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 24, 2013 07:35 AM

Good morning. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (14-14-1)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Napoli 1B
Middlebrooks 3B
Gomes DH
Bradley Jr. LF
Lavarnway C
Iglesias SS
Pitching: RHP Brandon Workman followed by RHP Daniel Bard.

PHILLIES (13-13-1)
Revere CF
Rollins SS
Utley 2B
Howard 1B
Young 3B
Brown RF
Nix LF
Quintero C
Pitching: LHP Cliff Lee followed by LHP Jeremy Horst, RHP Michael Stutes, RHP Jonathan Papelbon.

Game time: 1:05 p.m. at Bright House Field in Clearwater.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI.

Notes: With Ryan Dempster staying in Fort Myers to pitch in a minor league game, the Sox will bring Workman up from minor league camp to start the game. The 24-year-old was 10-8 with a 3.50 ERA in 25 start for High Single A Salem and Double A Portland last season. Only five of those starts came for Portland and Workman is likely to start this season back in the Eastern League. The University of Texas product was a second-round draft choice in 2010. ... The Sox beat the Phillies 6-1 on Thursday at home. ... The game will be a homecoming of sorts for Victorino, who played for the Phillies from 2005 until he was traded to the Dodgers last July 31. ... This is the first start of the spring for Bradley in left field and perhaps a harbinger of things to come.

Minor league mania on Monday

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 23, 2013 06:50 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — If you are in the Fort Myers area on Monday, plenty of notable Red Sox players will be in the minor league games that start at 1 p.m.

Felix Doubront will be pitching one of the games. And most of the regular position players will get some at-bats.

The Sox have three Single A games on the back fields at Jet Blue Park as Salem, Greenville and Lowell will host teams from the Baltimore organization.

There's no charge. Just park in the back (off to the left of the main stadium) and walk over. Be advised, there are no concessions. And don't expect to get autographs, either. But you can get a good up close look at some prominent players.

• Meanwhile, not sure whether anybody will find this interesting. But here are the brands of cleats that prominent Red Sox players will be wearing this season:

New Balance (1): Dustin Pedroia.

Reebok (1): David Ortiz.

Under Armour (3): Jackie Bradley Jr., Jonny Gomes, Joel Hanrahan.

Mizuno (3): Jose Iglesias, David Ross, Junichi Tazawa.

Nike (21): Alfredo Aceves, Andrew Bailey, Daniel Bard, Craig Breslow, Clay Buchholz, Ryan Dempster, Stephen Drew, Felix Doubront, Jacoby Ellsbury, John Lackey, Ryan Lavarnway, Jon Lester, Will Middlebrooks, Andrew Miller, Franklin Morales, Clayton Mortensen, Mike Napoli, Daniel Nava, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Koji Uehara, Shane Victorino.

At some point later this season, we'll check out gloves and bats.

For Buchholz, a spring of great optimism

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 23, 2013 05:54 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — First, a qualifier.

Clay Buchholz had a terrible spring training in 2010. He had a 6.75 earned run average over 17.1 innings and Terry Francona had to answer a few questions about whether the righthander deserved a place in the rotation.

But Buchholz was terrific once the season started, going 17-7 with a 2.33 ERA and making the All-Star team.

So Red Sox fans shouldn't get too carried away with how well Buchholz has pitched this spring.

But he sure has looked good.

Buchholz allowed one run over 5.1 innings against the Pirates today, twice leaving runners stranded in scoring position. His numbers in spring training are eye-popping: 18.2 IP, 11 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 5 BB 16 K.

An 0.96 ERA and an 0.86 WHIP would have any pitcher smiling, even if the games don't count.

"It feels good to feel good, really," Buchholz said. "All the pitches are coming along. ... Things are rolling along right now."

Buchholz, 28, has been around enough not to get too excited. All these Grapefruit League games have done is give him some confidence.

"It's definitely a little different from the last couple of springs," he said. "It's good to see the work going into it is paying off a little bit."

Buchholz is lined up to start April 3 against the Yankees in New York and then on April 8 against the Orioles in the home opener at Fenway Park.

With all of the changes the Red Sox are going through, it's hard to predict they will contend this season. But that can change if Buchholz and Jon Lester pitch to their considerable abilities.

"People are overlooking Ryan (Dempster) and John (Lackey) and putting it all on Les and me," Buchholz said. "But it's going to take more than me and Les going out there and having good seasons."

Buchholz said his off-speed pitches "feel crisp" but his change-up is not quite polished up. He will get one more start in spring training, on Thursday, to finish up his preparations.

"That'll be my final piece of the puzzle," he said.

Buchholz estimated that it took him a month and a half to feel comfortable last season. That was reflected in his performance. Buchholz had a 7.84 ERA over his first nine starts and opponents were hitting .330 against him with an OPS of .954.

In the 20 starts that followed, Buchholz was 7-6 with a 3.41 ERA. Opponents hit .236 with a .671 OPS. That trend continued in spring training.

As it stands now, Buchholz will face the Yankees, Orioles and Rays in his first three starts. So we'll know how real this all is soon enough.

Game report: Pirates 5, Red Sox 3

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 23, 2013 05:51 PM

SCORE: Pirates 5, Red Sox 3

RECORD: Red Sox 14-14-1

BREAKDOWN: The Sox scored three runs off Pirates starter Jeff Locke, a North Conway, N.H., native, and took a 3-1 lead into the eighth inning. Junichi Tazawa, who had already pitched 1 2/3 innings, got an out before walking two. Anthony Carter came in and allowed two hits, one a two-run homer by Pedro Alvarez that gave the Pirates the lead.

THUMBS UP: Clay Buchholz went 5 1/3 innings, allowing one run on four hits with one walk and five strikeouts. He has given up two earned runs over 18 2/3 innings this spring and struck out 16. “It feels good to feel good,” he said. Said John Farrell: “Again, another very solid outing for Clay.”

THUMBS DOWN: Shane Victorino was 0 for 4 and didn’t get the ball out of the infield. Counting all games — Grapefruit League, WBC and Team USA exhibitions — he is 7 of 45 (.155) this spring.

MEDICAL REPORT: Shortstop Stephen Drew (concussion) played catch, fielded some grounders and took batting practice on the field before the game. He has taken strides in the last few days but no day has been picked for a game. … Infielder Pedro Ciriaco, out since March 15 with back spasms, worked out and will play in a minor league game on Sunday. … Lefthanders Franklin Morales (back) and Craig Breslow (shoulder) are throwing but not close to getting back on the mound.

AROUND THE BASES: Saltalamacchia, a switch hitter with much better statistics from the left side, is 5 of 15 batting from the right side this spring with three doubles. … Former Sox reliever Mark Melancon struck out Mike Napoli and Will Middlebrooks in a scoreless fifth inning. He has allowed one run over nine innings this spring. … The Pirates bullpen dominated the Red Sox for 5 innings: 0 hits, 0 runs, 0 walks, 9 strikeouts.

NEXT GAME: Sunday at 1:05 p.m. against the Phillies in Clearwater. The Red Sox will pitch righthander Brandon Workman, a 24-year-old who was their second round pick in the 2010 draft. The Phillies are scheduled to start Cliff Lee with Jonathan Papelbon among those in relief. The game will be on NESN and WEEI.

Final: Pirates 5, Red Sox 3

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 23, 2013 01:30 PM

Game over: Pirates 5, Red Sox 3: Sox got two runners on in the ninth before young prospect Blake Swihart bunted into a double play.

Top of the 9th: Pirates 5, Red Sox 3: Pittsburgh scored four runs in the eighth as Anthony Carter was hit hard.
The Sox, meanwhile, have done exactly nothing against the Pittsburgh bullpen.

Top of the 8th: Red Sox 3, Pirates 1: The Pirates have now retired 14 in a row. Tazawa is on for another inning.
Off to the clubhouse.

Top of the 7th: Red Sox 3, Pirates 1: Buchholz went 5.1 innings. His line: 4 hits, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 88 pitches, 56 strikes. Tazawa replaced him with a runner on and induced a double play.

Buchholz in 5 starts this spring: 18.2 IP, 11 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 5 BB, 16 K. That's an 0.96 ERA.
Meanwhile Pittsburgh pitching has retired 11 Sox in a row.

Top of the 6th: Red Sox 3, Pirates 1: Buchholz has retired six straight and nine of 10. Former Red Sox RHP MarkMelancon retired the side in order in the bottom of the sixth, fanning Napoli and Middlebrooks. He has allowed one earned run in nine innings this spring with seven strikeouts. The guess here is that Melancon will thrive in a low-key settling like Pittsburgh.

Top of the 5th: Red Sox 3, Pirates 1: Alvarez singled but Buchholz left him there. The Sox then went in order.

Top of the 4th: Red Sox 3, Pirates 1: Buchholz worked around a double by Locke, the pitcher. Then Locke allowed a run as Middlebrooks tripled with one out (the ball hit the top edge of the scoreboard at Faux Fenway and bounced straight up). Salty (2 for 2) followed with a single.

Top of the 3rd: Red Sox 2, Pirates 1: Jones hit a long home run to center field off Buchholz. But the Sox scored twice off Locke.

Salty continued his good spring with a double. Ross singled to right with one out and the ball got past Snider for a two-base error. Ross was charitably given an RBI.
Iglesias followed with an RBI single. Ellsbury also singled but Victorino popped up to first and Pedroia grounded into a force at second.

Top of the 2nd: Pirates 0, Red Sox 0: As Joe Castiglione would say, it was a squander for both teams.
Marte led off with a double for the Pirates and took third when Presley flied deep to center. But Walker popped to third and Alvarez flied to left.

Ellsbury doubled to start the bottom of the inning for the Sox. Victorino and Pedroia grounded out before Napoli walked on four pitches. Middlebrooks was up 3-and-0 before flying deep to center.

Pre-game: It's a sunny and warm day in the Fort. Clay Buchholz is facing what looks to be the regular Pirates lineup. The game is on NESN and WEEI but we'll have updates here, too.

Feel free to leave comments.

Red Sox planning on a rotating DH

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 23, 2013 10:16 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Here are a few notes from Fenway South:

• Don't expect the Red Sox to use one player as the designated hitter until David Ortiz comes back.

“We feel like this will be a rotating thing rather than one person being the regular DH. It serves a couple of benefits. You’re looking for matchups; you’re looking for a day off their feet," John Farrell said.

“I know it’s early in the season, we’ve got off days. The physical side of it might be less of importance. But there will be a number of things factored in when we slot in the DH on a given day.”

• As for Big Papi, he has not progressed to batting practice the field but was expected to take some swings in the cage. Farrell said he hoped to see Ortiz on the field “in some capacity” before the team breaks camp next Saturday. That could be running the bases or taking batting practice.

• Stephen Drew (concussion) took BP on the field and seem to have a normal round. He seems to be advancing quickly the last few days after being down for two weeks.

• Lefthanders Franklin Morales (back) and Craig Breslow (shoulder) are throwing but not close to getting back on the mound. They will stay in extended spring training when the team leaves.

• Infielder Pedro Ciriaco (back spasms) went through a workout today. The Sox are hoping to get him in a game on Sunday, either in the major league game in Clearwater or a minor league game.

• Farrell on Daniel Bard: “There’s still some continuing work to be done there. Still part of the process to get him back to the reliever that we’ve known him to be. Daniel is well aware of this, this isn’t a flipping of the switch. This is a step process that he’s making solid progress in.”

Farrell wants to see more consistency from Bard. That means repeating his delivery, being consistent between outings and doing a better job with the first batter.

• The Red Sox will play their starters against the Pirates and will bring the same players to Clearwater for Sunday’s game against the Phillies. The starters will get some at-bats in a minor league game on Monday ahead of Tuesday’s day off.

• Ryan Dempster and Koji Uehara will pitch in a minor league intrasquad game on Sunday.

• The Red Sox will bring righthander Graham Godfrey up from minor league camp to start against the Orioles on Monday. The 28-year-old, who was obtained from Oakland in November, is 1-6 with a 5.09 earned run average in 10 major league appearances.

Grapefruit League Game 28: Pirates at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 23, 2013 07:50 AM

Good morning. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (14-13-1)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Napoli 1B
Middlebrooks 3B
Saltalamacchia DH
Gomes LF
Ross C
Iglesias SS
Pitching: RHP Clay Buchholz, RHP Junichi Tazawa, RHP Daniel Bard, RHP Anthony Carter.

PIRATES (11-14-1)
Marte CF
Presley LF
Walker 2B
Alvarez 3B
Jones 1B
Martin C
Snider RF
Barmes SS
Pitching: LHP Jeff Locke.

Game time: 1:35 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI.

Notes: Buchholz has been excellent in four starts this spring: 13.1 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 11 K. The plan today would be for him to get around 90-100 pitches. Then he would back off a little in his last start of the spring before facing the Yankees on April 3 in New York. ... Locke, a New Hampshire native, is facing the Red Sox for the third time this spring (also March 1 and March 6). ... After today, the Red Sox will have six games left before starting the season. They are using their regulars today and again on Sunday against the Phillies in Clearwater.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 23, 2013 07:17 AM

From Dunedin, Fla., Nick Cafardo writes that the Sox are making a move with Jackie Bradley Jr. and it may be to left field.

In Fort Myers, Stephen Drew is getting over a concussion and Jon Lester threw 100 pitches in a minor league game.

Lester solid in Triple-A game; Bard has issues

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 22, 2013 04:22 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Jon Lester went 5.1 innings against Minnesota's Triple A team at the Red Sox complex on Friday. The lefthander allowed two runs on four hits with one walk and seven strikeouts.

There were no more than 50 fans watching as Lester threw 100 pitches, 59 for strikes. Pitching coach Juan Nieves skipped the trip to Dunedin to monitor Lester. Teammate John Lackey also watched from the side.

The point of the day was to get to 95-100 pitches. But Lester also took the opportunity to work on some things. He told catcher Dan Butler to call some change-ups when he got behind in the count.

Lester stayed with his spring training theme of working with a quicker tempo.

Lester retired 11 of the first 13 batters he faced. One reached on an error and the other on a single. He had some issues in the fifth inning when the Twins strung together two singles, a walk and a two-run double. Lester struck out the next batter then Nieves decided the inning was over after 22 pitches.

(Yes, in spring training minor league games the rules are loosely enforced. The Twins actually had 10 players in the lineup.)

Lester will pitch again Wednesday, this time against the Marlins. That will probably be a shorter outing — four innings or so — to prepare him for Opening Day against the Yankees on April 1.

"Absolutely," Lester said when asked if he had anything left to accomplish in spring training. "Just the same stuff over and over, keep pounding it home. Like today, pitching in the stretch, got back to making adjustments. It's always a work in progress."

Lester is pleased with how he's throwing his curveball, a pitch that sometimes has been hard for him to get control of in spring training.

"It depends on where you're at mechanically. For me a curveball is so mechanical that it sometimes it takes me a little bit longer and sometimes like this year I feel good where I'm at," he said. "There's been years I haven't thrown any in spring training."

Two other items worth mentioning:

Even though Lester has worked with Jarrod Saltalamacchia only once this spring, he said he has no problems working with the catcher. Salty did catch him 19 times last season.

Lester also said he's not particularly concerned with his diminishing strikeout rate. It has dropped from 2009, going from 10.0 per nine innings to 7.3 last season.

"A strike out for me is one of those stats that makes it look cool," Lester said. "It's fun to strike out guys. But it's also a lot of pitches."

Told that many analysts consider strikeout rate a good indicator of pitching talent, Lester smiled a bit.

"Why is that? I don't get that," he said. "Just cause you strike a bunch of guys out doesn't mean you're a good pitcher. You know what I mean? I think you can have good seasons without a lot of strikeouts. In '08 I didn't strike a lot of guys out. But I had a good season, won some games. Was able to get some contact and still threw 200 innings."

Lester averaged a modest 6.5 strikeouts in 2008 and went 16-6, 3.21. So he has a point. That said, a lefty with his kind of stuff should pile up the K's. Here's betting his rate jumps this season. Nieves has been a good influence on him.

Meanwhile the silly cat-and-mouse game about whether Lester will start on Opening Day continued. He is obviously their choice but no announcement has been made and Lester claims John Farrell hasn't told him anything.

"You guys know anything?" he asked reporters. "I don't know. I know we're in New York. I have not been told anything. I'm looking to Wednesday and then go from there. I'm sure you guys will probably find out before I do on what's going on."

Bet that's not the case. Call it a hunch.

Meanwhile Farrell has yet to announce a starter.

"I think he's just messing with y'all," Lester said. "I just think he doesn't want to tell anybody. We're still waiting to figure everything out."

Also:

• Daniel Bard couldn't get through an inning in the Double A game. He allowed a broken-bat single before walking two batters. After Nieves visited the mound, Bard struck the next two batters out. He hit the next batter and was taken out of the game after 27 pitches, 14 of them strikes.

Bard has had two rough outings in a row. The righthander seems likely to start the season with Triple A Pawtucket.

"I feel I'm in such a better place," Bard said, comparing this spring to his torturous 2012 season. "I feel I'm in control."

Bard feels like his mechanics have improved and with that his velocity. But today was a stark reminder that he's still not back to the pitcher he once was.

• RHP Clayton Mortensen threw an uneventful inning in the AA game. He needed just 12 pitches for three outs.

• One of the batters against Lester was Milford’s Chris Colabello, the pride of Milford. He has had quite a journey to this point.

Colabello struck out looking and singled against Lester.

A change of heart: Bradley in left

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff March 22, 2013 04:19 PM

DUNEDIN, Fla. – John Farrell did his best Bill Parcells imitation and said he “reserved the right to change our minds” and decided it was probably a smart thing to play Jackie Bradley in left field considering he’s probably the best player in Red Sox camp right now.

Farrell had said he couldn't envision playing Bradley in left which seemed to indicate the organization was leaning toward sending the 23-year-old center fielder back to the minors.

Bradley moved from center to left in the seventh inning of today’s 1-0 loss against the Blue Jays. He made an excellent relay throw, hitting the cutoff man perfectly and also fielded two tough fly outs, one against the left field railing in foul territory and another deep to left near the wall.

“We’ve had some discussions - we want to take a look at him in left field. The first hitter he’s in left field with he gets challenged pretty good and makes a heck of a play. The relay throw hits the cutoff man. Goes against the wall to catch another fly ball out. He’s a very good defensive outfielder regardless of the position,” Farrell said.

When asked about the change of heart he said, “We reserve the right to change our minds and our plans. That’s where he was at today,” Farrell said.

Should we read anything into it?

“I wouldn’t read anything into it other than getting him some exposure in left field in the event that certain things fall a given way we want to be sure to cover all of our bases,” Farrell said.

It was the first time Bradley had ever played left field as a professional. He said he played left in high school as a freshman.

“Well it felt different,” Bradley said, “That’s for sure. I hadn’t played there in a while. But overall I felt good.”

Asked whether Bradley would see more action or start in left, Farrell said, “Yet to be seen, because what’s going to happen tomorrow and Sunday is our regulars are going to go back to back at home and then up in Clearwater.

"Monday at Sarasota might present a different opportunity for him to get back into left field. But we’ll take this final week and get some additional exposure there.”

Final: Blue Jays 1, Red Sox 0

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff March 22, 2013 01:11 PM

Game over: Blue Jays 1, Red Sox 0: The Red Sox went down 1-2-3 in the ninth as the game ended quickly.

Bottom 8th: Blue Jays 1, Red Sox 0: The Blue Jays scored their only run on Drew Sutton's error at third base. Mark De Rosa and Maicer Izturis each singled off Sox reliever J.D. Durbin, who secured the next two outs before Sutton's error. Bradley, playing left, recovered the ball in left that got by Sutton, made a nice relay throw to the cutoff man and the Sox nailed the second run at the plate.

Top 8th: Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0: Sox go down as scoreless game continues. Both teams with two hits.

Bottom 7th: Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0: A 1-2-3 inning for De La Torre, in his second inning of work. Surprise, surprise. Jackie Bradley shifted to left field, the first time this spring after weeks of the Red Sox indicating he would not play any left field.

Top 7th: Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0: A 1-2-3 inning for Jays closer Casey Janssen.

Bottom 6th: Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0: Jose Reyes walked facing Jose De La Torre, who pitched so well for Puerto Rico in the WBC. But that was it.

Aceves threw 73 pitches, 44 for strikes and allowed no runs, two hits with two walks and five strikeouts against a formidable Jays lineup.

Top 6th: Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0: Happ retired the Red Sox in order. Bradley struck out.

Bottom 5th: Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0: Aceves walked Colby Rasmus to start the inning, but a double-play grounder by DeRosa erased that.

Top 5th: Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0: Bryce Brentz doubled for the Sox, but that's all they could muster against Happ.

Bottom 4th: Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0: A strong inning by Aceves as he struck out Bautista for the second time, induced a grounder by Adam Lind and struck J.P. Arencibia for the second time.

Top 4th: Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0: After two outs, Happ walked Ryan Lavarnway and hit Lyle Overbay with a pitch, but Mauro Gomez grounded into a force play.

Bottom 3rd: Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0: Aceves allowed a leadoff double to Mark DeRosa and then balked him to third base., but Aceves recovered nicely and retired the next three batters.

Top 3rd: Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0: Another 1-2-3 inning for Happ

Bottom 2nd: Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0: Aceves throws a 1-2-3 inning with a strikeout of Arencibia.

Top 2nd: Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0: Happ mows down the Sox.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0: Melky Cabrera singled with two outs off Alfredo Aceves, but he got Jose Bautista on a called third strike to end the inning.

Top 1st: Red Sox 0, Blue Jays: Jackie Bradley Jr. had a wind-blown pop up double with two outs, a ball that Jose Reyes misjudged vs. J.A. Happ, who may wind up being Toronto's fifth starter over Ricky Romero.

Ortiz continues BP; no timetable for running

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff March 22, 2013 12:12 PM

DUNEDIN, Fla – Red Sox manager John Farrell said designated hitter David Ortiz would continue taking swings in the cage, but no timetable on when he would restart his running program as he continues to recover from his heel injuries.

Other topics Farrell touched on Friday:

Ryan Lavarnway: "Consistent footwork, consistent receiving. I think his throwing – when compared to what we saw last September – I think dramatically improved and yet he would benefit by more regular play back there. We're trying to rotate guys. To me he's done a good job handling our staff and he's probably at the point where he needs more regular at-bats as well."

Lyle Overbay, who has an opt-out looming: "But not anymore important than the whole camp has been and he's done well. We're going to take every day we can to make the decisions on how our bench is going to round out. He's a proven big-leaguer and a dependable major-league player. You look at every player's strength and match them up in combination with others. A veteran presence whose been in that role and has been accustomed to it. How the group compliments each other is how we'll settle it."

How Opening Day is shaping up without David Ortiz, Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez: "Both teams have gone through change. A lot of temporary situations because of injury. I'm sure everyone who pays attention to every opening series, you want to see the marquee players perform on the field. In both cases we're dealing with banged up rosters."

On looking forward to playing the Blue Jays the second series of the season in Toronto: "There's been a lot of change with Toronto. They've got a damned good team, one that everyone will be shooting for this year in terms of trying to compete and contend in this division. We're looking forward to every game played and series, no matter where it is."

On the negative attention focused on him in Toronto: "There may be, we'll soon find out. But this game is always about the players first and foremost and that's where the attention should be."

On the way bench coach Torey Lovullo has run the camp: "He's very capable. Smart mind. A lot of good conversation on and off the field, a good communicator and he's run a damned good camp."

Lyle Overbay anxious over his fate

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff March 22, 2013 11:47 AM
DUNEDIN, Fla. – Tuesday is the big day for Lyle Overbay. He has an opt-out in his contract Tuesday and right now, barring a big couple of games (he was in the lineup today vs. the Blue Jays) he probably would make the Red Sox.

If the Red Sox don't elect to keep him on the major league roster but want to send him to the minors, they have to pay him a $100,000 bonus as required by the new collective bargaining agreement.

But it appears Overbay will have other options.

The Yankees may need a lefthanded compliment to Juan Rivera at first base. Yankee scouts have been watching Overbay closely.

"If it works out it works out," Overbay said. "My swing is getting there. I had a back issue a couple of days ago, but I feel fine now, but I lost some time there. I'm not as consistent as I want to be. I felt good in the cage the last couple of days."

Overbay thought the Red Sox were a good fit because Mike Napoli is an inexperienced first baseman. But since then they also traded for Mike Carp, who now has a leg up on Overbay because he's on the roster and had the ability to play the outfield.

"I look at it like I can benefit this team but I’m kind of biased," Overbay said.

No timetable yet for Stephen Drew

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 22, 2013 11:41 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Red Sox shortstop Stephen Drew isn't sure when he will be ready to play in a game. But he feels reassured that his concussion is healing after seeing a specialist.

Drew was examined by Dr. Michael "Mickey" Collins at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Collins is a leader in the field of treating sports-related concussions.

"It was a positive," Drew said of his visit. "It’s a good feeling for me, kind of getting on the road back to where I want to be. ... These guys deal with it every day, Mickey is well known in the country. It’s reassuring because now we know what I’m dealing with."

Red Sox manager John Farrell said Drew continued with normal activity after being cleared to play again, and while not ruling him out for Opening Day, it appears Drew will have problems getting enough at-bats to make it happen.

"It's still undetermined," Farrell said. "We get into the last eight days, we have to be sure an appropriate number of at-bats are had, but we haven't ruled anything out yet. But we have to be realistic with the calendar."

Drew was hit in the head by a pitch on March 7 and stayed in the game for another two innings. His concussion symptoms did not occur until that evening. He has been unable to play since.

"I never knew what a concussion really was. Going though it now, it ain’t no fun. You’re kind of in limbo out there, you know? You can’t really do nothing to make it better, it just takes time," Drew said.

Drew said he felt dizzy, unbalanced, and unexpectedly tired.

"You can call it fogginess, a little spin feeling going on every now and then. That’s what I’m working through. It’s coming a long way," he said. "When I started this, I was thinking [about being out] more of two or three days. Before too long it was like, ‘Man, what is going on here?’ But it’s a lot better scenario than it would have been.

"Where I’m at now, the tiredness is gone. Just now getting everything back in synch. The symptoms are there a little. Trying to knock that out as quick as possible."

Collins gave Drew some exercises he can do with his eyes to improve his vision. Drew has been playing catch and hitting in the cage for the last two days. He is not yet ready to get on the field quite yet.

"I’ll know when I feel right. That’ll be the biggest key and when I do, I’ll move forward," he said. "Good thing is I feel still in good shape. It’s a good thing."

Drew, who never had a concussion before, has learned about how potentially serious and career threatening they can be.

"That’s kind of how the brain is. You have to let it heal up," he said. "I’d like to say sooner or later it’ll be over with and look back and never have to deal with it again."

Drew has no idea yet when he might be ready for the season. It's a virtual certainty that he will open the year on the disabled list.

"It’s no good for the team or for me to go out there the way I feel now," he said. "We have guys who can take care of it while this is going on. That’s a good thing.

"Do I want to go through this? No. Was it an unfortunate accident? Yeah. You don’t want to play around it. If I rush back and say well, I’m good and then a week later I’m starting to feel these symptoms, that would be good for nobody. But it’s come a long way."

Drew said he doesn't necessarily need a certain number of at-bats to get ready.

"It’s more in getting back in shape with your legs," he said. "Sometimes it can be pretty quick."

Predicting the Red Sox roster, Version 3

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 22, 2013 10:22 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox break camp on March 30 and head for New York. With just over a week left before that flight, let's take a look at where the roster stands.

For reference purposes, here is Version 1 of this exercise and Version 2.

ROTATION (5)
LHP Jon Lester
RHP Clay Buchholz
RHP Ryan Dempster
LHP Felix Doubront
RHPJohn Lackey

Breakdown: Same as it ever was. The Sox lined these guys up from the start and that is how it has stayed. Barring injury, nobody really had a chance to break into this group. This quintet has a 2.52 ERA in spring training with Lester and Buchholz (33.1 IP, 3 ER) particularly impressive.The depth group in Pawtucket will have Allen Webster, Chris Hernandez, Steven Wright and Terry Doyle. By summer, maybe Rubby De La Rosa, too.

BULLPEN (7)
RHP Joel Hanrahan
RHP Andrew Bailey
RHP Koji Uehara
LHP Andrew Miller
RHP Junichi Tazawa
RHP Clayton Mortensen
RHP Alfredo Aceves

Breakdown: Daniel Bard is well down the road of shedding the woes that wrecked last season. But he's not all the way there yet and does have options, so look for him to start the year in Pawtucket. There are four solid set-up guys in this group and multi-inning types in Mortensen and Aceves. The spot starter would be Aceves.

LINEUP (9)
CF Jacoby Ellsbury
DH/LF Daniel Nava
2B Dustin Pedroia
1B Mike Napoli
3B Will Middlebrooks
C Jarrod Saltalamacchia
LF/DH Jonny Gomes
RF Shane Victorino
SS Jose Iglesias

Breakdown: Unless David Ortiz is going to miss months instead of weeks (and that doesn't seem to be the case), it's hard to make a good case for Jackie Bradley Jr. Fun as it would be, it makes more sense to fill in the gaps and let the phenom develop some more in Pawtucket. But if the Sox are scuffling two weeks in, JBJ could get the call. The Sox will shuffle the DH spot around a bit. They like what they have seen of Nava, even batting righthanded. Victorino will hit second against lefties and Gomes will move up.

BENCH (4)
C David Ross
INF Pedro Ciriaco
OF Ryan Sweeney
1B-LF Mike Carp

Breakdown: Ross and Ciriaco are locks. Sweeney gives them defensive coverage at all three spots in the outfield. Carp can handle first when Napoli is the DH or gets day off.

DISABLED LIST
LHP Craig Breslow (shoulder
SS Stephen Drew (concussion)
OF Ryan Kalish (shoulder)
LHP Franklin Morales (back)
DH David Ortiz (right foot)

Breakdown: Drew will be the fastest of the bunch to return, or should be, as he has started baseball activities. In theory, he could miss one game because his DL stint can be backdated. Ortiz looks like a late April/early May return. Morales is throwing again and may only miss a few weeks of the season. Breslow has yet to take the mound. We could be looking at a month. Kalish, if he is fortunate, will get in some minor league games by the end of the season. He is recovering from surgery.

A few notes from the Fort this morning

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 22, 2013 09:07 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Good morning from Fenway South. The Red Sox sent bench players and Triple A starters to Dunedin for today's game. A lot of people have asked about the rule that teams use at least four "regulars" in ever game. That was suspended because of the WBC. Now that the WBC is over, it still appears to be in place.

Also:

• Jon Lester and Daniel Bard will pitch in a minor league game at the Fort at 1 p.m. today. So if you're around, stop by and see big leaguers pitch for free.

• The Red Sox have released catcher Adalberto Ibarra, a 25-year-old from Cuba. He was signed to a $750,000 bonus before the 2010 season and never developed. Ibarra hit .275 for Salem last season with a .386 OBP. But his .344 slugging percentage spoke volumes. He went 383 at-bats in the minors without a home run and had shoulder problems.

Jonathan Singer of Sox Prospects had that news first.

Some MLB players still perceive Red Sox as 'mess'

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff March 22, 2013 09:01 AM

Ten percent of 110 players surveyed anonymously by ESPN The Magazine indicated the Red Sox are still one of the biggest messes in baseball.

"The Red Sox will be a disaster," said one NL pitcher, who responded to the question of "Who is the hottest mess in baseball?"

The Miami Marlins got 43 percent of the vote, the Astros 38 percent. The Red Sox came in third. The players felt the Blue Jays should win the World Series.

The survey is part of the magazine's MLB preview, which hits newstands on Friday.

Other nuggets:

“Do you know of any gay players?” Five percent said yes.

The vast majority answered no (94.6 percent), with about an equal split then saying some version of “nobody would care” or “it wouldn’t bother me, but it would be a problem for other guys” when asked to elaborate.

Then there are the 5.4 percent who already know of a gay colleague. “Yes, but that’s as far as I want to go, even if this is anonymous,” said one NL player.

When asked about guns, 46 percent said they owned firearms.

More than half of those surveyed say they do not own any guns. But the other 51 respondents have a total of 258 firearms among them (5.1 per gun-owning player), for an overall average of 2.4 per player.

“Let me ask you something,” said a potential Cy Young Award winner. “If you were rich and famous and your salary was in the newspaper every week, would you worry about your wife and kids? That’s why I have guns.”

Grapefruit League Game 27: Red Sox at Blue Jays

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 22, 2013 07:55 AM

Good morning. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (14-12-1)
Holt 2B
Sutton 3B
Bradley Jr. CF
Lavarnway C
Overbay 1B
Gomez DH
Carp LF
Brentz RF
Bogaerts SS
Pitching: RHP Alfredo Aceves followed by RHP Anthony Carter.

BLUE JAYS (10-14)
Reyes SS
Bonifacio 2B
Cabrera LF
Bautista RF
Lind DH
Arencibia C
Rasmus CF
DeRosa 1B
Izturis 3B
Pitching: LHP J.A. Happ followed by RHP Sergio Santos, RHP Esmil Rogers.

Game time: 1:05 p.m. at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium.

TV/Radio: None.

Notes: Rather than pitch Jon Lester against a team he will probably face on April 7, Aceves will get the call and Lester will stay back in Fort Myers to pitch in a minor league game. ... With a day game (and a 126-mile bus trip) after a night game, the Red Sox left a lot of their regulars home. ... Aceves has appeared in only three Grapefruit League games because of his time away for the WBC. He has allowed five runs on 13 hits over 10 innings. He has only three strikeouts.

John Lackey continues his strong comeback

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 21, 2013 10:12 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The reclamation of John Lackey continued on Thursday night as he allowed one run over five innings against a Philadelphia lineup that included Jimmy Rollins, Michael Young, Carlos Ruiz, and Ben Revere.

Lackey picked up 13 groundball outs and threw 50 of 73 pitches for strikes.

In five starts this spring (including the one against the very strong team Puerto Rico sent to the WBC), Lackey has allowed seven earned runs over 11.2 innings.

A 5.39 earned run average may not sound like a big deal. But it's worth noting that three of the runs came on a home run by Pittsburgh's Jared Goedert on Feb. 28 when Lackey was throwing all fastballs and building up arm strength.

"I don't think we could have anticipated much more coming into camp from him," manager John Farrell said.

Two positive signs for Lackey:

Velocity: Lackey was hovering around 92 m.p.h. against the Phillies, a tick above what he averaged in 2011. Given that he is still building up, you can expect that to jump a little. "There’ll be more. You put the third deck on the stadium, things happen," Lackey said.

Lackey doesn't need to overwhelm anybody. Sitting at 92-93 will work just fine for him.

"I think he's right where we anticipated he'd be," Farrell said. "We know that typical of a guy coming back from Tommy John surgery, there's going to be some ups and downs with arm strength. But the one thing John has on his side is a lot of experience and know-how on what works best for him on a given day."

Command: Lackey has walked three batters this spring. Pitchers coming off Tommy John surgery often say that command is the last thing that they regain.

"I think a lot of that stems from the reshaping of his body," Farrell said. "It's freed his body up. He's got better body control; more consistent in the outings he's pitched. He repeats his delivery very well. When you consider that he's been able to throw pitches to both sides of the plate, even further emphasizes his body control."

Lackey will make two more starts: a minor league game on Tuesday and then probably some sort of intrasquad game on March 31 after the team breaks camp. That would line him up to face the Blue Jays in the fifth game of the season on April 6.

Also:

• Daniel Nava had an excellent at-bat against the estimable Cole Hamels in the second inning. With runners on the corners and one out, he worked the count full, fouled off two pitches, and delivered a sacrifice fly to left field.

The switch-hitting Nava is a career .191/.302/.318 hitter when he bats righthanded. So driving in a run against a lefty like Hamels was impressive.

"Thought it was outstanding," Farrell said. "We've seen a number of good at-bats from the right side of the plate by him."

Nava is on the team. Maybe it's not in ink quite yet, but it's close.

• Ben Cherington on Jackie Bradley Jr: “We haven’t made any decisions. We’ve got spots up for competition. I think anybody who is in big league camp this late in the spring has a chance to make the team.”

Cherington claimed that keeping Bradley away from free agency for an extra season is not a primary motivation.

“There’s all sorts of factors to consider. But I think the simplest ones are probably the most important,” the GM said. “Those are, is there an everyday role? Is the player really ready for it and what’s our best team? If we use that to guide us, more often than not we’ll make the right decision.”

Game report: Red Sox 6, Phillies 1

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 21, 2013 10:07 PM

SCORE: Red Sox 6, Phillies 1

RECORD: 14-12-1

BREAKDOWN: After Phillies starter Cole Hamels allowed one run over six innings, the Sox scored five runs with two outs in the seventh. Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Daniel Nava walked against Michael Stutes. When Jose Iglesias grounded to short, the throw to second was late and pinch runner Matty Johnson scored from second. After Jacoby Ellsbury walked, Shane Victorino slammed a three-run triple to deep right. Dustin Pedroia (2 for 2, 2 walks) doubled in a run.

THUMBS UP: John Lackey had a strong five innings against a representative Phillies lineup. He allowed one run on four hits and struck out one without a walk. Lackey threw 50 of 73 pitches for strikes. Counting his start against Puerto Rico’s WBC team, Lackey has walked three over 11 2/3 innings. For a pitcher who missed last season recovering from Tommy John surgery, that kind of control is a good sign.

THUMBS DOWN: Ellsbury was 0 for 3 and is now 9 of 40 (.225) this spring. Oddly, he has yet to attempt a stolen base.

MEDICAL REPORT: David Ortiz took swings for the third consecutive day and is building back up after nine days off to rest his inflamed heels. But he seems sure to start the season on the disabled list. “Seems likely at this point,” general manager Ben Cherington said. … Infielder Pedro Ciriaco, who hasn’t played since March 14 because of back spasms, is expected to return on Saturday.

AROUND THE BASES: Garin Cecchini, a 21-year-old third baseman, played in his first major league spring training game. He played the ninth inning in the field and caught the last out. Cecchini is considered one of the better prospects in the organization after hitting .305 with an .827 OPS at Low Single A Greenville last season. … Andrew Miller, Andrew Bailey, and Joel Hanrahan all pitched in back-to-back games and were perfect. … Koji Uehara blanked the Phillies in the eighth inning. He has thrown eight scoreless innings this spring.

NEXT GAME: The Sox play the Blue Jays in Dunedin on Friday at 1:05 p.m. The Sox will start Alfredo Aceves. Toronto will go with lefthander J.A. Happ.

Final: Red Sox 6, Phillies 1

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 21, 2013 06:55 PM

Game over: Red Sox 6, Phillies 1: Nice win for the Sox, who were locked in a 1-1 game before scoring five runs in the seventh inning.

Back later with more.

Top of the 8th: Red Sox 6, Phillies 1: With two outs against Michael Stutes, Salty and Vava walked. When Iglesias grounded to short, the throw to second was late and pinch runner Matty Johnson scored from second. After Ellsbury walked, Victorino slammed a three-run triple to deep right. Pedroia (2 for 2, 2 walks) doubled in a run.

Top of the 7th: Phillies 1, Red Sox 1: Andrew Miller (2 K's) and Joel Hnarahan handled the top of the sixth. Hamels walked Pedroia again before getting Napoli to ground into a 5-4-3 double play.

Hamels is done for the night. His line: 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K. 81 pitches, 53 strikes.

Top of the 6th: Phillies 1, Red Sox 1: Lackey is done after a solid five innings. He allowed one run on four hits with no walks and one strikeout. He threw 50 of 73 pitches for strikes.

Iglesias had a bunt single for the Sox in the fifth but was thrown out stealing.

Top of the 5th: Phillies 1, Red Sox 1: Lackey worked around a double by Nix. Hamels then worked a quick 1-2-3 inning, fanning Gomes and Salty. Hamels has allowed one earned run in 14 Grapefruit League innings.

Top of the 4th: Phillies 1, Red Sox 1: Two nice defensive plays in the inning for the Sox. Middlebrooks bare-handed a bunt attempt by Orr and threw him out on the run. Napoli then made a diving stop on Rollins and fed Lackey for the out.

The Sox got a two-out single by Pedroia but that was it.

Top of the 3rd: Phillies 1, Red Sox 1: Middlebrooks doubled high off the wall in left. Gomes then singled to left. Salty lined to left, too shallow to score Middlebrooks. But Nava, who usually struggles hitting righthanded, worked the count full, fouled off two pitches and delivered a sac fly to left.

Very good plate appearance against a tough lefty. Nava has put himself in line for a roster spot and that may have clinched it.

Top of the 2nd: Phillies 1, Red Sox 0: Orr grounded a single up the middle and stole second with one out. Rollins then reached on a bloop double over third base that landed close to the foul line. Iglesias tried to make a diving stop. Young drove in a run with a groundout.

Pedroia drew a walk off Hamels before Napoli hit the ball well to center. But it hung up enough for Revere to track it down.

Pre-game: Good game at JetBlue Park tonight. The Red Sox are running out their best lineup (injuries aside) to take on Cole Hamels and the Phillies.

The game is on NESN Plus and WEEI. But we'll have occasional updates here, too.

Stephen Drew cleared by specialist

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 21, 2013 04:13 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Red Sox shortstop Stephen Drew has been cleared to resume baseball activities.

Drew, out since March 7 with a concussion, traveled to Pittsburgh to be examined by a specialist, Dr. Michael Collins.

Drew will start throwing and taking batting practice. There is no date set for playing in games.

Drew will not play in any major league spring training games to protect the team's ability to backdate his stint on the seven-day concussion disabled list. He would have to miss a minimum of three days but theoretically only one game because of days off. The major league season officially starts a week from Sunday.

There still seems to be little chance that Drew will ready for Opening Day. Jose Iglesias would start in his place if that is the case.

The Red Sox are hoping Pedro Ciriaco (back spasms) can play in Saturday's game.

Red Sox reassign four pitchers to minor league camp

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 21, 2013 03:05 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox today reassigned pitchers Chris Carpenter, Terry Doyle, Chris Hernandez and Oscar Villarreal to minor league camp.

With the moves, the Red Sox now have 42 players in big league camp. That group includes one player on the disabled list (Ryan Kalish) and five other injured players (Stephen Drew, Craig Breslow, Mitch Maier, Franklin Morales, and David Ortiz) who are not expected to be ready by the start of the season.

Carpenter appeared in seven games as a reliever, posting a 4.32 ERA over 8 1/3 innings. Doyle, a Rhode Island resident and former Boston College player, had a 3.86 ERA over six appearances and 14 innings.

Hernandez had a 3.97 ERA in five games. The 24-year-old lefthander will probably have a spot in the rotation at Triple A Pawtucket.

Villareal, a righthanded reliever with major league experience, appeared in only four games because of a stint with Mexico in the World Baseball Classic.

Grapefruit League Game 26: Phillies at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 21, 2013 01:20 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (13-12-1)
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Shane Victorino RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Mike Napoli 1B
Will Middlebrooks 3B
Jonny Gomes LF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia C
Daniel Nava DH
Jose Iglesias SS,
Pitching: RHP John Lackey followed by LHP Andrew Miller, RHP Andrew Bailey and RHP Joel Hanrahan.

PHILLIES (11-12-1)
Ben Revere CF
Pete Orr RF
Jimmy Rollins SS
Michael Young 3B
Laynce Nix LF
Carlos Ruiz C
John Mayberry Jr. 1B
Freddy Galvis 2B
Cole Hamels LHP
Also pitching: LHP Jeremy Horst, RHP Michael Stutes.

Game time: 7:05 p.m. at JetBlue Park.

TV/Radio: NESN Plus / WEEI.

Notes: Counting the game against Puerto Rico, Lackey has made four starts this spring and thrown 9.2 innings. He has allowed six earned runs on 11 hits with three walks and six strikeouts. Given that he is coming off missing an entire season due to surgery the three walks are a good sign. ... Miller, Bailey and Hanrahan will be working back-to-back days. ... Shane Victorino will be facing his old team. He was with the Phillies from 2005 until last July 31 when he was traded to the Dodgers. Victorino and Rollins were teammates on Team USA in the WBC, too. They are very close friends. ... For the Red Sox, this looks at awful lot like the lineup that could face CC Sabathia in New York on April 1. Nava might not start against a lefty, however.

The Jackie Bradley conundrum

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 21, 2013 08:45 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — If the idea was to pick the 25 best players, Jackie Bradley Jr. would make the Red Sox. He has been that good in spring training.

But it's rarely that simple with baseball.

The reason the Red Sox have a decision to make is buried within the pages of baseball's collective bargaining agreement and the rules for free agency.

Players become eligible for free agency after six full seasons of service time in the major leagues. The day a player appears in his first game, his "clock" starts. Players watch that clock intently knowing that it takes six years for them to gain some degree of control over their careers.

If Bradley starts the season with the Red Sox and sticks with them, he would become a free agent after the 2018 season. Because he is represented by Scott Boras, it's reasonable to assume that Bradley would then go into the open market to determine his worth.

However if the Red Sox were to keep Bradley in the minors for 11 days to start the season, he would not become eligible for free agency until after the 2019 season.

This is why, for instance, the Angels did not promote Mike Trout until April 28 last season.

The Red Sox could, in theory, have Bradley start the season with them and stop his clock later in the season by sending him to the minors for 20 days. That also would preserve a year.

The issue then becomes what if Bradley is so good that sending him down hurts the team? It might be a lot easier to send him down now than later on.

A few other factors that weigh into the decision:

• This discussion is not even being held if David Ortiz were healthy because there would be nowhere for Bradley to play. But with Ortiz expected to miss anywhere from two weeks to a month (at least), the Sox could play Bradley in right field, shift Shane Victorino to left and use Jonny Gomes as the designated hitter.

• This discussion is not even being held if they Red Sox had some other player in camp who was presenting a compelling case to stick. But if Bradley is sent down, that probably means Daniel Nava, Ryan Sweeney, Mike Carp or Lyle Overbay makes the team.

Nava has been the best of the four and has shown he can hit righthanders. He would probably make the team regardless. But if Bradley doesn't stick, one of the other guys will.

• The Red Sox are battling a serious problem with public perception. Their fans are not buying tickets or watching on television at the rates they once did. The team has been perceived as boring before it plays a game. Bradley can change that. He's a fun player to watch, he's young and he has a personality.

How many players do the Red Sox have with even two of those qualities? It's a short list.

Is that a good reason to lose a year of control? Surely not. But 90 percent of fans don't care about the collective bargaining agreement and 2019. They want to watch something interesting on NESN in 2013 and Sox want them to buy tickets and drink overpriced beer.

If you stopped the average Sully on the street outside Fenway Park and asked him what he thought of John Henry, the answer would be that he's cheap and cares more about Liverpool. That is beyond stupid, of course, given the payroll of the Red Sox.

But keeping Bradley would give the impression that the Red Sox are all in. It's dumb, but you know it's true.

• Here's an interesting question: What would hurt the bottom line of the Red Sox more, a 3-8 start to this season or having to (theoretically) pay a lot of money to keep Bradley for the 2019 season when he becomes a free agent a year early? If this team starts 3-8, Fenway could be a ghost town in the spring. The very last thing this team needs is another slow start.

• Let's say Bradley is a free agent a year early. It's not the like Red Sox are some low-budget team with no chance of keeping him. There have been some Boras clients (Jason Varitek and Jered Weaver come to mind), who make deals to stay.

Bradley is not a Boras drone. If he likes Boston and wants to stay, they'll figure out a deal. They figured out a reasonable deal when they drafted him.

• GM Ben Cherington is the guy who will make this call. Sure, it's easy to say that the right thing to do is send Bradley to the minors. But Cherington isn't going to be the GM in 2014 if the 2013 Red Sox fall on their faces. Is he in a position to worry about 2019?

It's too bad the decision is not simple because Bradley has done everything he can to make the team and the decision is far more involved than that.

Prediction: The Sox will send Bradley to the minors and see what transpires after 11 days. Prudent roster management has long been paramount for them and nothing indicates that will change.

The one caveat is that John Henry, who really is a baseball fan, might think like a baseball fan and tell them to keep the kid. After all, maybe he doesn't think he'll own the team in 2019.

Game Report: Yankees 4, Red Sox 0

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff March 20, 2013 03:42 PM

SCORE: Yankees 4, Red Sox 0.

RECORD: 13-12-1.

BREAKDOWN: All of the runs were scored in the second inning when Felix Doubront lost his mechanics and allowed five hits, a walk, and a wild pitch. The Red Sox never recovered and couldn't solve Vidal Nuno, who pitched five two-hit innings for the Yankees. Doubront, who later commented that he was too hunched over in his delivery and needed to straighten his posture, allowed a single to Juan Rivera and double to Ben Francisco before Jayson Nix's sacrifice fly scored the first run. Chris Stewart drove in a run with a single, and hits by Thomas Neal and Melky Mesa set the stage for a wild pitch and another run. After a walk to Brett Gardner, Eduardo Nunez hit a sacrifice fly to score the fourth run.

THUMBS UP: Jackie Bradley Jr. played center field and batted third, stroking a two-out double to left-center in the first inning and single in the ninth to raise his spring training average to .444. ... Daniel Nava went 1 for 3 and made another successful start at first base. Sox relievers Andrew Bailey (two-thirds of an inning), Joel Hanrahan (one inning), Clay Mortensen (one inning), and Andrew Miller (one inning) held the Yankees scoreless after the second inning.

THUMBS DOWN: Mauro Gomez went 0 for 4 as the DH and is batting .175, not making a compelling case to stick with the team. Ryan Sweeney went 0 for 3 and Drew Sutton went 0 for 3 and made an error at third base. Mike Carp, who started in left field, also made an error.

MEDICAL REPORT: David Ortiz took 50 more swings in the batting cage for the second straight day, but still no word on when he'll start his running program ... Shortstop Stephen Drew continued testing in Pittsburgh for concussion symptoms, but no word on his progress ... Franklin Morales threw from 60 feet a second straight day and is close to starting a throwing program after missing time with a bulging disk in his back.

AROUND THE BASES: Most of the pregame hoopla surrounded an update on Derek Jeter by Yankees GM Brian Cashman. Jeter had an anti-inflammatory shot for his surgically repaired left ankle. ... The game was played in 2 hours 17 minutes before 10,801 at Steinbrenner Field.

NEXT GAME: Thursday against the Phillies at 7:05 p.m. The Sox will start righthander John Lackey with Andrew Miller, Andrew Bailey, Koji Uehara, Chris Hernandez, and Oscar Villarreal to follow.

Final: Yankees 4, Red Sox 0

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff March 20, 2013 01:26 PM

Top 9th: Yankees 4, Red Sox 0 - Jackie Bradley had two of Boston's four hits, as he singled in the ninth. Sox relievers Andrew Bailey, Joel Hanraghan, Clayton Mortensen and Andrew Miller all held the status quo. Miller walked two in the 8th inning.

Bottom 6th: Yankees 4, Red Sox 0 - The Red Sox are now in the reliever phase of the game. Andrew Bailey got through an inning and Joel Hanrahan is pitching the sixth.

Bottom 5th: Yankees 4, Red Sox 0 - Doubront out after 4-1/3 innings. He allowed four runs, seven hits and was replaced by Andrew Bailey. Kind of a step back for Doubront.

Top 5th: Yankees 4, Red Sox 0 - Nunez, who will likely replace Derek Jeter as the Opening Day shortstop, booted Drew Sutton's grounder.

Bottom 4th: Yankees 4, Red Sox 0 - Drew Sutton made an error on a Brett Gardner grounder and Eduwardo Nunez singled, but Doubront got out of the jam. Kevin Youkilis struck out for the second time.

Bottom 3rd: Yankees 4, Red Sox 0 - Doubront allowed a single to Jayson Nix, but no further damage.

Top 3rd: Yankees 4, Red Sox 0 - The Red Sox put a couple of runners on base when Daniel Nava worked a walk and Brock Holt singled with two outs, but the Sox couldn't muster enough for a run.

Bottom 2nd: Yankees 4, Red Sox 0 - Rough inning for Doubront who allowed five hits, a walk and a wild pitch. A Jayson Nix sac fly got the first run in after Juan Rivera singled and Ben Francisco singled (yes these are your 2013 Yankees). After Chris Stewart singled in the second run, Thomas Neal and Melky Mesa singled and Doubront uncorked a wild pitch to score the third run.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 0, Yankees 0 - Felix Doubront struck out two and retired the wounded Yankees in order in the first inning.

Top 1st: Red Sox 0, Yankees 0 - Here we go again, Jackie Bradley Jr. doubled to leftcenter with two outs in the first off Vidal Nuno.

Farrell still formulating Red Sox lineup

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff March 20, 2013 01:14 PM

TAMPA, Fla. — Red Sox manager John Farrell is getting closer to an everyday lineup, though he's still struggling with the No. 2 hole against righthanded starters.

"Jonny (Gomes) had a lot of success in the two-hole last year," Farrell said. "Against a lefty we have options. Righthanded — that's where (switch-hitter) Nava's situation comes into focus. And yet we're not set on which of those lefthanders will make the club.

"At some point, we can't totally neglect spring training. We're going to balance that with the long-term production they've had."

That's why it appears that Nava, who is playing first base today against the Yankees, could have a leg up on MIke Carp, Lyle Overbay and Ryan Sweeney.

Farrell was also asked whether he would be opposed to having two catchers in the lineup (one at DH) as he he said he was a few days ago.

"I don't object to that," he said. "I understand the risk you run. If we were in a situation where Salty had to go behind plate, we'd go with pinch-hitters rather than go with Mike (Napoli) behind the plate."

Of course, Napoli would still be an emergency option, even though he hasn't caught all of spring training.

Also:

• LHP Franklin Morales has thrown back-to-back long toss sessions. Now the Sox will put him on a throwing program.

• The Yankees tried out their former righty Chien Ming Wang this morning. Wang is open to returning to the Yankees and starting at Triple-A Scranton.

He once won 19 games twice for the Yankees before injuries hurt his career. Yankees GM Brian Cashman said he's throwing 92-93 MPH. Wang used to throw in the mid-to-high 90s with a great, hard sinker.

Wang pitched for Taiwan in the WBC. He is 7-13 with a 6.39 ERA in 33 major league appearances since a foot injury led to a shoulder injury in 2008.

Yankees deal with Jeter injury

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff March 20, 2013 01:05 PM

TAMPA, Fla. — Yankees general manager Brian Cashman could offer no real timetable on when Derek Jeter could return to the Yankee lineup after the shortstop received an anti-inflammatory injection in his left ankle to alleviate soreness.

He might miss Opening Day.

Jeter had ankle surgery last October. He's participated in spring training, but playing back-to-back days caused some inflammation.

"He’s fine," said Cashman, who broke his ankle in a sky-diving accident a few weeks ago. "They consulted with doctors in South Carolina and gave him anti-inflammatory injection. He'll get the day off when he feels better he’ll be off and running again. The doctors said you can experience a lot of different things along [the] pathway. His rehab has gone extremely well, but after back-to-back days it barked a little bit.

"This player isn’t the easiest one because he plays through anything and tolerates it all and is not necessarily the most vocal if anything is barking. He’s going to have ups and downs in the early portion of it. It still is really early in the process. We have to make sure it’s the right steps."

As Opening Day approaches, will Jeter be ready?

"If you asked him, Opening Day would be a certainty. But in fairness, I don’t know yet. We have to be in position for him to play a full nine innings of defense and play back-to-back and all this other stuff. There’s some time left. See how he responds."

The disabled list?

"I can’t rule it out," Cashman said. "Let's see how the next 10 days go. We have to do right for him. There’s a reason Joe [Girardi] played Eduardo Nunez at shortstop the entire spring training so we’ll have somebody ready to go."

David Ortiz back in the swing another day

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 20, 2013 11:55 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — David Ortiz graduated to soft toss on Wednesday, taking 50 swings at balls flipped to him by coaching staff assistant Ino Guerrero.

Head athletic trainer Rick Jameyson and physical therapist Dan Dyrek were on hand to monitor Ortiz, who on Tuesday took 50 swings at balls on a tee. Jim Rice watched, too.

Ortiz looked to be cutting loose with his swings and left the batting cage walking normally. The Red Sox are in the process of building Ortiz back up after a nine-day layoff because of inflammation in his heels, a residual of the Achilles tendon injury he had last season.

Ortiz will eventually get to batting practice on the field and then running the bases, which was when his last setback occurred. If he is able to run the bases, Ortiz would then play in his first game this spring.

Based on his recent progress there is at least a small chance chance Ortiz will play in a game before the Sox break camp on March 30. It is likely he will need 30-50 plate appearances before he is ready to rejoin the Red Sox. Those could come in extended spring training and/or minor league games.

Red Sox and Yankees to honor Newtown victims on Opening Day

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 20, 2013 10:00 AM

The Red Sox and Yankees will dedicate Opening Day to the victims of the Newtown tragedy and honor their families and the community of Newtown.

Pregame ceremonies will feature joint honor guards of Newtown police and firefighters, along with a moment of silence, during which a list of the Sandy Hook victims’ names will be recognized on the center field video board.

The Red Sox and Yankees will wear a special ribbon on their uniforms to honor those lost and those affected by the tragedy. This ribbon will also be prominently painted on the field in front of both dugouts.

To show Major League Baseball’s solidarity in remembering the victims, their families and the greater community of Newtown, commissioner Bud Selig has asked the 28 other teams to follow suit in wearing the ribbon during their respective Opening Day games.

“Months have passed, yet we are still trying to come to grips with this incomprehensible tragedy,” Red Sox principal owner John W. Henry said. “As our teams look to face each other on Opening Day, we will stand united in support of the families affected as we remember and honor those who were lost.”

“On Opening Day, we will reflect upon more important things and play the game to honor the community of Newtown,” Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said. “Since the day of the tragedy, our hearts and thoughts have been with those who were affected."

Bogaerts: WBC experience was 'phenomenal'

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 20, 2013 09:14 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Xander Bogaerts was back at Red Sox this camp this morning after being gone nearly a month for the WBC. He helped the Netherlands reach the semifinals, a sold achievement given the competition and their young roster.

"It was a phenomenal time," Bogaerts said. "I'm so glad I did it. The people back home were so excited with how we did."

Bogaerts had quite a journey. He left the Red Sox on Feb. 23 and joined the team in Taiwan for the first round. After the Dutch advanced, they trained in Arizona for a few days, then traveled to San Francisco for the semifinals. Now he's back in Red Sox camp.

Bogaerts speaks four languages — English, Dutch, Spanish and Papiamento — but that didn't help him much in Taiwan.

"You had to use hand signals for everything," he said. "But it was interesting being over there and we played well."

Bogaerts said the best part of the experience was getting to know players like Andrelton Simmons of the Braves and one of his idols growing up, Andruw Jones.

"That was amazing, getting to talk to Andruw. We got to be close friends," Bogaerts said. "He was the player we all watched and wanted to be like coming up."

Bogaert played well, too. Counting two exhibition games, he was 9 of 25 with three doubles and three RBIs over nine games. He also played third base for the first time in his career.

"That was tough because it's so different than shortstop," Bogaerts said. "I had to get used to the ball coming so fast. But I made the adjustment."

The Sox have said that Bogaerts will remain at shortstop, although he could get some time at third base as a way to get some at-bats in games. He will play for Pawtucket today to get some extra at-bats.

John Farrell said Tuesday that Bogaerts would spend some time in major league camp before going down to prepare for his season in the minors.

"The WBC was a good experience. I learned a lot," Bogaerts said. "Now I want to get some at-bats hopefully and get ready for the season. I'm glad I'm back."

Grapefruit League Game 25: Red Sox at Yankees

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 20, 2013 07:35 AM

Good morning. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (13-11-1)
Brock Holt 2B
Daniel Nava 1B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Mauro Gomez DH
Mike Carp LF
Davis Ross C
Ryan Sweeney RF
Drew Sutton 3B
Jose Iglesias SS
Pitching: LHP Felix Doubront followed by RHP Clayton Mortensen, LHP Andrew Miller, RHP Andrew Bailey, RHP Anthony Carter and RHP Joel Hanrahan.

YANKEES (9-15)
Brett Gardner LF
Eduardo Nunez SS
Kevin Youkilis 3B
Juan Rivera 1B
Ben Francisco RF
Jayson Nix 2B
Chris Stewart C
Thomas Neal DH
Melky Mesa CF
Pitching: LHP Vidal Nuno, RHP David Robertson, RHP Mark Montgomery, LHP Josh Spence, RHP Shawn Kelley.

Game time: 1:05 p.m. at Steinbrenner Field.

TV/Radio: ESPN2, YES / WCBS.

Notes: This is the second spring meeting between the teams. The Yankees won, 5-2, at JetBlue Park on March 3. The teams will open the season on April 1 in New York. ... It has been a rough spring for the Yankees, who lost Curtis Granderson (broken arm) and Mark Teixeira (wrist) to injuries and haven't had Alex Rodriguez (hips) at all. ... Doubront has had a solid spring after a tough start. In three starts he has allowed two earned runs on seven hits over 8.2 innings with four walks and 11 strikeouts.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 20, 2013 07:27 AM

Felix Doubront may be the most talented starter the Red Sox have. Now he has to make it work for him.

The notebook has Stephen Drew going to see a specialist for his concussion.

Game report: Orioles 8, Red Sox 7

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 19, 2013 05:55 PM

SCORE: Orioles 8, Red Sox 7

RECORD: 13-11-1

BREAKDOWN: Down, 7-1, the Sox sent 12 batters to the plate in the eighth inning and scored six runs. Jonathan Diaz had a two-run single before Jackie Bradley Jr.’s single to left field tied the score. But Danny Valencia, who played 10 games for the Red Sox last season, hit a home run over everything off Terry Doyle in the top of the ninth.

THUMBS UP: Will Middlebrooks was 2 for 3 with two hard-hit balls, a single and a double to right-center that hopped into the bullpen. The double came off hard-throwing Orioles prospect Kevin Gausman, who had struck out Mike Napoli and Jarrod Saltalamacchia before Middlebrooks came up.

THUMBS DOWN: Daniel Bard, who had not allowed a run this spring, had a rough seventh inning. He gave up three runs on two hits, a hit batter, a walk, and a balk. He said he was too late making an adjustment in his delivery. The balk, which was supposed to be a pickoff play at third base, cost Bard a run. “There was a little miscommunication on that," said manager John Farrell. "I’m not putting that on him." Bard also opened a cut on the base of his right thumb, the result of the fingernail on his index finger digging as he releases the ball. By the time the inning ended, he had blood all over the side of his uniform pants. Bard had tried super glue (something many pitchers use) to close the cut earlier in the week, but it opened up.

MEDICAL REPORT: David Ortiz took 50 swings in the batting cage, his first baseball activity after a nine-day layoff because of inflammation in his right heel. “We’ll see how he comes out of it [Wednesday] when he reports in,” Farrell said ... Outfielder Mitch Maier had an MRI on his left wrist and has what is being described as a "severe sprain." He is out for at least a week. Maier was injured making a diving catch Friday.

AROUND THE BASES: Those returning to Fort Myers Tuesday included Pedro Martinez and team owner John Henry.

NEXT GAME: Wednesday against the Yankees in Tampa at 1:05 p.m. The Sox will start lefthander Felix Doubront, with Clayton Mortensen, Andrew Miller Andrew Bailey and Joel Hanrahan to follow. The Yankees will start lefty Vidal Nuno, a minor leaguer making his second start of the spring. The game is on ESPN2.

David Ortiz returns to batting cage

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 19, 2013 05:00 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — David Ortiz took 50 swings in the batting cage Tuesday, his first baseball activity after a nine-day layoff because of inflammation in his right heel.

Stephen Drew reported improvement in his concussion symptoms but is still on his way to Pittsburgh to be examined by a specialist.

Also:

• Sox starter Ryan Dempster had allowed three earned runs over 12 2/3 innings coming into Tuesday's game. But he gave up that many in the third inning against the Orioles, who had four consecutive hits.

Dempster shrugged it off, pointing to the fact that he threw 73 pitches and is set to get to 95 in his next start. He also has been throwing his secondary pitches for strikes.

Dempster said once he gets his slider under control, he will be ready for the season.

“It’s good to get an inning like that and get extended and see how you bounce back,” Dempster said. “Because you’re going to get some innings like that during the season.”

• Red Sox catchers have thrown out 10 of 22 base stealers this spring. The latest came when Ryan Lavarnway nabbed Lew Ford.

• Jackie Bradley Jr., who will face the Yankees Wednesday, was 1 for 2 and is hitting .439.

Final: Orioles 8, Red Sox 7

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 19, 2013 01:24 PM

Game over: Orioles 8, Red Sox 7: In a game that featured 27 hits, the Red Sox lose.

Drew Sutton singled with one out off Dan McCutchen. But that was it.

Middle of the 9th: Orioles 8, Red Sox 7: Danny Valencia, who was briefly with the Red Sox last season, just hit one a mile off Terry Doyle.

Top of the 9th: Orioles 7, Red Sox 7: Down 7-1, the Sox scored six runs to tie it off Daniel Schlereth and Adam Russell.

Daniel Nava, Brock Holt and Mike Carp had singles to score the first run. Lavarnway popped out to right before Drew Sutton singled to load the bases. Jeremy Hazelbaker singled in a run. Mauro Gomez pinch hit against Russel and drove in a run with a single. Jon Diaz then singled in two more and moved Gomez to third.

Jackie Bradley Jr. singled in the tying run. Nava grounded out before Holt walked. Carp had another chance to he flied to left.

Middle of the 7th: Orioles 6, Red Sox 1: Ugly inning for Daniel Bard: three runs on two hits, a HBP, a walk, a stolen base and a balk. Ryan Flaherty had a two-run single.

Off to the clubhouse.

Top of the 7th: Orioles 3, Red Sox 1: O's prospect Kevin Gausman struck out Napoli and Salty before Middlebrooks doubled to right center, bouncing the ball over the wall. Gomes then lined to left.

Top of the 6th: Orioles 3, Red Sox 1: Dempster is done after five innings. His line: 6 hits, 3 runs (all earned), two walks, one stikeout and one home run. He threw 73 pitches, 48 strikes. It was his worst outing of the spring but all the damage was one inning.

Top of the 5th: Orioles 3, Red Sox 1: Dempster walked Betemit then got Machado to roll into a 5-4-3 DP. Robinson walked before Teagarden popped out. The Sox went in order against Matusz.

Top of the 4th: Orioles 3, Red Sox 1: Ryan Dempster had allowed three earned runs in 14.2 innings this spring through the second inning. Then he allowed three earned runs in the third inning.

Robinson homered to center. Teagarden doubled. Pridie and Roberts singled. Flaherty lined to left to advance Pridie to third and McClouth grounded out to drive in the third run.

Top of the 3rd: Red Sox 1, Orioles 0: Dempster allowed a two-out single by Machado but he was picked off first by Salty.

The Sox had a weird bottom of the inning. Middlebrooks singled and Gomes walked. Sweeney hit a low liner to second base that hopped before Roberts caught it. He stepped on the bag for one out then threw to third to get Middlebrooks for the rare 4-5 double play.

Iglesias singled to extend the inning before Ellsbury popped to left.

Top of 2nd: Red Sox 1, Orioles 0: Quick inning for Dempster. Fly ball, groundout, foul pop. Then the Sox struck with one out. Victorino tripled into the corner in left and advanced to third when Pedroia singled to left, Napoli hammered a line drive to left, which Robinson caught. Victorino tagged and scored when the throw was errant. Salty then lined to left.

Pre-game: Good afternoon from JetBlue Park. The Red Sox (and Ryan Dempster) will be facing the Orioles.

We'll have updates, so stick around and feel free to leave a comment.

Stephen Drew sent to see specialist for concussion

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 19, 2013 11:34 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Red Sox shortstop Stephen Drew, who hasn't played since March 7 because of a concussion, will travel to Pittsburgh tonight to be examined by a specialist.

Drew will see Dr. Michael Collins at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center on Wednesday and part of Thursday before returning to camp. Collins is the director of the Sports Concussion Program at UPMC.

"We don't have any reason to think there's more there. We're trying to get a better understanding of what is there," Sox manager John Farrell said. "Just the fact that he's still experiencing the same type of symptoms. We just to try to get out arms around it as best we can."

Farrell said Drew will undergo a battery of tests. Drew told reporters last week that he had never had a concussion before. He was injured when he was hit in the helmet by a pitch. At the time, Drew stayed in the game for another two innings.

"His care is first and foremost," Farrell said. "The fact is we're still in spring training. We know the days are ticking by. But whatever measure we can take with his care being first and foremost, we're going to do that."

There seems to be no chance Drew will be on the roster for Opening Day on April 1.

"That's window's closing by the day," Farrell said. "When you talk about an ordinary or somewhat normal amount of at-bats in spring training, those opportunities are starting to be removed."

Farrell has indicated that Jose Iglesias would start at shortstop if Drew lands on the disabled list.

Xander Bogaerts will stay in major league camp for now

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 19, 2013 11:33 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Red Sox prospect Xander Bogaerts is headed back to camp after being away since Feb. 24 for the World Baseball Classic.

The 20-year-old will report to major league camp and spend at least a few more days with the Red Sox.

"He'll remain in camp here for the time being just to get him back ... and see him on the field," manager John Farrell said.

Farrell said Bogaerts will play shortstop and possibly some third base. But the time at third base would be just to get Bogaerts some at-bats, he said.

"Make no mistake, still in our eyes he's a shortstop," Farrell said. "We'll get him a few more at-bats here before he begins his regular season."

Bogaerts played mostly third base for the Netherlands in the WBC. He was 5 of 19 in the tournament with two doubles and one RBI in seven games. He did not play in the semifinal loss against the Dominican Republic on Monday.

Bogaerts was 4 for 6 with a double and two RBIs in a pair of exhibition games with the Dutch team.

"I think that the experience had with the WBC, I think is all positive," Farrell said. "Would we have liked more at-bats? Sure. But I think that the fact that he played in that environment and on that stage outweighs maybe a few less at-bats he might have otherwise had here.

"All that being said, we're happy for the experience that he went through."

Also:

• OF Mitch Maier had an MRI on his left wrist and has what is being described as a "severe sprain." He is out for at least a week. Maier was injured making a diving catch on Friday.

• Pedro Martinez is back in camp today.

• The Sox are sending only a handful of big leaguers to Tampa to face the Yankees on Wednesday. Along with pitchers Felix Doubront, Andrew Miller and Andrew Bailey, David Ross, Jose Iglesias, Jackie Bradley Jr., Daniel Nava and Ryan Sweeney will make the trip.

• The Sox will likely make another series of cuts on Wednesday.

• The Red Sox are hosting a visit from 6-foot-5 Keaton McKinney, a high school junior from Iowa who is one of the best prospects in his class. He is a righthanded pitcher and corner infielder.

Ask Nick: Trade Jackie Bradley, Jr. for Giancarlo Stanton?

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff March 19, 2013 11:10 AM
FORT MYERS, Fla – As we move closer to the start of the season, I sense a more optimistic view of the Red Sox by both the fans and the media. I for one have been impressed with the starting rotation and the fact that the things pitching coach Juan Nieves and manager John Farrell have emphasized – especially the accelerated tempo and pace for their pitchers – had resonated.

Have a
question?

100x150asknickmugshot.jpg Submit your question here to be considered for the next edition of Ask Nick.
Certainly, we can’t fall into the spring training trap of getting too optimistic or too pessimistic, but we always seem to do just that. It’s all about April 1 and beyond, but the preparation for the season has been positive.

The one downer is David Ortiz’ physical condition, but it seems every team in the division has an issue or two. It’s all about survival until those issues, whether they’re injury-related or performance-related, are resolved.

That’s why don’t buy into the Toronto hype or the Yankee demise.

Here’s the mailbag:

I love what Jackie Bradley, Jr. is doing this spring, but that also makes other teams more interested in him. Could you see the Red Sox packaging Bradley with others in a trade for Giancarlo Stanton and then re-sign Jacoby Ellsbury? If so, do you think the Red Sox could somehow keep Xander Bogaerts and maybe use their young pitching in the package instead?
Tad, Rumford, RI
He would have to be in such a package for Stanton, so yes. I think Bogaerts may also have to go unless the Red Sox overcompensate with pitching prospects like Henry Owen and/or Matt Barnes. The Red Sox are one of the teams who have the chips to make a Stanton deal happen. Whether they want to is another matter.

The only three players in MLB right now that I would consider backing up the truckload of Red Sox farm club prospects for in a trade are: Madison Bumgarner, Yoenis Cespedis and Giancarlo (don't call me Mike) Stanton. What do you think?
Bill, Modesto, Calif.
I’d say so. I’d probably do it for Miguel Cabrera and Felix Hernandez as well.

What numbers will Jacoby Ellsbury need to post to warrant a qualifying offer after the season (assuming Ellsbury is not traded during the season)? Ellsbury's 2011 numbers would certainly trigger a qualifying offer, but would his 2008 or 2009 numbers be enough to generate a qualifying offer to a free agent on the downhill side of his 30th birthday?
Kelly, Hillsboro, Ore.
Oh, he’ll get a qualifying offer. If another team signs him they would get a draft pick. They would be willing to pay $13.5 or whatever the number will be at that point if he should not get any offers and have to return to the Red Sox. They would take that risk.

With the likelihood of Stephen Drew starting the season on the DL growing ever larger, and Jose Iglesias taking over, what is the likelihood that, if Iglesias is able to hit respectably and continues to improve as he has shown this spring, of Drew getting traded once he comes back from his concussion?
Jacob, Ohio
Certainly a possibility. Because he was a free-agent signing, he can’t be dealt until June 15 unless he grants his permission. I’ve always thought Iglesias should be the starter anyway. I think Drew is a good player, solid hitter and above-average fielder. I’m not down on him at all, but I think they could have saved the $9.5 million there knowing they had an extraordinary defender at a defensive position. I know Sox execs believe a shortstop has to hit reasonably well in the American League, but he’s a run saver.

For more Q&A, click the full entry button.

FULL ENTRY

Grapefruit League Game 24: Orioles at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 19, 2013 08:30 AM

Good morning. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (13-10-1)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Napoli 1B
Saltalamcchia C
Middlebrooks 3B
Gomes LF
Sweeney DH
Iglesias SS
Pitching: RHP Ryan Dempster, RHP Terry Doyle, RHP Junichi Tazawa, RHP Daniel Bard.

ORIOLES (13-6-2)
Roberts 2B
Flaherty SS
McLouth CF
Davis 1B
Betemit DH
Machado 3B
Robinson LF
Teagarden C
Pridie RF
Pitching: LHP Brian Matusz, RHP Kevin Gausman, RHP Adam Russell, LHP Daniel Schlereth, RHP Daniel McCutchen.

Game time: 1:35 p.m. at JetBlue Park.

TV/Radio: None.

Notes: The Orioles were off on Monday. ... Dempster has allowed three earned runs on nine hits and two walks over 12.2 innings. He has struck out nine. ... Bard has yet to allow an earned run this spring.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 19, 2013 08:05 AM

Nick Cafardo writes that the Red Sox pitchers are in a good tempo this spring.

The notebook has David Ortiz still unable to get on the field.

Game Report: Pirates 4, Red Sox 3

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff March 18, 2013 05:27 PM

SCORE: Pirates 4, Red Sox 3

RECORD: 13-10-1

BREAKDOWN: The Red Sox held on to a 2-1 lead through six innings, largely in part because of Clay Buchholz’ one-hitter through five innings. Therighty, slated for the No. 2 spot, allowed one run, that coming in the second inning when he hung a pitch to second baseman Neil Walker, who blasted the homer to right field. Boston had taken a 2-0 lead in the first inning off Pirates starter James McDonald. The rally began with a Shane Victorino leadoff triple. After Jackie Bradley Jr. reached on an infield single and Jarrod Saltalamacchia walked to load the bases, Ryan Lavarnway lined two-run single to left. The Pirates used the long ball to take the lead and then for insurance purposes. Gabby Sanchez homered with a man on against Chris Carpenter followed by an eighth inning solo blast by Mike McKenry.

THUMBS UP: Buchholz ran his scoreless streak to 9.1 innings before allowing the Walker home run. Buchholz has been working on his tempo and pace and it’s made quite a difference to him. ... Daniel Nava, vying for a job as the backup outfielder/first baseman, helped his cause with two hits. ... Lavarnway, who had been struggling the entire camp, also chipped in with two hits.

THUMBS DOWN: Jarrod Saltalamacchia was 0 for 4 and left three men on base. ... Chris Carpenter allowed the two-run homer in his one inning of work and Villareal allowed three hits and one run in his one inning. The Red Sox left nine men on base.

MEDICAL REPORT: Status quo on both David Ortiz (heels) and Stephen Drew (concussion). Neither player was able to advance to the next level. Drew is still suffering concussion symptoms while inflammation in Ortiz’ right heel has not alleviated. Franklin Morales, who has had a bulging disk in his back, threw from 60 feet. Pedro Ciriaco is a couple of days from returning with back spasms.

AROUND THE BASES: McKechnie Field was the site of the Boston Braves’ final spring training in 1952. It has been refurbished many times and remains a gem…The game included a 48-minute rain delay at the start…Two former Red Sox draft picks – Pedro Alvarez and Sanchez were in the Pittsburgh lineup. Neither player signed with the Red Sox…Mark Melancon, acquired by the Pirates from the Red Sox in the Joel Hanrahan deal, struck out the first two Sox batters he faced and then ran into control problems with a hit and walk before getting out of the jam.

NEXT GAME: The Sox host the Orioles Tuesday at 1:35 p.m. Ryan Dempster will face lefty Brian Matusz.

Final: Pirates 4, Red Sox 3

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff March 18, 2013 01:23 PM

Top 9th: Pirates 4, Red Sox 3 - De La Cruz doubled to center and was driven in by Hazelbaker's single.

Bottom 8th: Pirates 4, Red Sox 2 - Former Pawtucket catcher Mike McKenry homered against Oscar Villareal.

Bottom 7th: Pirates 3, Red Sox 2 - Gabby Sanchez blasted a two-run homer vs. Chris Carpenter after he walked Josh Harrison to put the Bucs on top.

Top 7th: Red Sox 2, Pirates 1 - Former Red Sox Mark Melancon, who was traded to the Pirates in the Joel Hanrahan deal, came on for the Pirates and had one of his typical innings. He struck out the first two Sox batters and then lost his command, allowing a basehit to Daniel Nava and walked Jackie Bradley before finally getting out of it when Jarrod Saltalamacchia grounded out.

Bottom 6th: Red Sox 2, Pirates 1 - Clay Buchholz is done after five, allowing one hit, one run. He threw 60 pitches, 38 strikes. Koji Uehara has come on in the sixth. Uehara had a runner on third but struck out Jose Tabata to get out of the inning.

Top 5th: Red Sox 2, Pirates 1 - Both pitchers have settled down nicely pitching in less than stellar conditions with a strong wind and rain in the air. The Sox have four hits - Victorino (triple), Bradley (infield single), Lavarnway (two-run single) and Nava (single).

Top 3rd: Red Sox 2, Pirates 1 - McDonald seems to be finding himself after a shaky first. He walked Ryan Lavarnway, but was able to retire the side.

Bottom 2nd: Red Sox 2, Pirates 1 - Clay Buchholz' 9-1/3 inning scoreless string ended when Neil Walker homered on his first pitch of the second inning. Walker sent the drive to right field. It's very windy here. Interesting to note: the Pirates have their pitcher hitting while the Red Sox are using a DH.

Top 2nd: Red Sox 2, Pirates 0 - Red Sox put a couple of baserunners on when Ryan Dent walked and Daniel Nava was hit with a James McDonald pitch, but the Sox couldn't extend their lead. Shane Victorino struck out in the inning and Jackie Bradley Jr. grounded out to second base.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 2, Pirates 0 - Clay Buchholz extended his scoreless streak to 9-1/3 innings. He walked Felix Pie with one out, but struck out Russell Martin and got Pedro Alvarez to ground out to first base.

Top 1st: Red Sox 2, Pirates 0 - After a 48-minute rain(less) delay, Ryan Lavarnway's spring training just got better driving in two runs with a bases-loaded single to left field. Lavarnway, DHing, knocked in Shane Victorino, the leadoff hitter, who tripled to right against righthander James McDonald. Jackie Bradley Jr. reached on a high chop to shallow left for a hit. After Jarrod Saltalamacchia walked to load the bases, Lavarnway, hitting .152, made solid contact.

We've been in a rain delay (original starting time was 1:05 p.m.) and awaiting the start of the game. A front was heading through Bradenton, but it went South and except for a few sprinkles, it never rained that much. The tarp is off the field. The game is scheduled to start at 1:50 p.m.

David Ortiz trying to avoid another setback

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 18, 2013 01:18 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — David Ortiz said Monday that he while he understands his value to the Red Sox offense, he won't risk further injury by coming back too soon.

Ortiz tried that last season and suffered a setback he's still paying for.

"That's the thing we're pretty much are trying to avoid, coming back and not being able to stay in the lineup the way everybody expects me to be," he said. "I'm going to push it depending on how I feel. I'm going to try to be smart about it. When I go back in, I want to be in. Setbacks are very frustrating."

Ortiz strained his right Achilles' tendon last July 16. He came off the disabled list and played against the Royals on Aug. 24, collecting two hits and driving in two runs. But he aggravated the injury and did not play again last season.

"I was OK to play, but it wasn't like I was normal," Ortiz said. "Some percentage I was feeling good. But the result was I wasn't good to go.

"I wanted to play. You know how our mind is. I don't need to tell myself I feel 100 percent every day to play. Seeing the team waiting for me and me feeling all right about playing compared to what I was feeling before, it was like, take my chances."

Ortiz was limited to batting practice at the start of spring training. When he started running the bases, that led to inflammation in both heels, particularly the right. The Red Sox shut him down on March 10 and Ortiz has since been limited to off-field workouts.

Manager John Farrell said over the weekend that Ortiz might take batting practice on Monday. But he did not.

Ortiz has been jogging on an underwater treadmill and doing "all kinds of stuff" with team trainers and therapists. There is no date for when he will return to the field.

Ortiz, whose shorts and t-shirt were soaked after a pool workout, put his foot on a chair and showed reporters that the inflammation is between his Achilles tendon and a bone in his heel. The majority of the pain is on the side of his heel.

"[The left heel] was just compensating for other side," he said. "Once I stopped doing things, it started feeling better right away. But the other one, on the other hand, it's getting there. It's just a matter of time."

Ortiz said his actual Achilles feels fine and the pain he once felt is no longer there. He joked that it feels like it's a new tendon.

"It's dark, pretty nice," he said.

Now there is pain related to the original injury and all the time off he had.

"Inflammation causes you pain. We're just waiting for that inflammation to walk away," Ortiz said. "The setback is pretty much what frustrates me the most. You think you're doing the right thing to get better and next thing you know it's like walking backwards. That's the part of this game right here that I don't like. I hate playing it."

As his teammates prepare for the season opener on April 1 in New York, Ortiz waits.

"Even the offseason was really strange. I wasn't able to do anything because you've got to get the therapy five days a week," he said. "That's a big part of my frustration. You bust your tail this offseason just to make sure you're good to go. It's really frustrating."

But Ortiz believes he is going in the right direction.

"It seems like it," he said. "This is something that time, and I would say doing the right thing, it'll be fine."

Ortiz said the season is not defined by Opening Day. His hope is to be fully healthy by the middle of April or early May.

"We're going to be there. But we're going to be there at the right time, hopefully," he said.

Ortiz was asked if he thinks rookie outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. should take his place on the roster.

"I heard he's a really good player. I haven't been able to really watch him because they keep me indoors just doing a whole bunch of things. By the time I finish, the game is over. I talk to him once in a while. I heard he's got skills. You never know," he said. "When you got it, you got it."

Bradley is 22. Ortiz was asked what he was doing at that age.

"I was hitting bombs in the big leagues," he said.

Will he do that at the age of 37? For now, the wait continues.

No progress on Stephen Drew or David Ortiz

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff March 18, 2013 12:08 PM

BRADENTON, Fla. – Nuggets from John Farrell’s pregame press gathering:

• Stephen Drew: “Reports were that he had similar symptoms. If there’s no improvement by the end of the day tomorrow we’ll have him see Dr. [Michael] Collins in Pittsburgh,” Farrell said.

Farrell said Drew is not feeling any additional exertion symptoms when he does the stationary bike, but he is not ready to go to the next step.

• David Ortiz: Farrell completely ruled out taking batting practice today, as had been planned. “Still not ready for the next phase,” Farrell said.

Asked if it was a concern that Ortiz has now surpassed the 5-7 day period of rest with no major improvement he said, “A concern in that it’s going to be a couple more days than originally thought or projected.

"When he was shut down there was a 5-7 day period where we monitored how the medication was going to take hold and how the anti-inflammatory treatments were bringing that along. To what extent progress is being made, and there’s some, but not to the point where he’s ready to take it to the next step.”

• Lefty Franklin Morales threw from 60 feet as he returns from a bulging disc in his back. Farrell said the lefty will repeat the process at least twice more before advancing to the next level of throwing off a mound.

• Farrell’s assessment of the starting rotation: "It’s spring training. Overall it’s been consistent. Individual guys have taken the adjustments they’ve worked on, taken them into the games, and that’s has been encouraging. There’s been some reverting back at times to old habits. With each successive appearances they’re starting to solidify those changes which is why we’ve seen the consistency.”

"We’ve tried to get back to a basic formula. Attack the zone, throw more strikes. Work quick. Dictate the tone or tempo of the game. Guys are realizing if they’re in control it takes away the downtime where other thoughts might creep in. The defense likes it and umpires have made some candid comments."

• 1B/OF backup job: “We’re looking at those four guys – (Daniel) Nava, (Mike) Carp, (Lyle) Overbay and (Ryan) Sweeney. On a given day it’s a two-horse race or a four-horse race. Some separation at times but then good at-bats by Overbay and Sweeney. The defensive versatility is important, but we we’re going to measure this probably on the at-bats, which will be the overriding issue here,” Farrell said.

• Farrell said because of a deficiency in righthanded bats off the bench, Ryan Lavarnway and Mauro Gomez still are in the mix for a backup role.

• If Drew starts the year on the DL, Jose Iglesias will likely be the starter. Asked whether Pedro Ciriaco could start, Farrell said, “Jose has done very good job. Reading his comments he feels confident in the box. His work has been outstanding.”

Ciriaco should return soon from back spasms.

A few notes from the Fort

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 18, 2013 09:24 AM
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Nick is on the way to Bradenton for the game today. But here are a few notes from the clubhouse in Fort Myers:

• Pitching coach Juan Nieves is excited about righthanded reliever Jose De La Torre and his performance in the WBC for Puerto Rico.

There are two reasons for that. De La Torre could help the Red Sox at some point this season and Nieves is from Puerto Rico and proud of the team for reaching the WBC championship game on Tuesday.

"There are some good young players on that team. They're on the rise," Nieves said. "It's good for the people there."

De La Torre faced five batters on Sunday's 3-1 victory against Japan and struck out three of them. The 27-year-old has appeared in five WBC games. Over 5.1 innings, De La Torre has allowed three runs on seven hits. But he also has struck out 11 with one walk.

De La Torre is a minor league journeyman who has played for the Mets, Indians and now the Red Sox and never advanced beyond Triple A. He pitched well for Pawtucket last season after being obtained from Cleveland for infielder Brent Lillibridge.

(So at this point, De La Torre represents the return on Kevin Youkilis).

• Andrew Bailey and Andrew Miller will pitch back-to-back games on Wednesday (at Tampa) and Thursday (at home against the Phillies).

• Red Sox starters (Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Ryan Dempster, Felix Doubront and John Lackey) this spring: 53.1 IP, 13 ER (a 2.19 ERA), 15 walks, 43 strikeouts. That counts Lackey's start against Puerto Rico.

Spring stats are relatively meaningless. But it's worth noting that at this point last year, the Sox did not know who their No. 5 starter was (which proved to be Daniel Bard) and were banking on good things from Josh Beckett.

Nieves and John Farrell have the starters working quicker, being aggressive in the strike zone and generally showing a better sense of purpose than over the previous two seasons.

• Did you know that Anthony Carter, Chris Hernandez and Jonathan Diaz are still in camp?

Carter is a RHP who spent seven seasons with the White Sox in the minors before signing a minor league deal with the Sox. He has thrown 8.1 scoreless innings without allowing an earned run. Carter has six strikeouts and no walks.

Carter was signed by White Sox scout John Tumminia, who is the father-in-law of Red Sox GM Ben Cherington. That little nugget was unearthed by Maureen Mullen of Comcast on Sunday.

Grapefruit League Game 23: Red Sox at Pirates

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 18, 2013 07:41 AM

Good morning. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (13-9-1)
Victorino RF
Nava LF
Bradley Jr. CF
Saltalamacchia C
Lavarnway DH
Shaw 1B
Meneses SS
Dent 2B
Hee 3B
Pitching: RHP Clay Buchholz, RHP Koji Uehara, RHP Oscar Villareal, RHP Chris Carpenter.

PIRATES (9-13)
Marte CF
Pie LF
Martin C
Alvarez 3B
Walkr 2B
Sanchez 1B
Hawpe RF
DeJesus SS
McDonald RHP
Pitching: RHP James McDonald followed by RHP Jason Grilli and RHP Mark Melancon.

Game time: 1:05 p.m at McKechnie Field.

TV/Radio: None.

Notes: Buchholz will be making his fourth start of the spring. He has thrown 8.1 shutout innings so far, allowing six hits and two walks while striking out seven. ... Shaw, Meneses, Dent and Hee were called up from minor league camp for the game. All of the reserves will be minor-league call-ups, too. ... Yes, the Sox have a DH and the Pirates do not. That's spring training.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 18, 2013 07:28 AM

With Stephen Drew recovering from a concussion, a door has opened for Jose Iglesias.

Nick Cafardo writes that the Red Sox should keep Jackie Bradley Jr.

The notebook has Jon Lester pitching a perfect six innings.

A perfect day for Jon Lester

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 17, 2013 07:57 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Red Sox manager John Farrell, for reasons that are unclear, has not named Jon Lester as the Opening Day starter. Carrie Mathison couldn't get it out of him.

The big lefthander started the last two openers and has been lined up to face the Yankees on April 1 for several weeks. But Farrell hasn’t budged.

“Nothing’s been confirmed yet,” he said on Sunday.

Even Lester is playing along, saying he has no idea what game he will start.

“I haven’t been told anything,” he said.

Lester’s performance against the Tampa Bay Rays left little doubt. He threw six perfect innings in a 5-1 victory. Lester struck out six and threw 53 of his 79 pitches for strikes against a fairly representative Rays lineup. He got four groundball outs and four pop-ups. Only a few balls were hit well.

Farrell was impressed at how precise Lester was in full counts and his ability to throw different pitches when he did fall behind.

“He pitched with a lot of confidence,” the manager said.

Lester wasn’t overly impressed. The game didn’t count, after all.

“I wouldn’t say it was the best I felt. But I felt pretty good,” he said. “Was able to get in a good rhythm early on. Established our fastball and kind of went from there. I had a good breaking ball today, which was good to see. Been working on that.”

See the Globe on Monday for more on Lester. Meanwhile ...

• Shane Victorino was 1 for 3 in his return to the Red Sox from the World Baseball Classic. He will hit the road for the game against the Pirates in Bradenton on Monday.

Victorino will play right and left field over the next two weeks. The Sox plan to start him in right field at Fenway Park and occasionally in left field on the road depending on the park.

“I’m an outfielder,” he said. “It doesn’t matter to me.”

Victorino didn’t get a lot of time in the outfield during the WBC and is anxious to play as often as possible before the season starts.

"I told [Farrell] today that whatever he sees fit for me, I'm ready to go,” Victorino said. “If he wants me to play every day, I'm ready to play every day from now until the end of the season.”

• Jonny Gomes was 3 for 3 with a double and four RBIs, all coming against righthanded pitchers. “I know he wants more opportunities against righthanders,” Farrell said. “You keep in driving in four runs in three at-bats and you’ll keep getting those opportunities.”

Gomes and Rays manager Joe Maddon spent some time talking about wine before the game. Both are connoisseurs. Gomes played for Maddon from 2006-08.

• Will Middlebrooks was 2 for 3 with two doubles. He is 6 of his last 17 with five extra-base hits. None of the extra-base hits were cheapies, either.

• The hope was that David Ortiz (heels) might take batting practice on Monday. But now that is in doubt. “He still felt some discomfort when he was running on the treadmill [on Saturday]. So we’ll see where he’s at as far as being able to get in the cage and take some initial swings [on Monday] or the next couple of days,” Farrell said.

• Franklin Morales (lower back) could start a throwing program in the next couple of days.

• Mitch Maier (left wrist) will out at least a few more days.

• The Red Sox wore their green uniforms and caps on St. Patrick’s Day. The tradition was started in 1990 when Roger Clemens purchased green caps for the entire team.

Final: Red Sox 5, Rays 1

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 17, 2013 01:20 PM

Game over: Red Sox 5, Rays 1: Lester, Carter and Hanrahan took the perfect game for eight innings. Marco Duarte, a 26-year-old minor league journeyman, got one out in the ninth before Jason Bourgeois singled up the middle. A passed ball and a double by Figueroa scored a run.

Top of the 8th: Red Sox 5, Rays 0: Red Sox added a run as Jon Diaz reached second on a single and an error and scored on Overbay's single.

Hanrahan coming in. Off to the clubhouse to speak to Lester.

Middle of the 7th: Red Sox 4, Rays 0: Anthony Carter retired the Rays in order. Sox pitchers are six outs away from perfection. Is that exciting? I guess so.

Top of the 7th: Red Sox 4, Rays 0: The Sox tacked on two more runs in the sixth. Napoli singled, Middlebrooks (who looks great of late) doubled and Gomes singled in two. He was 3 for 3 with four RBIs today.

Anthony Carter replaced Lester.

Lester's line: 6 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K, 79 pitches, 53 K: This spring: 20 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 16 K.

Middle of the 6th: Red Sox 2, Rays 0: Red Sox are loving what they're seeing from Lester. 18 up and 18 down on 79 pitches. That's probably it for today for him.

Middle of the 5th: Red Sox 2, Rays 0: 15 up and 15 down for Lester with five strikeouts. He has been dominant. Only a few balls hit hard.

Top of the 5th: Red Sox 2, Rays 0: The Sox tacked on a run when Middlebrooks reached on a two-base error by Bourgeois in right field and Gomes doubled high off the wall. Ross walked to extend the inning before Iglesias fanned.

Top of the 5th: Red Sox 1, Rays 0: Lester has retired all 12 batters he has faced. Iglesias made a nice play on a line drive in the hole to end the top of the fourth.

Top 3rd: Red Sox 1, Rays 0: Another impressive 1-2-3 as Lester has now retired all nine batters and thrown 39 pitches, 28 for strikes.

Bottom 2nd: Red Sox 1, Rays 0: Will Middlebrooks with a two-out double and a Jonny Gomes single put Sox on the board vs. Cobb.

Top 2nd: Red Sox 0, Rays 0 - Lester retired the side again.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 0, Rays 0: Alex Cobb easily got through Boston's top of the order inducing ground outs by Jacoby Ellsbury and Shane Victorino and a called third strike to Dustin Pedroia.

Top 1st: Red Sox 0, Rays 0: Strong first inning for Jon Lester who struck out Kelly Johnson and Evan Longoria in a 1-2-3 first inning. He struck out Johnson
looking and got Longoria to swing and miss.

Pre-game: Good afternoon from JetBlue Park and today's game between the Rays and Red Sox. It's St. Paddy's Day and the Sox have on green uniforms and caps. The bases are green, too.

Jon Lester will go 5-6 innings today and the lineup looks an awful lot like what we could see on Opening Day.

It's beat writer day on NESN, too. So check out your favorite (well, hopefully) Globe writers on the broadcast.

We'll have updates here, too.

Why Daniel Bard has a new t-shirt and Alfredo Aceves is wearing his cup

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 17, 2013 12:47 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Daniel Bard was in the clubhouse this afternoon wearing a t-shirt that said "I'm Daniel" on the front and "Not Josh" on the back.

So, Daniel, what's the deal?

"People keep calling me Josh," he said. "When I was warming up yesterday a fan said, 'Have a good season, Josh.' It happens all the time."

Josh Bard is a 34-year-old catcher who played seven games for the Red Sox in 2006. He was not in the majors last season. Daniel Bard is a 27-year-old pitcher who has played part of four seasons with the Red Sox, appearing in 209 games. Other than their last name, they don't have a whole lot in common.

So here's a tip for autograph seekers: Tell Daniel you know he's not Josh.

Then we have the Alfredo Aceves Anecdote Of The Day.

Aceves was getting dressed for the game and grabbed his protective cup. That is most unusual for a pitcher who will not be in the game. Cups aren't all that comfortable, especially when all you're going to do is watch the game.

So, Alfredo, what's the deal?

"You have to be prepared," he said. "What if [Jon] Lester hits somebody and there's a fight? Somebody might try and kick me in the [place where you don't want to be kicked.]"

Then Aceves pointed to his head.

"Prepared," he said.

Here's hoping the Red Sox keep Ace around. He's endlessly entertaining.

Jackie Bradley Jr. in Opening Day mix

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 17, 2013 11:31 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The odds are against Jackie Bradley Jr. being on the Opening Day roster. He has played only 61 games at Double A and the Red Sox have been traditionally cautious with their young players.

But with David Ortiz headed for the disabled list and Stephen Drew going in that direction, the Red Sox have two unexpected openings on their roster. All Bradley has done is hit .457/.568/.600 and play Gold Glove-caliber defense in the outfield.

Could he make the team?

"That’s a hell of a question,” manager John Farrell said. “We’ve got two weeks to determine that.”

Bradley could start in left field if the Red Sox use Jonny Gomes as the DH. If Ortiz is going to be out more than a few weeks, that becomes a viable option.

"He’s not on the roster right now. He’s have to be added, obviously. What the counter move to that would be, would be factored into this. But you can’t deny the fact he’s had a hell of a spring training," Farrell said. "The bottom line thing would be — with any young player, whether it’s Jackie or any other position player — when they come to the big leagues you want to make sure they get regular at-bats.

"If those are there, they become part of the equation. But I think most importantly, he’s doing whatever he can to impact a decision.”

Starting Bradley in the big leagues also would mean starting his service time clock and that could result in his achieving free agency a year earlier. But are the Red Sox — a last place team with fading popularity — in a position to worry about six years down the road?

In the next two weeks, as pitching improves, Bradley will be tested.

"The one thing we’ve always focused on is when he starts to face pitchers that are up against the start of the season, as their stuff is sharpened. Facing quality guys, whether it’s the early part of the game or deeper into the game. That decision is ongoing. That situation is ongoing and ultimately a decision is in the near future here," Farrell said.

Players like Mike Trout, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado have changed the face of their respective teams. Farrell acknowledged that is a factor, too.

"I think young talented players bring an energy that, if you have the right mix with a veteran group is definitely a benefit. That’s going to be unique to the combination of players that are at hand," he said.

Bradley was supposed to be in minor league camp by now. But as injuries mount, his chances get a little better.

Farrell: Drew a question for Opening Day

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 17, 2013 10:32 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The season starts on April 1 for the Red Sox, 15 days from today. The odds of shortstop Stephen Drew being ready have grown slim.

Drew has not played since March 7, when he was hit in the helmet by a pitch and suffered a concussion.

"We thought this was going to be a couple of days thing at the most and at the time he was hit, never even thought twice about it," manager John Farrell said. "But here we are 10 days later and we’re still in the same situation.”

Drew stretched with the Sox today and played catch. But that was it.

"When those symptoms are fully subsided is when he starts to ramp things up more intently and we’re not there yet," Farrell said. "At some point you start to look at we’re getting to this last stage of camp. You have to start thinking about all the options.

"The biggest question is when does he get back in a game. He still has kind of, as he described it, kind of a wavy feeling in his vision or in that field mentally that he has when he moves quickly or has a quick reaction to something to stay under control.”

Drew has had an MRI and has been in contact with Dr. Michael "Mickey" Collins, the director of the Sports Concussion Program at the Center for Sports Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

“He’s in daily communication with [Collins],” Farrell said. “The symptoms are described; the physical testing he goes through. This is one of those that time has got to be given for those symptoms to subside.”

The only positive for Drew has been that his symptoms do not get worse when he elevates his heart rate with exercise.

“But at the same time, he’s not ready to get back in a game,” Farrell said.

If Drew is not available, who starts at shortstop against the Yankees? The top choice could be Jose Iglesias. He is hitting .237/.275/.474 in spring training but has shown a better approach at the plate.

"He’s done a good job. We talked about his set-up in the box in the early part of camp. We’ve seen more consistent hard contact. He can’t be totally measured in the batting average but he’s looked aggressive at the plate," Farrell said.

The only other shortstops in camp are Pedro Ciriaco and Brock Holt. But Ciriaco might be more valuable to the Red Sox coming off the bench. Holt has played only 13 innings at shortstop in spring training. But he was Pittsburgh's Double A shortstop last season.

Holt is a lefthanded hitter, which helps his cause. But he has hit only .200/.238/.275 in camp.

“We haven’t made any official change to shortstop position. But everyone that’s in camp will be part of that discussion," Farrell said.

Grapefruit League Game 22: Rays at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 17, 2013 08:50 AM

Good morning and happy St. Patrick's Day. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (12-9-1)
Jacoby O'Ellsbury CF
Shane O'Victorino RF
Dustin O'Pedroia 2B
Mike O'Napoli 1B
Jarrod O'Saltalamacchia DH
Will O'Middlebrooks 3B
Jonny O'Gomes LF
David O'Ross C
Jose O'Iglesias SS
Pitching: LHP Jon O'Lester followed by RHP Joel O'Hanrahan, RHP Anthony O'Carter.

RAYS (13-8)
Yunel Escobar SS
Kelly Johnson 1B
Evan Longoria 3B
Sean Rodriguez CF
James Loney DH
Jose Lobaton C
Mike Fontenot 2B
Jason Bourgeois RF
Rich Thompson LF
Pitching: RHP Alex Cobb followed by RHP Josh Lueke, LHP Cesar Ramos, RHP Juan Sandoval.

Game time: 1:35 p.m. at JetBlue Park.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI.

Notes: The Sox will wear their traditional green hats for the game. It is believed that started in 1990 when Roger Clemens purchased green caps and stirrups for the entire team. ... Lester has looked good in his four starts (14 innings, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 10 K) and is lined up for Opening Day. Wouldn't be too much of a surprise if Farrell finally announces it today. The rotation of Lester, Clay Buchholz, Ryan Dempster, Felix Doubront and John Lackey has been set for weeks now. ... This is the last spring training game between the teams. They will meet again at Fenway Park on April 12.

Baseball coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 17, 2013 08:37 AM

Nick Cafardo writes that John Lackey is making the most of his second chances.

Andrew Bailey is trying to put a bad 2012 season behind him.

The notebook has Alfredo Aceves in the middle of another incident.

In the Sunday Baseball Notes, Nick rates the managers (Subscription only).

Iggy pop? Iglesias shows some power

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 16, 2013 06:51 PM

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. —  Jose Iglesias was 2 for 4 with a triple in today's game against the Rays. It was his sixth extra-base hit of the spring in 38 at-bats.

The shortstop had three extra-base hits in 68 major-league at-bats last season and 11 in 353 at-bats fort Triple A Pawtucket.

Iglesias spent much of the winter improving his upper-body strength. He also has worked on driving the ball with more authority.

“The aggressiveness in the swing and the hard contact has shown up here the times he’s been on the field, it’s been very encouraging,” Farrell said.

Also:

• Outfielder Shane Victorino returned to Fort Myers on Saturday after the United States was eliminated from the World Baseball Classic on Friday night.

“We’re anxious to get him back in camp and get him some regular at-bats as well,” said Farrell, who plans to play Victorino against the Rays on Sunday. “He’s in game shape. He just needs more consistency.”

Victorino was 1 of 11 in four games for the United States and 2 for 5 in two exhibition games the team played. In all, he has had 27 at-bats this spring, which is right in line with other Red Sox players.

A bigger concern for the Sox would be getting Victorino in right field so he can develop good communication with center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury. Farrell also wants Victorino to play left field in some spring training road games. Once the season starts, Victorino will play left field in some road parks.

Two Red Sox players are in the WBC semifinals: Netherlands infielder Xander Bogaerts and Puerto Rico reliever Jose De La Torre. Bogaerts, a shortstop, has been playing third for the Dutch. But with Rangers prospect Jurickson Profar added to the roster, there is an abundance of infielders.

The 20-year-old Bogaerts is 5 of 19 in the tournament and has played in all seven games. He was 2 for 4 with an RBI in an exhibition game against the Mariners on Friday night.

“I think the overall experience has been a huge benefit for him,” Farrell said.

• Without saying it directly, Farrell indicated it was unlikely the Sox would keep Ryan Lavarnway as an extra catcher so that he or Jarrod Saltalamacchia could fill in for David Ortiz as the DH.

Game report: Red Sox 9, Rays 2

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 16, 2013 06:49 PM

SCORE: Red Sox 9, Rays 2

RECORD: 12-9-1

BREAKDOWN: A junior varsity lineup punched out 15 hits as the Sox improved to 4-0-1 in their last five games. Lyle Overbay had a two-run single in the first inning off Roberto Hernandez, the pitcher once known as Fausto Carmona. Ronald Bermudez, a minor leaguer called up for the game, added three hits and two RBIs. Mauro Gomez also drove in two runs. Alfredo Aceves and five relievers allowed eight hits with one walk.

THUMBS UP: Blake Swihart, a 20-year-old catching prospect, was called up for the game and had a good debut. He caught two innings and had a two-run double in the ninth inning. Swihart was a first-round pick in 2011. “I know it’s only two innings of work. But as a 20-year-old who’s coming into his first A game in the major league side, he handled it well,” Farrell said. … Daniel Bard continued his good work with a scoreless seventh inning. He has allowed two hits in five scoreless innings this spring with two walks and seven strikeouts.

THUMBS DOWN: Not much to fault for the Sox. A pop-up did fall in front of the mound in the second inning. But Overbay, who should have taken charge of the ball, alertly threw out Leslie Anderson as he tried to make second.

MEDICAL REPORT: Stephen Drew (concussion) exercised while being monitored. It remains uncertain when he will play again. … David Ortiz (right heel) has been running on a low-impact underwater treadmill and increasing the scope of his activities. He could return to batting practice as soon as Monday. … Pedro Ciriaco (bask spasms) improved after not playing on Friday.

AROUND THE BASES: Home clubhouse man Tom McLaughlin handed out green caps to the players in the morning in advance of Sunday’s St. Patrick’s Day Game against the Rays. … The Sox had an all-Arizona State double play combination for six innings on Friday with Deven Marrero at shortstop and Dustin Pedroia at second base. “Following the Sun Devil way!,” Marrero wrote on Twitter. … Former Red Sox player Bernie Carbo signed autographs on the concourse. He still has a good head of hair.

NEXT GAME: The Sox host the Rays on Sunday at 1:35 p.m. Jon Lester will face Alex Cobb. NESN and WEEI have the game.

Tempers flare around Aceves again

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 16, 2013 06:29 PM

aceves609.jpg

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — As incidents go, it wasn’t much. There were a few harsh words and some menacing looks between the Red Sox and Rays on Saturday. But when Alfredo Aceves is involved, it becomes something more because of his history.

Aceves hit Sean Rodriguez in the left shoulder with a pitch in the fifth inning. Rodriguez had hit a home run in his previous at-bat, making it look like retaliation.

But Aceves threw a split-finger fastball, a pitch with a downward trajectory that escaped his control. Had he been intending to hit Rodriguez, he would likely have thrown a four-seam fastball.

“I was not trying to hit him, obviously,” Aceves said.

Even Rays manager Joe Maddon agreed.

“He said it was a splitter. The gun indicated that it was, and it got away from him. Probably would be more concerned if it was a fastball, but it was a splitter that hit him in the back.”

But once Rodriguez got to first base, he and Aceves began yelling back and forth at each other. When Rodriguez took a step toward the mound, first base coach Dave Myers restrained him.

Several Rays players jumped over the dugout fence onto the field. But the umpires ushered them back, Aceves was pulled from the game and the game ended without any other batters being hit.

“I understand he’s probably upset and frustrated,” Aceves said. “It’s just part of the game.”

Did Rodriguez overreact?

“I don’t know what he was saying. I said, ‘Hey, man, what are you saying?’ It was not intentional,” Aceves said.

Rodriguez didn’t see it quite that simply.

“I was just kind of upset when he was still jawing at me when I got to first and that’s why I kind of got riled up when I was over there,” he said. “I was ready to go because there was some stuff he said that I'll leave unsaid.

“It wasn’t until I got to first that he started doing it, though. He was very apologetic until I got to first.”

Rodriguez hit a two-run homer off Aceves in the ninth inning at Fenway Park last May 27, giving the Rays a 4-3 victory.

“I think he remembered that maybe,” said Rodriguez, who shouted into the Red Sox dugout at Aceves when running off the field after the inning.

Sox manager John Farrell did not fault Aceves.

“It got away from him. I can tell you this: We don’t intentionally look to hit any hitters in any situation,” he said. “Whether or not be got Rodriguez out, he was coming out of that game. I can’t stress enough it’s not something that we’re intentionally looking to do there.”

Aceves was involved in several incidents last season including a confrontation with Bobby Valentine that resulted in a three-game suspension.

Aceves seemed to challenge Farrell’s authority early in spring training when he lobbed pitches during what was supposed to be a live batting practice session. Farrell immediately pulled the righthander aside for a stern talk.

Aceves then was in the middle of a brawl between Mexico and Canada in the WBC earlier this month, absorbing a series of punches from Canadian players.

Aceves allowed two runs over 4.1 innings against the Rays.

Final: Red Sox 9, Rays 2

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 16, 2013 01:01 PM

Game over: Red Sox 9, Rays 2: Sox tacked on four in the ninth inning as their JV lineup rolled to a victory. Blake Swihart, the 20-year-old catching prospect, had a two-run double.

Top of the 8th: Red Sox 5, Rays 2: Iglesias had a triple and scored on a sac fly by Lavarnway. That's six extra-base hits for Iggy.

Bard retired the side in order in the bottom of the inning. Off to the clubhouse, back later.

Top of the 7th: Red Sox 4, Rays 2: Bermudez drove in another run with a single. The Sox have nine hits. Andrew Bailey then worked around a two-out double by Anderson by striking out Gimenez swinging.

Top of the 6th: Red Sox 3, Rays 2: With the Sox up, 3-2, and one out, Aceves hit Rodriguez with a pitch. It was Rodriguez who homered in the third inning.

Rodriguez was upset and Lavarnway jogged along the line to keep an eye on things. When Rodriguez shouted at Aceves, the pitcher shouted back. Rodriguez then took a step toward the mound and was retrained by the first base coach, Dave Myers.

A few of the Rays popped out of the dugout but the umpires kept order. Aceves was then taken out of the game. Andrew Miller finished the inning out.

Aceves' line: 41. IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 HR.

Top of the 5th: Red Sox 3, Rays 2: The Sox went in order against Hernandez. Aceves walked Loney. A double by Anderson pushed Loney to third. But when Gimenez grounded to third, Drew Sutton threw Loney out at the plate. Figueroa then grounded to second to end the inning.

Top of the 4th: Red Sox 3, Rays 2: Lavarnway had a single for the Sox, but that was it. Then Jennings bunted for a hit before Rodriguez homered.

Top of the 3rd: Red Sox 3, Rays 0: Linares reached on a two-base throwing error by Roberts. Bermudez then singled in a run.

Aceves had a 1-2-3 inning, somewhat unconventionally. With one out, Anderson reached on a single when his high pop in front of the plate fell in. Overbay probably should have caught the ball. He alertly picked it up and threw Anderson out at second.

Top of the 2nd: Red Sox 2, Rays 0: Iglesias and Bradley (16 of 32) had singles. After Lavarnway grounded out, Overbay had a two-run double.

Aceves worked around a single by Rodriguez and a ground-rule double by Scott by getting Loney to ground sharply back to the mound. Ace snared the hot shot and then threw the ball harder to first base.

Pre-game: Good afternoon from Charlotte Sports Park. A team of Sox prospects and bench guys will play the Rays. Alfredo Aceves will be on the mound against Roberto "Fausto" Hernandez.

We'll have updates throughout. Feel free to leave a comment.

Red Sox option Dan Butler and Alex Wilson

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 16, 2013 10:08 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox made two more moves today, optioning catcher Dan Butler and righthander Alex Wilson to Triple A Pawtucket.

Butler hit .300 (3 for 10) in eight games. John Farrell has praised his work behind the plate several times. Wilson pitched 7.2 innings over six appearances and allowed one earned run on six hits. He struck out nine and walked two.

Butler will likely be the backup to Ryan Lavarnway at Pawtucket. Wilson will be in the Paw Sox bullpen.

Grapefruit League Game 21: Red Sox at Rays

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 16, 2013 07:55 AM

Good morning. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (11-9-1)
Holt 2B
Iglesias SS
Bradley CF
Lavarnway C
Overbay 1B
Gomez DH
Sutton 3B
Linares LF
Bermudez RF
Pitching: RHP Alfredo Aceves, LHP Andrew Miller, RHP Andrew Bailey, RHP Daniel Bard.

RAYS (13-7)
Jennings CF
Rodriguez 2B
Joyce RF
Scott DH
Loney 1B
Roberts 3B
Anderson LF
Gimenez C
Figueroa SS
Pitching: RHP Roberto Hernandez, RHP Dane De La Rosa, RHP Jamey Wright, LHP Jake McGee, RHP Will Inman.

Game time: 1:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: WEEI.

Notes: With John Lackey pitching in a minor league game, the Sox will give Aceves a start against the Rays. This will be his first Grapefruit League game since returning from the World Baseball Classic. ... The Sox host the Rays on Sunday afternoon.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 16, 2013 07:17 AM

Bryce Brentz has bounced back from a gun mishap and on Saturday showed the Red Sox what he could do.

The notebook has the Red Sox holding onto their relievers as teams check them out.

Shane Victorino headed back to Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 15, 2013 10:52 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The United States was beaten, 4-3, by Puerto Rico on Friday and eliminated from the World Baseball Classic.

Shane Victorino was 1 for 11 in the tournament and 2 for 5 in the two exhibition games Team USA played beforehand.

Victorino played in five games with the Red Sox before he left for the WBC. He could be back in the Sox' lineup on Sunday.

Meanwhile, in Arizona, Xander Bogaerts is playing shortstop for the Dutch in an exhibition game against the Mariners.

With Jurickson Profar added to the roster, the Netherlands has a logjam in the infield.

Profar, Bogaerts, Andrelton Simmons, and Jonathan Schoop are all shortstops. Bogaerts has been playing third base, Simmons shortstop, and Schoop second base in the tournament. With Profar now on the roster, Bogaerts could DH.

The Red Sox have asked the Dutch to use their prized prospect only on the left side of the infield or DH. The Dutch play Monday in the semifinals in San Francisco.

Doubleheader report: Red Sox get a tie and win

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 15, 2013 10:32 PM

SCORES: Red Sox 3, Orioles 3 (10 innings); Red Sox 5, Twins 0.

RECORD: 11-9-1.

BREAKDOWN: In the first game of a doubleheader, the Red Sox took the lead in the 10th inning but could not hold on in Sarasota. Juan Carlos Linares homered to give the Sox a 2-1 lead. But with two outs in the bottom of the inning, Oscar Villarreal allowed a single by Russ Canzler before Maine native Ryan Flaherty homered to right field. In the nightcap in Fort Myers, Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s two-run homer helped propel the Sox. He was 2 for 3. Felix Doubront pitched four scoreless innings.

THUMBS UP: Christian Vazquez did it again, throwing out Brian Roberts trying to steal second in the fifth inning. The 22-year-old catcher has thrown out all five runners trying to steal on him in spring training and had a pickoff. But he was optioned to Double A Portland after the game.

THUMBS DOWN: Ryan Lavarnway was 0 for 5 with a strikeout. He grounded into two double plays and left five men on base. Lavarnway is 4 for 30 in Grapefruit League games.

MEDICAL REPORT: Mitch Maier injured his left wrist in the second inning when he made a diving catch in left field to steal a hit from J.J. Hardy. He stayed in the game but felt more pain in his wrist when he was jammed by a fastball in the third inning and singled. He left the game after that. “I kind of jammed it and rolled it under me,” said Maier, who has hit .280 in camp. X-rays were negative but Maier has a sprain and is expected to miss at least a few days … Pedro Ciriaco was scratched from the second game lineup because of back spasms. Deven Marrero filled in. He played four innings in the first game and seven in the second.

AROUND THE BASES: John Lackey will pitch in a minor league game on Saturday rather than face the Tampa Bay Rays … Travis Shaw, a first baseman who hit .305 with a .957 OPS for Single A Salem last season, was 0 for 1 against the Orioles. The Red Sox will have Shaw play some more games at third base this season to increase his versatility. Shaw’s father, Jeff, and Farrell were teammates in 1990 with the Indians. … Salty is hitting .417 in the Grapefruit League.

NEXT GAME: Saturday at 1:05 p.m. against Tampa Bay at Port Charlotte. The Red Sox will start Alfredo Aceves. The Rays are starting Roberto Hernandez, the righthander once known as Fausto Carmona.

Stephen Drew shows some improvement

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 15, 2013 10:13 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Stephen Drew did not have an increase in his concussion symptoms when he went through physical tests on Friday. Red Sox manager John Farrell said that is a considered a good sign.

But Drew still does have some symptoms and remains "a ways away" from playing. At some point soon, Drew could become a question mark for Opening Day. The Sox have 15 days remaining before they break camp and Drew has 18 plate appearances this spring.

Also:

• Mitch Maier has what the Red Sox are calling a sprained left wrist. He is expected to miss a few days.

• Pedro Ciriaco (back spasms) is day to day.

Final: Red Sox 5, Twins 0

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff March 15, 2013 07:24 PM

Game over: Red Sox 5, Twins 0: The Red Sox finished off a long day with a victory against the Twins. They had three pitchers throw a six-hitter. Salty's two-run homer was the big hit of the game.

Top of the 9th: Red Sox 5, Twins 0: The Sox reserves tacked on two runs. Heiker Meneses had an RBI double and Dan Butler a sacrifice fly

Middle of the 8th: Red Sox 3, Twins 0: Carpenter loaded the bases in the eighth and struck out Brian Dinkelman looking to end the inning.

Sox pitchers have allowed three runs over 18 innings so far today.

Middle of the 7th: Red Sox 3, Twins 0: Sox pitchers have held the Twins to five hits. Doubront went four innings, Tazawa two and Chris Carpenter the seventh.

Top 5th: Red Sox 3, Twins 0: Felix Doubront has given way to Junichi Tazawa. Doubront threw 68 pitches in four innings, allowed two hits, no runs and fanned four. He allowed two doubles. Brian Dozier led off with a single to right against Tazawa, who also gave up a double to Darin Mastroianni, but came away without allowing a run.

Bottom 4th: Red Sox 3, Twins 0: Jarrod Saltalamacchia blasted a two-run home to right field with Dustin Pedroia aboard.

Top 4th: Red Sox 1, Twins 0: Doubront pitches a 1-2-3 inning.

Bottom 3rd: Red Sox 1, Twins 0 - Devin Marrero, the young shortstop who replaced Pedro Ciricao in the lineup after Ciriaco was scratched with back spasms, singled with one out, but the Sox couldn't capitalize.

Top 3rd: Red Sox 1, Twins 0: Aaron Hicks doubled with one out, but Doubront bore down and struck out Jamey Carroll and got Chris Parmalee to fly out to center.

Bottom 2nd: Red Sox 1, Twins 0: Aaron Hicks, who appears to have won the CF job for the Twins made a spectacular diving catch to rob Mike Carp of extra bases in the warning track near the Triangle.

Top 2nd: Red Sox 1, Twins 0: Doubront surrendered a two-out double to Brian Dozier, but struck out Eduardo Escobar.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 1, Twins 0: Jacoby Ellsbury doubled and eventually scored on Dustin Pedroia's double-play grounder. Jonny Gomes had also reached on an infield single to third base.

Top 1st: Red Sox 0, Twins 0: Aaron Hicks walked, but Felix Doubront recovered and got the next three batters.

De La Rosa, Webster, Vazquez optioned

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 15, 2013 06:18 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox optioned three of their more impressive young players to the minors after the first game of today's doubleheader.

Righthanders Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster were sent to Triple A Pawtucket catcher Christian Vazquez to Double A Portland.

Webster had a 1.64 ERA over 11 innings. He allowed nine hits with one walk and 14 strikeouts. He will be in the Pawtucket rotation. De La Rosa had a 9.45 ERA in 6.2 innings. The Sox controlled his innings in spring training and will do the same come the season as he returned late last season after Tommy John surgery.

Vazquez hit only .188 but drew raves for his defense, both throwing and with his work behind the plate. He projects to be the starting catcher for Portland.

A strong start for Clayton Mortensen

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 15, 2013 05:35 PM

SARASOTA, Fla. — The Red Sox have a split-squad doubleheader today and took a bunch of prospects and suspects to Ed Smith Stadium. But the Baltimore Orioles had just one game and used a solid lineup for their sold-out home game.

Nate McLouth, Brian Robers, Matt Wieters, Chris Davis and Manny Machado were among those who came up against righthander Clayton Mortensen.

No problem. Mortensen allowed two hits and a walk over three shutout innings. He threw 46 pitches.

“Clayton once again, he pitches to get outs,” John Farrell said. “He’ll move the ball off the bat head, change speeds. He’s not afraid to attack the strike zone."

Mortensen has been a long reliever for the Red Sox. The start came because Felix Doubront will pitch against the Twins tonight.

"It was my first start in over a year. It was kind of interesting going back to the old routine that you had and trying not to make it any different than I do as a reliever," Mortensen said. "But you get antsy to get out there and throw. It was nice to go out there and get a start in. It felt good."

Mortensen is not a lock for the Opening Day roster. But he is out of minor league options and the Red Sox value his versatility. He posted a 3.21 earned run average over 42 innings and averaged 8.8 strikeouts per nine innings last season.

Getting some extra work spring training will make him available if a spot start is needed down the road.

"At the end of the game I felt better than I did the first two innings. My delivery felt more in rhythm and my stuff had a little more snap to it. I felt good to go back out a couple of more," Mortensen said.

A few other notes:

• The Yankees have signed free agent outfielder Brennan Boesch for $1.5 million plus incentives according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. It was a major league deal. The Red Sox discussed Boesch internally but did not pursue him.

• Christian Vazquez, the rocket-armed catcher, threw out Brian Roberts trying to steal in the fifth inning. He also made a nice play later in the game on a slow roller in front of the plate.

• Lefty Chris Hernandez threw 3.1 innings, allowing one hit and striking out one. He does not have impressive velocity or above-average pitches. But he gets outs. Hernandez has shown good command in camp, walking one in 11.1 innings.

• Ryan Lavarnway had a rough day as the DH. He was 0 for 5 with a strikeout and twice grounded into double plays. He left five runners on base. He is hitting .133 in Grapefruit League games.

Off to the Fort. The lineups are below. The game is on NESN and WEEI.

Red Sox trade for Mike Flacco

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 15, 2013 04:43 PM

SARASOTA, Fla. — The Orioles announced they have traded minor league first baseman Mike Flacco to the Red Sox for cash considerations or a player to be named later.

He is the brother of Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco.

Flacco, 26, is not a prospect. He hit .218./289./337 for Single A Frederick last year. He is a career .253 hitter in four minor league seasons.

"The Orioles have more corner players than spots in our system and the Red Sox had interest in Mike Flacco, so we thought it was a match," Baltimore GM Dan Duquette said.

Red Sox GM Ben Cherington said his interest was adding some power to the lower levels of the organization. Flacco has 21 home runs in his career.

First base also is the thinnest position in the Red Sox organization.

During the week leading up to the Super Bowl, the 6-foot-6 Flacco told a reporter that he was interested in joining the NFL as a tight end despite not having played football since high school. Flacco later said he was committed to playing baseball.

Final: Red Sox 3, Orioles 3 (10 innings)

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 15, 2013 12:48 PM

Game over: Red Sox 3, Orioles 3 (10 innings): The Sox scored two runs in the top of the 10th inning, the second coming on a single by Ronald Bermudez. The Orioles then got a two-run homer by Ryan Flaherty, the pride of Maine.

So it's a split-squad tie in extra innings. Twins at Sox tonight. Check back later.

Top of the 10th: Red Sox 2, Orioles 1: Juan Carlos Linares with a home run to center field off Clay Schrader to lead off the inning. That's his second of the spring. The ball just kept carrying to center and evaded the leap of Travon Robinson.

Sox have two runners on. But off to the clubhouse. Back later.

Top of the 10th: Red Sox 1, Orioles 1: Chris Hernandez went 3.1 perfect innings before Oscar Villareal came out for the ninth. He walked the second batter he faced before a slow roller was tapped out in front of the plate. Vazquez jumped out from behind the plate and made a quick throw to first to get the runner. Villareal then got a strikeout to end the inning.

The teams will play one more inning regardless of the score.

Middle of the 8th: Red Sox 1, Orioles 1: Nice job by the second-tier Red Sox pitchers against a solid Orioles lineup. O's have only five hits. But the Red Sox have only two.

Top of the 7th: Red Sox 1, Orioles 1: Both teams went in order. Chris Hernandez has retired all four batters he has faced for the Red Sox.

Mitch Maier just said that he jammed his left wrist making that diving catch in the second inning when it rolled under him. He also felt it when he singled on a pitch that jammed him. He left the game as a result and will get checked out later on.

The Orioles have subbed out most of their starters.

Top of the 6th: Red Sox 1, O's 1: Brentz hit a long home run to left center off Luis Ayala. The Orioles tied it up when McLouth doubled and Roberts singled off Wilson.

Roberts was thrown out stealing by Christian Vazquez. Why are teams still running on him?

Top of the 5th: Sox 0, O's 0: Bradley walked before Lavarnway grounded into a double play. Ross then walked, knocking Britton out of the game. But Zach Petersime got Gomez to fly out. Alex Wilson then put two runners on but escaped damage.

Mortensen went three scoreless innings.

Top of the 4th: Sox 0, O's 0: Maier singled and Brentz reached on an error by Machado with one out. Holt grounded into a force at second before Iglesias flied deep to center. Mortensen walked McClouth with two outs before Roberts flied to center.

Top of the 3rd: Sox 0, O's 0: Mitch Maier made a diving catch in left field to take a hit away from J.J. Hardy. He jammed his wrist but stayed in the game. Betemit then singled before Mortensen got Machado to ground into a 5-4-3 double play.

The Sox have not reach reached base on Britton.

Top of the 2nd: Sox 0, O's 0: Britton retired the Sox in order, although it took a terrific play by Machado to get Bradley. On a ball hit down the line, the third baseman ranged behind the bag and made a strong off-balance throw. Mortensen allowed a single by Brian Roberts but otherwise had no problems.

Pre-game: Welcome to Ed Smith Stadium and the first game of a split-squad doubleheader for the Red Sox.

There are no regulars in this lineup, but that's great. It's good to get a chance to see guys like Brock Holt, Jose Iglesias, Jackie Bradley Jr., Ryan Lavarnway and Bryce Brentz play extended innings.

All five of those guys could start the season in Pawtucket. But all five also could join the Red Sox at some point, too.

We'll have updates all game long, so please hang out and feel free to leave your comments.

Injury updates: Morales, Drew and Ortiz

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 15, 2013 12:05 PM

SARASOTA, Fla. — Here are some injury updates:

• Lefthanded reliever Franklin Morales has a bulging disc in his lower back and received an epidural injection on Wednesday during a trip to Boston, Red Sox manager John Farrell said.

“It was clear that he needed to receive the injection,” Farrell said.

Morales is feeling less pain and will soon start to work out, although not on the field. There is not yet a day scheduled for Morales to start throwing again.

How long could Morales be out?

“Hard to project right now,” Farrell said.

• Shortstop Stephen Drew, who was hit in the helmet by a pitch on March 7, is still dealing with concussion symptoms. He was scheduled for more physical testing today.

“What we will do is get him on a bike, increase the heart rate, see if those symptoms reproduce or do they become even that much more severe? Then find out what kind of recovery time he’s going to need inside of multiple sets of that,” Farrell said.

Farrell said Drew is feeling some improvement but still is bothered by loud noises and quick movements.

"It's almost like the vision takes a little bit of time to catch back up. So there's a little bit of delay there. Those are all classic symptoms of concussions," Farrell said.

Drew has not played in eight days. How concerned is Farrell about when he could play again?

“Time down is not good,” the manager said. “Probably better answer that question based on how much time he will miss. We still feel like there’s going to be a few yet before he’s going to get back on the field.”

Farrell said Drew could need a few days to get back in game shape before he plays in a game.

“It’s still too early to tell all that,” Farrell said.

• Designated hitter David Ortiz, who was shut down on Sunday because of inflammation in his heels, has responded favorably to medication, rest and treatment.

Farrell is optimistic that Ortiz could take batting practice on Monday. From there, Ortiz would graduate to running again, but that has not been planned.

Ortiz did not receive any injections, Farrell said.

Talk about gangsters then watch some baseball

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 15, 2013 09:45 AM

If you are going to be at JetBlue Park for the game tonight, get there early. Globe columnist Kevin Cullen will be holding a discussion starting at 6 p.m. in the courtyard between the pregame picnic tents and box office.

Kevin and Shelley Murphy wrote the terrific book "Whitey Bulger: America’s Most Wanted Gangster and the Manhunt That Brought Him to Justice."

At the conclusion of his talk, the book will be available for purchase and Kevin will be autographing copies in the concourse inside Gate C.

Grapefruit League Games 19-20: Red Sox at Orioles; Twins at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 15, 2013 08:00 AM

It's a split-squad doubleheader day for the Red Sox. Here's a preview:

GRAPEFRUIT LEAGUE GAME 19
RED SOX (10-9)
Holt 2B
Iglesias SS
Bradley Jr. CF
Lavarnway DH
Ross C
Gomez 1B
Maier LF
Sutton 3B
Brentz RF
Pitching: RHP Clayton Mortensen, RHP Alex Wilson, LHP Chris Hernandez, RHP Oscar Villarreal.

ORIOLES (11-5)
McLouth CF
Roberts 2B
Wieters C
Davis 1B
Hardy SS
Betemit DH
Machado 3B
Dickerson RF
Ford LF
Pitching: LHP Zach Britton, LHP T.J. McFarland, RHP Luis Ayala,
LHP Mark Hendrickson.

Game time: 1:05 p.m. at Ed Smith Stadium, Sarasota.

TV/Radio: None.

GRAPEFRUIT LEAGUE GAME 20
RED SOX
Ellsbury CF
Gomes LF
Pedroia 2B
Napoli 1B
Saltalamacchia C
Middlebrooks 3B
Carp DH
Sweeney RF
Ciriaco SS
Pitching: LHP Felix Doubront, RHP Chris Carpenter, RHP Junichi Tazawa, RHP Anthony Carter

TWINS (10-9)
Hicks CF
Carroll 3B
Parmelee 1B
Doumit C
Arcia RF
Benson DH
Escobar SS
Mastroianni LF
Pitching: RHP Liam Hendriks.

Game time: 7:05 p.m. at JetBlue Park, Fort Myers.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI.

Notes: Manager John Farrell and his coaching staff will attend both games. If all goes well, they should arrive at Fort Myers about an hour before the second game ... The Orioles and Twins are not playing split squad doubleheaders today ... The Sox will be making some cuts after today's games.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 15, 2013 07:30 AM

For Jose Iglesias, becoming a starter in the majors is proving more difficult than he expected. Is he still the Red Sox' shortstop of the future?

There are some interesting comments from Iglesias, Dustin Pedroia and Red Sox coach Arnie Beyeler in this story and a revealing admission from John Farrell at the end.

The notebook has Stephen Drew not ready to play as he deals with a concussion.

Game report: Red Sox 7, Twins 3

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 14, 2013 07:31 PM

SCORE: Red Sox 7, Twins 3

RECORD: 10-9

BREAKDOWN: The Sox beat up on Twins starter Mike Pelfrey, scoring five runs on six hits and three walks in the first two innings. Mike Napoli had an RBI single in the first inning and Will Middlebrooks a three-run double in the second. Ryan Dempster allowed one run over four innings. Jacoby Ellsbury was 2 for 3 with a double, a walk, and one RBI.

THUMBS UP: Dempster has had a terrific spring. In four starts he has allowed three earned runs over 12.2 innings. The righthander has walked two and struck out nine. Dempster threw 73 pitches. “He used all his pitches. Last time out he pitched primarily with his fastball, which was by design,” manager John Farrell said. “But today he took the whole repertoire to the mound.”

THUMBS DOWN: David Ross was 0 for 2 with a walk and is now 1 for 14 with six strikeouts this spring. Ross has been spending extra time working with the pitchers and said that typically in spring training his bat does not heat up until the final 10 days or so.

MEDICAL REPORT: The Red Sox sent lefthanded reliever Franklin Morales back to Boston to have his sore lower back examined. “He has been undergoing treatment here. He hasn’t really made the progress that we had hoped for. So we had him checked,” Farrell said. Morales has thrown only one inning and seems sure to start the season on the disabled list. … Dustin Pedroia played despite a head cold. He was 0 for 3 with a walk and probably should have stayed in bed.

AROUND THE BASES: Koji Uehara loaded the bases in the fifth inning and worked out of the jam by getting the dangerous Justin Morneau to pop up. The runners were the first he has allowed this spring. “Blame the mound,” he joked. … Closer Joel Hanrahan returned to the team following the birth of his first child in Boston earlier this week. He threw a bullpen session on Thursday and is scheduled to pitch an inning on Saturday. … Jackie Bradley Jr. showed off his arm in the eighth inning. With the bases loaded, he caught a fly ball and made a strong throw to third, nearly catching Jeff Clement, who had bluffed toward home after tagging up.

NEXT GAME: The Red Sox have a split-squad doubleheader on Friday. One team will go to Sarasota to face the Orioles at 1:05 p.m. Clayton Mortensen will start that game. The Sox host the Twins at 7:05 p.m. with Felix Doubront on the mound. That game will be on NESN and WEEI.

Final: Red Sox 7, Twins 3

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 14, 2013 12:59 PM

Game over: Red Sox 7, Twins 3: The Sox improve to 10-9 as they had 12 hits, five of them doubles.

Middle of the 9th: Red Sox 7, Twins 3: Last ups for the Twins as Terry Doyle tries to finish the game off.

Headed to the clubhouse, back in a bit.

Top of the 9th: Red Sox 6, Twins 3: An error by Pedro Ciriaco at third base helped lead to two runs by the Twins.

There was an interesting play in the inning. With the bases loaded, Jackie Bradley Jr. fielded a shallow fly ball to center. When the runner at third faked going to the plate, Bradley adjusted and threw to third and nearly got the out.

Fun to see a Red Sox center fielder with a good arm. It has been a while.

Middle of the 8th: Red Sox 6, Twins 1: Brock Holt doubled and scored on a single by Mitch Maier.

Top of the 8th: Red Sox 5, Twins 1: Daniel Bard put two runners on in the sixth then worked out of the jam. That's three straight scoreless innings for him. The Sox, meanwhile, have one hit since the third inning.

Middle of the 6th: Red Sox 5, Twins 1: The last 11 Red Sox have gone in order. Uehara, who had been perfect in five outings, loaded the bases on an infield single and two walks but got Morneau to chase the first pitch and pop to shortstop.

Sox have subbed out their starters for the most part.

Top of the 5th: Red Sox 5, Twins 1: The Sox went in order in the fourth. Dempster then allowed a home run by Chris Parmelee.

Top of the 4th: Red Sox 5, Twins 0: The Sox loaded the bases in the third but failed to score as Nava popped to center and Pedroia grounded out. Dempster then retired the side in order.

Middle of the 2nd: Red Sox 5, Twins 0: Iglesias doubled to left and scored on a double by Ellsbury. Nava and Pedroia walked to load the bases. Napoli struck out (after a long at-bat) but Middlebrooks crushed a three-run double to the gap in left, the ball reaching the fence.

Top of the 2nd: Red Sox 1, Twins 0: The Sox started the game with singles by Ellsbury and Nava. Pedroia fanned but Napoli singled to right to drive in a run. He is having a great spring. Middlebrooks flied deep to center before Overbay walked to load the bases.

Gomes hit the ball hard but Pelfrey snagged it and threw to first for the final out.

Dempster allowed a single by Carroll as Gomes just missed a diving catch. Willingham then bounced into a double play started by Iglesias.

Pre-game: Good afternoon from Hammond Stadium, where it's 63 and windy. Ryan Dempster will be on the hill from the Red Sox.

We'll have occasional updates, so please hang out and feel free to leave a comment.

Stephen Drew not ready; Franklin Morales has back checked in Boston

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 14, 2013 10:09 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Here are a few Red Sox updates after the day off:

• SS Stephen Drew (concussion) is still having symptoms a week after being hit in the head by a pitch and will not work out today, as was hoped. He will undergo more testing today.

• LHP Franklin Morales (back) was sent back to Boston to be checked. John Farrell said he was waiting for a report. You can count on Morales starting the season on the DL.

• LHP Craig Breslow (shoulder) is throwing from 90 feet today but there is no date set for his throwing off the mound. Farrell said progress has been slow as the process includes building strength in the shoulder.

Speculation: This could be a long-term issue. When a player has gone a month in spring training without being able to throw off a mound, that is more than soreness. The odd part of this was that Breslow was signed to a two-year deal in January and that presumably included a physical.

• RHP Joel Hanrahan returned to camp following the birth of his first child. He will throw a bullpen today.

• Farrell and the coaching staff will handle both ends of the split-squad day/night doubleheader on Friday. Minor leaguers going to Sarasota include Bryce Brentz, Travis Shaw, Deven Marrero, Jeremy Hazelbaker and Juan Carlos Linares.

Grapefruit League Game 19: Red Sox at Twins

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 14, 2013 07:55 AM

Good morning. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (9-9)
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Daniel Nava LF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Mike Napoli 1B
Will Middlebrooks 3B
Lyle Overbay DH
Jonny Gomes RF
David Ross C
Jose Iglesias SS
Pitching: RHP Ryan Dempster followed by RHP Terry Doyle, RHP Koji Uehara and RHP Chris Carpenter.

TWINS (10-8)
Ray Olmedo 3B
Jamey Carroll 2B
Josh Willingham LF
Justin Morneau DH
Chris Parmelee 1B
Joe Benson CF
Oswaldo Arcia RF
Eric Fryer C
Pedro Florimon SS
Pitching: RHP Mike Pelfrey.

Game time: 1:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: None.

Notes: Dempster has had a strong spring. In three starts he has allowed two earned runs on six hits over 8.2 innings. He has struck out six without a walk. If the rotation stays on its current schedule, Dempster will start three more games this spring after today then face the Yankees on April 4. ... The Sox are 2-1 against the Twins in spring training, winning both games at Hammond Stadium. ... The Sox have a split-squad doubleheader on Friday, facing the Orioles in Sarasota at 1:05 and the Twins at Jet Blue Park at 7:05 p.m.

Casey Kelly could need elbow surgery

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 14, 2013 07:43 AM

Former Red Sox prospect Casey Kelly looks to be headed for Tommy John surgery.

Padres general manager Josh Byrnes told reporters on Wednesday the righthander went back to San Diego for tests on his sore elbow.

"The doctors are concerned about what the tests look like," manager Bud Black said. "That's the best I can say. There's going to be a lot of discussion between Casey and his family about all this. I assume they'll want a second opinion to make sure all of their bases are covered. That's the right thing to do."

Kelly was one of four players the Red Sox traded to the Padres in 2010 for Adrian Gonzalez.

It was not a trade that worked out well for either team. Gonzalez lasted two seasons before he was traded to the Dodgers. He had a strong first season before slipping under his usual standards in 2012. He also disliked the atmosphere in Boston.

First baseman Anthony Rizzo, who was traded to the Padres, struggled in 2011 after making his debut and was traded to the Cubs before last season. Rey Fuentes, an athletic center fielder, has faded as a prospect since joining the Padres organization. San Diego also received Eric Patterson, who hit .180 for the Padres before being let go.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 14, 2013 07:30 AM

Nick Cafardo takes a look at the state of the Red Sox after a day off in spring training.

The notebook has Alfredo Aceves getting philosophical after throwing an inning.

Tito gets his groove on with Indians

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 13, 2013 03:47 PM


Did Terry Francona do the Harlem Shake with the Indians? Why yes, he did.

Warning: These are deeply disturbing images of the former Red Sox manager dancing.

UPDATE, 5:18 p.m.: Courtesy of the Indians, here's a list of who was in the costumes.

Good to see Tito having some fun with his new team.

Alfredo Aceves tunes up in a minor league game

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 13, 2013 03:40 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox had Wednesday off. But Alfredo Aceves reported to work and started a minor league game at Fenway South.

Aceves returned from the World Baseball Classic on Monday and had not pitched in a game since last Thursday. So the Red Sox had him pitch an inning against Minnesota's Double A team to prepare for his start on Saturday against Tampa Bay.

Aceves threw 14 pitches, seven for strikes. After a ground out to first, Aceves walked a batter. Well-regarded Twins prospect Miguel Sano then doubled into the corner in left field, driving in a run.

Aceves ended the inning with a popup to center and a grounder to second on which he took the throw.

Manager John Farrell, pitching coach Juan Nieves, assistant GM Mike Hazen, and pro scouting director Jared Porter watched Aceves pitch, as did scouts from several other teams.

"Not at all," Aceves said, when asked if the WBC interrupted his spring training routine. "Everybody is doing the little things we do to maintain ourselves to be in shape and get to that level we want to be ... I feel good with my last outing and looking forward to the next. Maybe one inning or two innings more."

Aceves threw three innings in his last WBC appearance. The Red Sox have been preparing him as a starter in case the need arises.

Aceves then grew philosophical when discussing pitching, saying that "maña" [skill] is better than physical ability in his mind.

"It's not about force. It's about also how to get through that. Get it done how. It's not about force, it's also about maña," he said. "It doesn't have to be like that all the time. Kind of just let it go and good things will come out. It's not about how hard you throw. It's not about that. It's about getting people out.

"Ask anybody what's harder to hit: 90 in or 100 in the middle. So they will say it's harder to hit 90 in. It's not about how hard you throw, if you locate it at the corners with all your stuff."

Aceves said his improved velocity last season was more skill than strength.

"Honestly, it was more maña," he said. "If I'm doing my good mechanics, not forcing it, just let it go. My mind tells me to relax my body and let my body do it. That was the message, the maña that I'm talking about."

Red Sox contemplating Brennan Boesch

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 13, 2013 01:52 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Red Sox officials are discussing the merits of outfielder Brennan Boesch, who was released by the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday.

If Boesch clears release waivers — which seems likely given that a team would have to pick up his $2.3 million contract — he would become a free agent.

According to a team source, the Red Sox would make a play for Boesch if they conclude he represents a sure upgrade to the players they have in camp now.

The 27-year-old lefthanded hittter was a regular in right field last season for Detroit. He had a .240/.286/.372 line with 12 home runs, 54 RBIs, and six stolen bases. Boesch is a career .259/.315/.414 hitter over three seasons. He has experience in both corner outfield positions.

The Red Sox have Shane Victorino in right field and Jonny Gomes in left. But with David Ortiz surely headed to the disabled list, the players on the bench will take on a greater significance given the team's plans to use a rotating designated hitter.

The Red Sox have Daniel Nava, Ryan Sweeney, Mitch Maier, and Mike Carp in camp competing for a roster spot. Jackie Bradley Jr., a 23-year-old prospect, has been the talk of spring training but will likely start the season in the minors.

Boesch has better statistics against lefthanders in his career, which doesn't exactly fit the profile of what the Red Sox need off the bench. He has hit .250/.305/.412 hitter against righthanders.

The Astros, Mets and Yankees are among the teams with at least some interest in Boesch.

Update: Red Sox players in the WBC

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 13, 2013 12:28 PM

The Red Sox have three players remaining in the World Baseball Classic. Here's how they are doing:

Shane Victorino (United States): He has played in two of the four games. Victorino is 1 for 6 with one RBI and three strikeouts. The United States plays the Dominican Republic in Miami on Thursday at 7 p.m.

Xander Bogaerts (Kingdom of the Netherlands): The 20-year-old infielder is 5 of 19 with a run scored, two doubles, three walks and three strikeouts. He is hitting .263 with a .732 OPS and has played in all seven games. The Dutch advanced to the semifinals and will play in San Francisco on Monday at 9 p.m. against an opponent to be determined.

The Dutch will play an exhibition game against the Padres on Thursday evening in Arizona and another on Friday against the Mariners.

Jose De La Torre (Puerto Rico): The righthander, who is in Red Sox camp on a minor league deal, has appeared in two games. His line: 2.3 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K and 1 HR.

With two on and nobody out against the United States in the sixth inning on Tuesday night, De La Torre struck out Jimmy Rollins, Brandon Phillips and Ryan Braun swinging.

The final game of the WBC is March 19.

Ask Nick: Will starters bounce back?

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff March 13, 2013 10:45 AM

Have a
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Rightly so, readers are concerned about life without David Ortiz. How will the Sox make up for his loss, which could be at least through April?

The schedule is tough over the first 13 games, but if the Sox pitch well, they should be able to get through it and keep their head above water.

The Yankees, don’t forget, are trying to do that without two major pieces – Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira (and we’re not even mentioning the longer-term Alex Rodriguez situation) – so both teams appear to be in a similar situation of needing to bide their time and hope their pitching keeps them in ballgames.

Injuries to certain players can be harmful. The Red Sox are proof of that last season, as are the Blue Jays. The Yankees lost Mariano Rivera in May and still won 95 games.

As one Yankee scout pointed out to me, “It’s a long season. If you have to go .500 for a while until everyone thing comes together, that’s what you do. We’re not going to give our prospects for temporary solutions, so we’re going to go play the games and see what happens.”

Here’s the mailbag:

How would you assess the starting pitching performances thus far? Does it look like a bounce back year for them?
Jackson, Falls Church, Va.
So far it looks good. Lester and Buchholz have been very good. Lackey seems to be growing in comfort and confidence. Doubront appears to be over shoulder discomfort. Dempster is working on things but seems very professional.

Of the players traded to the Dodgers last year, what is your prediction on the kind of season they may have in the NL in 2013 ?
Bruce, Cheshire, Conn.
Adrian Gonzalez will be what he usually is – a top hitter in the league anywhere from .300-330, 25 homers or so and 100 RBI. Beckett will benefit from weaker lineups. A 6-inning pitcher. 12-15 wins. Crawford, who knows? Injuries will be a factor. I figure he’s got to be better than Boston, though he’ll feel the pressure in LA as well if he gets off to a poor start. High expectations there.

Say Ortiz is unable to get back for a while. Would the Sox have interest in trading for a guy like Morneau and moving Napoli to DH?
Jason, Salem, Ind.

Could be. But the Sox don’t think Ortiz’ issues are long term.

I don't get the Red Sox' continued affinity for Ryan Sweeney. How many seasons do they need to see that he has no upside?
Dave, Reno, Nev.
They like his defense and the fact he can play all three OF positions. Should hit for power, but doesn’t. I think he’s being challenged a bit by Mitch Maier, who has more pop.

Click the Full Entry button for more Q&A.

FULL ENTRY

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 13, 2013 10:08 AM

Nick Cafardo writes that Shane Victorino is approaching the WBC with his usual enthusiasm.

Steven Wright returned to the minors knowing the Red Sox believe in him.

The notebook has the Red Sox contemplating their options for DH with David Ortiz on the shelf for a little while.

Buchholz picking up the pace, with good results

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 12, 2013 07:32 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Are you one of those Red Sox fans who gets annoyed when the starting pitcher takes 30 seconds between pitches?

How can you not be? Well, there is good news, at least from Clay Buchholz. He is trying to pick up the pace.

"That’s been my No. 1 key as of late, getting on the rubber and throwing a pitch and getting back up there,” Buchholz said Tuesday after throwing four shutout innings against Toronto. “Just to make the game go a little bit quicker and not have to think too much. Just getting the ball and trying to go after it.”

In recent years, several Red Sox pitchers have worked with painful deliberation, following the lead of Josh Beckett. Now that Beckett has been traded, the idea of working quickly has taken hold. John Farrell and pitching coach Juan Nieves have encouraged the idea.

It will help that John Lackey and Ryan Dempster are quick workers. Younger pitchers tend to take their cues from the veterans.

Buchholz has not allowed a run in 8.1 innings this spring. He has walked two and struck out seven. Maybe he's onto something.

“Everything is starting to fall together," said Buchholz. "I was able to go out there and execute pitches, like one after another, a little bit better than the last time out and the time before that."

Game report: Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 3

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 12, 2013 07:30 PM

SCORE: Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 3

RECORD: 9-9

BREAKDOWN: The Sox scored two runs on four hits in the second inning as Dustin Pedroia and Mike Napoli drove in runs. Ryan Sweeney (2 for 3) singled in a run in the fourth. Clay Buchholz and three relievers allowed two earned runs on nine hits.

THUMBS UP: The legend of Allen Webster continued to build. The 23-year-old righthander threw three innings, allowing an unearned on three hits. He struck out three without a walk. Webster has allowed two earned runs in 11 innings and struck out 14 against one walk. In one sequence, he hit 97 with a fastball to Lars Anderson, then struck him out swinging at a changeup. “He’s pretty damn good,” said manager John Farrell, who said the Sox might look to get Webster a start in the coming weeks. “He’s showing the ability to throw a breaking ball to both sides of the plate in addition to a live fastball.”

THUMBS DOWN: Lefty reliever Andrew Miller, who has been strong all spring, allowed a two-run homer by lefthanded-hitting minor leaguer Jim Negrych in the fifth inning. … Jackie Bradley Jr., the organization’s best outfield glove, botched a ball in the ninth inning that led to an unearned run. … Jacoby Ellsbury was 0 for 3 with a walk. He is 5 for 25 this spring and has not attempted a stolen base.

MEDICAL REPORT: Stephen Drew has not played since last Thursday because of a concussion. He has improved and the Sox are hopeful he can go through a full workout Thursday and play Friday.

AROUND THE BASES: Napoli, playing on back-to-back days for the first time, was 2 for 3 with a double and the RBI. He is 7 for 16 this spring with four extra-base hits, counting the game against Puerto Rico’s WBC team … Bradley singled in his only time up and is now 15 for 28 (.536) … The Sox are 2-0 against the Blue Jays this spring, surely angering Farrell’s many detractors in Canada. The teams play again March 22 in Dunedin. … The Sox have drawn 75 walks this spring. For what it’s worth, only the Indians (83) have more.

NEXT GAME: The Sox have a day off Wednesday. They will play at Minnesota Thursday at 1:05 p.m. Ryan Dempster is scheduled to face Mike Pelfrey. There is no television or radio coverage.

Local product Colabello on fire for Italy in WBC

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff March 12, 2013 01:33 PM

MIAMI — Chris Colabello blasted a three-run homer in the first inning off righthander Edinson Volquez to expand Italy's lead over the Dominican Republic to 4-0 in a World Baseball Classic second-round game on Tuesday, but it wasn't enough as the Dominican roared back for a 5-4 win.

Colabello, a graduate of Milford (Mass.) High School and Assumption College, played seven seasons in the independent CanAm League for Worcester and Nashua. Lou Colabello, his father, pitched in Italy from 1977-84.

Playing for New Britain (Double A) in the Twins organization last season, Colabello, 29, hit .284 with 19 homers and 98 RBIs.

Colabello, who was in the Italy lineup as the DH, batting fifth, entered the day hitting .455 with a homer and 4 RBIs in 11 WBC at-bats.

"I don't think any lead is comfortable, especially in this tournament," Corabello said. "It's obviously nice to get ahead, but obviously four runs was one too few today."

One of Corabello's managers in Worcester was former Red Sox catcher and current Red Sox minor league hitting coach Rich Gedman.

Asked about his exploits in the tournament, Corabello, who has basically put himself on the map with his hitting in front of many scouts from around baseball said, "At the end of the day, my biggest goal every time I go out on the baseball field is to try and help my team win a baseball game.

"I think if you focus too much on your personal stuff, it has the tendency of getting in the way of your ability to succeed as an individual. That being said, I'm just trying to put good swings on baseballs. Unfortunately today it wasn't enough to get it done."

Final: Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 3

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 12, 2013 01:20 PM

Game over: Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 3: The Sox tacked on two in the seventh. Jon Diaz drove one in with a groundout before Lyle Overbay had a sacrifice fly.

Allen Webster went the final three innings. His line: 3 innings, 3 hits, 1 run, 0 earned runs, 0 walks and 3 strikeouts.

His line for the spring: 11 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 14 K.

Top of the 7th: Red Sox 3, Jays 2: Andrew Bailey worked around a two-out double by Jimenez. The Red Sox then went in order. Allen Webster now pitching for the Sox.

Top of the 6th: Red Sox 3, Jays 2: Andrew Miller, who has been lights out this spring, allowed a two-run homer by Jim Negrych, a lefty hitter with no big league experience.

The Sox loaded the bases with one out when Pedroia walked, Napoli doubled and Middlebrooks walked. But Sweeney, who had been 2 for 2, bounced into a 4-6-3 double play.

Bailey pitching now.

Top of the 5th: Red Sox 3, Jays 0: Buchholz worked around a double by Bautista by getting Jimenez and Thole on grounders to second.

In the bottom of the inning, Middlebrooks doubled high off the wall in center and scored on a single by Sweeney.

Sweeney went to second on the throw and third on a single by Lavanway. But Ciriaco popped up and Ellsbury grounded out to end the inning.

Top of the 4th: Red Sox 2, Jays 0: Buchholz allowed singles by Goins and Negrych before getting Gose to ground into a doule play.

In the bottom of the inning, the Sox had a runner on first and two outs when singles by Nava and Pedroia scored a run. Napoli followed with a shot to left that scored Nava. But Napoli took a wide turn around first and was thrown out going back to the base to end the inning.

Top of the 3rd: Jays 0, Red Sox 0: Buchholz set the Jays down in order again. The third out came thanks to a diving catch at shortstop by Pedro Ciriaco. That stole a hit from Andy LaRoche. The Sox got a two-out double from Sweeney, the ball banging off the wall in left. But Gomes grounded to third.

Top of the 2nd: Jays 0, Red Sox 0: Buchholz retired the side in order on 10 pitches. The Sox also went down 1-2-3 against Germano.

Bob Lobel is doing the public address announcing for this game. The retired Boston television legend is a candidate for the job at Fenway Park.

Pre-game: Greetings from JetBlue Park, where it's overcast with occasional drizzle. The Red Sox will send Clay Buchholz against the well-traveled Justin Germano, who was 9-4, 2.40 in 17 games for Triple-A Pawtucket last season.

The game is not on TV or radio but we will have updates here. So stick around and we'll do our best to help you waste time at work.

If your boss asks, you're researching markets in Florida.

Farrell sees DH spot rotating until Ortiz returns

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 12, 2013 11:42 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Now that it has become evident David Ortiz will start the season on the disabled list, how will the Red Sox handle the DH spot?

"Those conversations are starting," John Farrell said this morning. "We’re by no means at a point of saying this is who our DH is going to be or this is who else is going to be on the roster. But those conversations are happening more in earnest.

"We envision it as being a little bit of a rotation so not to say that one person would strictly be a DH. That’s an initial approach"

Farrell mentioned that the Red Sox are very pleased with how Mike Napoli looks at first base and don't believe there would be a major defensive benefit by using him as the DH and starting somebody else (Mike Carp, for instance) at first base.

It also doesn't seem that Napoli would benefit physically by being the DH. His hips have been fine since he started playing.

"Haven't seen that it's necessary," Farrell said. "If there wasn't as much advancement on the defensive side, then you might say say there's a different combination of players that will fill out this roster. I'm not excluding anyone that's in camp here. But he's made such strides defensively."

Farrell said the Sox have not pinpointed one player to replace Ortiz.

"We don’t have another David Ortiz," the manager said. "We’ll probably look at some matchups as we plan against a given starter on that day. ... You can keep guys a little more fresh."

Ortiz being out will change the look of the Red Sox bench. If the DH spot bounces around, the Sox will have to make sure they're adequately covered in terms of the outfield and first base.

"Until we settle on what the final roster will look like and who we’re going to go up against on a given day, that’s the approach we’re taking. But it’s going to keep more guys in the mix on a little more regular basis," Farrell said.

"We’ve got competition that’s going on in camp. My first view would be that who our DH is is going to open up a position elsewhere possibly and we’ve got three or four different options and combinations that we could fill that out with."

Wright's path takes a detour for now

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 12, 2013 10:22 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The experiment the Red Sox are conducting with Steven Wright didn't end when he was optioned to Triple A Pawtucket this morning. It just changed venues.

Wright, the 28-year-old knuckleballer, threw one final bullpen session with pitching coach Juan Nieves before reporting to the minor league camp. He is scheduled to make a start on Friday.

The Red Sox have made a serious commitment to Wright. He has a spot on the 40-man roster, probably a place in the rotation at Pawtucket and the guidance of Tim Wakefield, who came to camp earlier this month to work with Wright.

“As we mentioned to Steven on the way out, he’s in the right place. He’s in an organization that embraces the knuckleball [and] the knuckleball pitcher. Yet he’s still a work in progress," John Farrell said.

As Wakefield showed for years, a knuckleball pitcher can he extremely helpful to a pitching staff.

“Yes, without a doubt,” Farrell said when asked if Wright could develop into a useful major leaguer.

Farrell said Wright is still working to repeat his delivery consistently and gain control of his confounding pitch. Wright showed in his last outing, on Sunday, that he could throw a curveball for strikes when behind in the count.

Wright throws a knuckleball 90 percent of the time but has worked on adding other pitches to give him another look when needed.

“That comes from the conversations with Wake, having a curveball he can flip in there for a strike in some fastball counts,” Farrell said.

It will be interesting to see how this works out. If Wright pitches well in Triple-A, he will be on the short list of starters the Sox will turn to when a need arise.

Red Sox making some cuts today

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 12, 2013 09:01 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox are thinning out the ranks of their position players today.

Outfielders Alex Hassan, Jeremy Hazelbaker and Juan Carlos Linares packed up their lockers and headed for the minor league clubhouse. So did first baseman/outfielder Mark Hamilton. Righthander Steven Wright also was optioned.

Also:

• Alfredo Aceves will pitch in a minor league game on Wednesday and then start against Tampa Bay on Saturday.

• John Lackey will pitch in a minor league game on Saturday rather than face the Rays. As starters work deeper into games in spring training, some try to avoid divisional opponents.

• The Sox will start Clayton Mortensen in Sarasota against the Orioles on Friday in the split-squad doubleheader. Alex Wilson, Chris Hernandez and Oscar Villareal will follow. Felix Doubront will start the night game at home against the Twins.

Grapefruit League Game 18: Blue Jays at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 12, 2013 07:26 AM

Good morning. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (8-10)
Ellsbury CF
Nava RF
Pedroia 2B
Napoli 1B
Middlebrooks 3B
Sweeney DH
Gomes LF
Lavarnway C
Ciriaco SS
Pitching: RHP Clay Buchholz, RHP Allen Webster, LHP Andrew Miller, RHP Andrew Bailey.

BLUE JAYS (7-8)
Gose LF
Rasmus CF
Bautista RF
Jimenez DH
Thole C
LaRoche 3B
Anderson 1B
Goins SS
Negrych 2B
Pitching: RHP Justin Germano, RHP Jeremy Jeffress, RHP Chad Beck, RHP Mickey Storey, LHP Juan Perez.

Game time: 1:35 p.m.

TV/Radio: None.

Notes: The Red Sox have a scheduled day off on Wednesday. ... Miller has been dominant in four outings (4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K). ... Buchholz is making his third start, the first not against the Twins. ... Webster in three outings: 8 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 11 K.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 12, 2013 07:12 AM

David Ortiz is hoping to come back strong once he recovers from his latest setback.

The notebook has Jon Lester lined up for Opening Day and Jackie Bradley continuing to hit. Nick Cafardo has the story.

Game report: Marlins 8, Red Sox 7

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff March 11, 2013 06:50 PM
SCORE: Marlins 8, Red Sox 7.

RECORD: 8-9.

BREAKDOWN: The Sox squandered a 7-1 lead when the Marlins took advantage of Rubby De La Rosa’s wildness in a five-run seventh and then Marlins outfield prospect Christian Yelich hit a two-run walkoff homer off Chris Carpenter. The Sox had amassed their lead on a two-run homer by Will Middlebrooks and solo shots by Jackie Bradley Jr. (to lead off the game) and Mike Carp. Jarrod Saltalamacchia knocked in two runs with a double. Jon Lester shut out the Marlins over his last four innings after allowing a first-inning run.

THUMBS UP: Bradley Jr. is now 14 for 27 after three more hits in the leadoff spot. He’s batting .519. Saltalamacchia is hitting .381 after going 1 for 3. Carp, who may make the team with David Ortiz unlikely to start the season, homered to the opposite field. Alex Wilson pitched a scoreless inning and Anthony Carter struck out three in 1⅓ innings.

THUMBS DOWN: De La Rosa made a splash early in camp, but he since has shown some warts. He walked four in the seventh. Manager John Farrell said, “He was overthrowing. Just didn’t have good command of his fastball.” Mauro Gomez went 0 for 4 and is now batting .167 and Jose Iglesias went 0 for 3 and is down to .214.

MEDICAL REPORT: Mike Napoli was hit on the left wrist with a pitch in the third inning but said he was OK after the game. Napoli made a strong diving defensive play at first base. Stephen Drew is still battling concussion-like symptoms, and Ortiz began Day 1 of a resting process to alleviate inflammation in his heels.

AROUND THE BASES: Farrell has been praising Bradley Jr. throughout camp, but he wanted to see how Bradley Jr. reacted to pitchers when they’ve had a chance to start throwing all of their pitches. Well, Bradley owned Kevin Slowey, hitting his first offering over the left field wall. Another player opening eyes is Mitch Maier, the former Royal who is thrusting himself into the outfield mix. He scored two runs.

NEXT GAME: The Red Sox face the Blue Jays at JetBlue Park at 1:35 p.m. Tuesday. Clay Buchholz opposes Justin Germano.

DL stint could cost Ortiz $4 million

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 11, 2013 05:29 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — As the Red Sox prepare to start the season without David Ortiz, it is worth reviewing what was said in October when he was signed to a two-year deal and what protection the Red Sox built into that contract.

Ortiz received a $1 million signing bonus and a base salary of $14 million for the 2013 season. His salary for 2014 is $11 million and can expand to $15 million if Ortiz spends fewer than 20 days on the disabled list in 2013 because of the Achilles injury.

It will be interesting to see whether Ortiz is able to beat that deadline and retain his full salary for 2014.

Here's what Ben Cherington said on Nov. 5 when Ortiz's new deal was announced:

“As with any player you’ve got to get to the bottom of the health and figure out what sort of risk is involved there. Our benefit is that we know David so well.

"No. 1, we now how hard he’s going to work to put himself in the best position to play. And since we’ve worked with him so much, we know what happened with the Achilles this year. We feel [there are] some things we can do proactively to help him. He’s feeling a lot better now. It’s not a concern moving forward any more than it would be for any player.”

Four months later, it's safe to say that it is a concern.

Here is what Ortiz said about his Achilles on Nov. 5:

"It’s good. I’m moving forward pretty good. I’ve already started doing leg exercises and stuff. I’m feeling good."

On Dec. 7, when Ortiz spoke to reporters before his charity golf tournament in the Dominican Republic, his optimism had waned. Here is a passage from a Globe story:

“At this point not yet,” Ortiz said on when asked if he was working out like he normally would. “Very soon.”

Spring training starts Feb. 12 for pitchers and catchers and a few days later for position players. Will Ortiz be ready?

“I hope so. Hopefully,” he said.

Keep all that in mind as you follow this saga. Because the idea of Ortiz being ready early in April seems unrealistic.

Ortiz has yet to play in a spring training game and probably will not before the team breaks camp on March 30 given that he has been shut down for at least a week and would first have to run the bases without discomfort before playing.

Once Ortiz does start playing, he would need at least 35-50 plate appearances in extended spring training or minor league games before being ready to rejoin the Sox. That is based on what he has said. Add in some days off and that process could take a few weeks.

The guess here? Ortiz returns between April 15 and May 1. But that assumes there aren't any setbacks and this road has been full of potholes since July.

Makes you wonder what the Sox hoped to gain when Ortiz was allowed to play on Aug. 24.

Final: Marlins 8, Red Sox 7

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff March 11, 2013 01:12 PM

Bottom 9th: Marlins 8, Red Sox 7 - Highly-touted outfield prospect Christian Yelich hit a two-run walk-off homer off Chis Carpenter to give the Marlins the win. Carpenter retired the first two batters before allowing a single to Kevin Kouzmanoff, followed by the homer.

Bottom 7th: Red Sox 7, Marlins 6: Tough inning for Rubby De La Rosa. The hard-throwing righty walked four batters, including one with the bases loaded while allowing a bases-clearing double to Kevin Kouzmanoff, as three Marlins runs scored. One run also scored on a passed ball by Dan Butler.

Top 7th: Red Sox 7, Marlins 1 - Will Middlebrooks connected on a two-run homer with Brad Holt on base after a double.

Top 6th: Red Sox 5, Marlins 1 - Jon Lester pitched five strong innings, allowing three hits and one run and threw an efficient 54 pitches, 38 for strikes. After spotting the Marlins a one-run lead in the first, Lester was pretty tough. He's in line to be Boston's Opening Day starter.

Top 4th: Red Sox 5, Marlins 1 - Mike Carp stroked an opposite field solo homer. After Mitch Maier singled and Jose Iglesias walked, Jackie Bradley Jr, reached base for the thid time with an RBI double to left.

Top 3rd: Red Sox 3, Marlins 1 - A couple of walks issued to Mitch Maier and Jackie Bradley and MIke Napoli taking a pitch to the hand, produced a two-run double by Jarrod Saltalamacchia, scoring a pair.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 1, Marlins 1 - Chris Valaitka drove in Juan Pierre with the first Marlins run. Pierre singled off Jon Lester, moved to second on an infield grounder and stole third before coming home on the hit. Also, Mike Napoli made a nice diving stop to rob Rob Brantly of a hit to end the inning.

Top 1st: Red Sox 1, Marlins 0 - Jackie Bradley Jr, playing the role of Giancarlo Stanton, lead off with a first-pitch homer to left-center against righthander Kevin Slowey., Bradley is now 12-for-24 in camp.

Alfredo Aceves returns relatively unscathed from WBC brawl

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 11, 2013 12:51 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Alfredo Aceves has a few welts on the right side of his head, the result of the brawl between Mexico and Canada in the World Baseball Classic on Saturday. But he worked out with the Red Sox on Monday and is ready to pitch.

Aceves was not on the field when the fight started. But he was thrown to the ground by Canada's Tyson Gillies at one point later took a series of punches to his head while being held down by some other Canadian players.

Aceves still isn't sure how he became the target.

"It's a team, you know?" he said. "It's part of the game."

As for Gillies, Aceves doesn't know him and isn't sure why they started fighting.

"What can I say? It didn't surprise me. He threw me to the floor. I stood up and I reacted, too," Aceves said. "I didn't do nothing to him. I was just calming [others] down. The fighting was with the pitcher and the hitter. I was saying, 'Calm down, man. Calm down. Come on. Calm down.' He just grabbed me and threw me on the floor.

"I was like, 'I want to throw you on the floor.' Then when I jumped in to this guy, I got seven guys against me."

Aceves described what was a chaotic scene at that point.

"You’re locked in. You’re just trying to defend and knock them out. That’s it. We were trying to [defend] ourselves. We didn’t do nothing to him. He just threw me," he said.

Aceves was asked whether he was concerned about injury.

"You ever fight before? Now the question to you, would you do the same thing?" he said.

Aceves said he feels fine. He last pitched on Thursday and threw on flat ground today. he is expected to pitch for the Red Sox later this week.

Stephen Drew still out with concussion

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 11, 2013 12:41 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Red Sox shortstop Stephen Drew suffered with a concussion on Thursday when he was hit in the helmet by a pitch, although it didn't become apparent until that evening when he had trouble focusing on the print of a book he was reading.

Drew has not played since because of lingering symptoms.

"Initially, I was fine. The trainers asked and I was coherent and everything else," he said today. "It was when I got home and kind of noticed the symptoms coming on."

Drew said he is in a "holding pattern" until he feels better. He still feels dizzy and light-headed at times.

"It's getting better. But you have to make sure these things go away before you get back out there," he said. "You don't want it to come back because they can come back and then it won't be good. For the most part it's getting better, slowly but surely. I'd like to get this going so I can get going [playing] again."

Drew said this is the first concussion he has suffered.

"You can't play around with it. It's your head," he said. "You go back out there and take a shot and you never know what happens."

Drew falls under MLB's concussion protocol, which mandates that he passes a test administered on line before he can play again. He is not sure when that will take place.

"I just know I'll come in every day and we have stuff to do," he said.

David Ortiz: 'It's going to take a couple of weeks'

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 11, 2013 12:34 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — David Ortiz said today that he wasn't surprised to learn that there was inflammation in his heels, particularly the left, given how he has felt in recent weeks.

The Red Sox slugger has been shut down for at least a week and is now likely to start the season on the disabled list. He has yet to play in a spring training game.

"I knew there was something that was not normal," Ortiz said today. "I was getting pain four or five hours after I was finished with my workout. I knew something wasn't right."

Ortiz said he spoke to the team's medical staff about his concerns and they agreed that an MRI should be taken. That happened on Saturday.

Ortiz was relieved the diagnosis he received on Sunday wasn't worse.

"It's not anything crazy, thank God," Ortiz said. "But it's going to take a couple of weeks to get fixed."

Ortiz has started a course of anti-inflammatory medication and is getting daily treatment.

"We started doing a whole bunch of different things," he said. "I'm just not going to be doing baseball activities I guess for about a week.

"It's not a good feeling. I've been working really hard this offseason just to make sure, you know, I'm good to go for the season. This happened. It's not me being me, you know? Like I say, it is what it is and things happen for a reason, right?

"The one thing that we really are working on is when I'm back, I'm back. It's not just coming back for a couple of weeks and go back to the same thing. They're trying to fix the whole thing. That way when I get back in the lineup, I'm going to be in there for the season."

Ortiz was originally hurt in July when he suffered a small tear in his right Achilles. Is he surprised this remains an issue nearly eight months later?

"We're humans. We're humans. Nobody wants to be injured," he said. "Me, I was going 120 percent this offseason working with this injury. The good news is that it had nothing that had to do with my Achilles, like it used to be. That made me happy at least, knowing that my Achilles is doing fine.

"It's a process that when you are going at it, you pretty much use everything. It's not like you can get picky with the things you want to do. Not being formally doing things for like six months, six, seven months, it's like starting all over. It happens."

Ortiz, until the recent news, had hoped to start the season in the lineup.

"Opening Day was my goal," he said. "You heard me talking about it when I first got here. I was swinging good and I was pushing things the way I was being told. Right now, Opening Day seems like it's not the case. The case is get me healthy for five or five and a half good months. You know what I'm saying? That's what we're looking for now."

How has Ortiz felt swinging a bat?

"Once I started hitting, I know the things that I need to approach to be right at the plate. I haven't played in a while, so that's why you approach different things and you try to work on things more consistently," he said. "Definitely, when somebody hasn't played for as long as I've been out, you definitely want to play [in exhibition games] before you go back into action. You definitely need to be comfortable."

Ortiz expects that once he comes back, he'll be able to play on an everyday basis.

"I want to be able to focus on what I do on the baseball field," he said.

Ortiz said the recent soreness is related to the Achilles injury and all the time off he had.

"Yeah, I was compensating," he said. "I was compensating, that's one thing. The other thing is the time without running and doing all that activity. But I was compensating [for the Achilles]. That's why I was getting a little bit of inflammation on the other side."

How much of the regular season does Ortiz expect to miss?

"I don't know. Hopefully not that much," he said.

Ortiz believes the Red Sox can persevere without him.

"We have a good team now," he said. "We have. We have good players. I've been talking to a lot of them and the one thing that I keep on telling them is just try to do what you do at your best. Don't try to do more than that. You're going to bump into some tough times, Just learn how to deal with it and everything's going to be taken care of."

Lester on track to start Opening Day

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff March 11, 2013 11:43 AM

JUPITER, Fla. - It’s evident that Jon Lester will be Boston’s Opening Day starter, but John Farrell, while saying he’s closer to making it official refused to go all the way before Lester made his first five-inning stint of the preseason against the Miami Marlins today.

“Jon is throwing the ball well,” Farrell said. “Some of the adjustments he’s had to make he’s now solidifying more with solid location at the bottom of the strike zone.”

Farrell said of the rotation, “You can map out our rotation and how we’ve been going through the rotation but we’re not there yet to announce that officially.”

Farrell also spoke about David Ortiz’ plight, but wanted to make a clarification.

“Want to clarify about yesterday,” he said. “Kind of sounds like people thought his left heel was bothering him more than his right, it is in his right heel. He is feeling inflammation in both, but I just want to clarify that. The majority of pain is still in the bony area and not in the Achilles.”

Farrell was still speaking optimistically about Ortiz’ condition.

“For the short term there’s been interrupted time, but compared to the injury last year, there’s still very real intangible progress being made here. In talking to our training staff, they indicated there would be some pains as he got back to full speed. So this was somewhat expected.”

As for contingency plans, Farrell acknowledged there have been some internal things kicked around. Among the considerations would be whether to play Mike Napoli everyday at first base or whether he should perhaps be in the DH mix.

“It’s safe to say we don’t have another David Ortiz to occupy that slot. Where the best matchups are and how do we balance Mike Napoli playing everyday. Everything projects where he would be fine but we all have to consider that,” Farrell said.

That would seem to bode well for Mike Carp or Lyle Overbay making the team as a first baseman.

Under the radar perhaps for a reserve outfield spot is former Kansas City Royal Mitch Maier.

“He’s having a good camp so he’s definitely in the mix,” Farrell said. “It’s very specific to recruiting him here and signing him in the winter. As we looked at our bench and the potential of it, the need for a lefthanded hitting outfielder was there and he’s played well in all three outfield position. He’s swung the bat well (.250 in 20 at-bats) as guys have got their timing down more consiustently. He’s done a good job.”

Predicting the Red Sox roster, version 2

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 11, 2013 09:55 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Now that there have been some injuries, let's take another look at what the roster may look like on Opening Day.

As a refresher, here is what we predicted on Feb. 27. Obviously there have been some developments since.

ROTATION (5)
LHP Jon Lester
RHP Clay Buchholz
RHP Ryan Dempster
LHP Felix Doubront
RHP John Lackey

Breakdown: No changes here since the first version. Doubront is back in the rotation and seems to be holding onto his spot despite a shaky start. He is out of minor league options, so the Red Sox can't just cavalierly replace him. Plus he was pretty good last season.

BULLPEN (7)
RHP Joel Hanrahan
RHP Andrew Bailey
RHP Junichi Tazawa
RHP Koji Uehara
LHP Andrew Miller
RHP Clayton Mortensen
RHP Alfredo Aceces

Breakdown: LHPs Craig Breslow (shoulder) and Franklin Morales (back) seem destined for the disabled list. Breslow is a lock at this point as he has yet to throw off a mound. Morales appeared in one game before his back pain started. The final two spots will come down to Mortensen, Aceves and Daniel Bard. Mortensen and Aceves are a bit redundant in that they are multi-inning relievers. But Mortensen has a funky delivery that sets him apart from the rest of the relievers while Aceves has late-game experience. Bard has minor league options, so the Red Sox could drop him down and protect their depth. Uehara, though righthanded, has been death on lefties in his career. So the Sox can survive until Morales and Breslow return.

LINEUP (9)
CF Jacoby Ellsbury
2B Dustin Pedroia
DH Mike Napoli
LF Jonny Gomes
3B Will Middlebrooks
RF Shane Victorino
SS Stephen Drew
C Jarrod Saltalamacchia
1B Mike Carp

Breakdown: Now that David Ortiz appears headed for the disabled list, a lineup that needs power looks a lot weaker. Carp provides a steady glove at first and could add a little power. Keeping Ryan Lavarnway is another possibility. If the Sox rolled the dice with Jackie Bradley, that would be a surprise.

BENCH (4)
C David Ross
1B-OF Daniel Nava
2B-SS-3B Pedro Ciriaco
RF-CF-LF Ryan Sweeney

Breakdown: The loss of Ortiz affects the bench, too. The Sox could keep slugger Mauro Gomez, who is basically a DH because of his below-average defensive skills. Or they could try and stay versatile with Nava and Sweeney. That would allow for Gomes (or even Victorino) to DH on occasion. Lots of possibilities here.

What do you think the roster should be? Please leave a comment.

Drew feeling better; no word from Ortiz

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 11, 2013 09:10 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — A few notes from the Red Sox clubhouse this morning:

• David Ortiz was at his locker but on the phone the entire time. The hope is to speak to him later on about his status.

• Stephen Drew, who has been out for four days with a concussion, said he was feeling better and was hoping to be cleared. He has assorted tests to pass first, including one administered by Major League Baseball.

• Alfredo Aceves, his Team Mexico equipment bag in hand, returned to the clubhouse from the World Baseball Classic just after 8 a.m. Clay Buchholz greeted him with a hug.

For the record, there seemed to be no look of Satan in Aceves' eyes.

• Dustin Pedroia came in wearing a Bigfoot t-shirt. He is a big fan of the show "Finding Bigfoot" on Animal Planet.

By the way, there have been reports about a Bigfoot-type creature in Bradenton, Fla.

"It's a skunk-ape," said Pedroia, who is somehow current with all Bigfoot-related news.

Grapefruit League Game 17: Red Sox at Marlins

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 11, 2013 07:31 AM

Good morning. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (8-8)
Bradley CF
Holt 2B
Napoli 1B
Saltalamacchia C
Middlebrooks 3B
Carp LF
Gomez DH
Maier RF
Iglesias SS
Pitching: LHP Jon Lester followed by RHP Rubby De La Rosa, RHP Alex Wilson, RHP Anthony Carter, RHP Chris Carpenter.

MARLINS (6-7)
Pierre LF
Solano 2B
Ruggiano CF
Valaika DH
Brantly C
Kearns RF
Kotchman 1B
Lucas 3B
Hechavarria SS
Pitching: RHP Kevin Slowey.

Game time: 1:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: None.

Notes: This is the first of two games against the Marlins this spring. Miami plays at Fort Myers on March 27. ... Lester has not yet been formally announced as the Opening Day starter. But he is lined up to face the Yankees on April 1.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 11, 2013 07:24 AM

David Ortiz has been shut down and Opening Day is in dire jeopardy.

The notebook has Daniel Bard pitching well again.

Dan Shaughnessy writes that while Boston is a tough media town, Carl Crawford didn't get a lot of heat. (Subscription required).

Game report: Red Sox 6, Rays 2

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 10, 2013 07:20 PM

SCORE: Red Sox 6, Rays 2

RECORD: 8-8

BREAKDOWN: Down 2-0, the Sox scored three runs in the fourth inning on a home run by David Ross and thrree more in the seventh as Jeremy Hazelbaker (double) and Pedro Ciriaco (single) drove in runs. John Lackey and five relievers held the Rays to five hits and two walks.

THUMBS UP: Ross came into the game 0 for before he took lefthander Matt Moore over the fence in left center with one out. He also was playing with a sore left wrist. “That felt pretty good, that swing,” Ross said.

THUMBS DOWN: With David Ortiz probably headed to the disabled list, Ryan Lavarnway could make a play for a roster spot. But he is 3 for 21 in Grapefruit League games with one extra-base hit and has struck out five times. He was 0 for 3 on Sunday. Lavarnway’s biggest game came against Puerto Rico’s WBC team. He was 3 for 3 with two doubles.

MEDICAL REPORT: Stephen Drew is experiencing what John Farrell said were "mild symptoms" from the concussion he suffered on Thursday. Drew did some physical activity on Saturday to gauge his readiness and still had symptoms. So he will rest today. Before he can play, Drew would have to pass an on-line test administered by Major League Baseball. … LHP Franklin Morales has hit a plateau in his recovery from a sore lower back. Morales reported to the clubhouse Sunday morning but left within a few hours with a brace wrapped around his back.

AROUND THE BASES: Lackey allowed two runs on four hits over 3.2 innings. He was pleased with throwing 66 pitches and getting up and down four times. Lackey also has shown good command, walking only three in 9.2 innings. “It’s been pretty good. It’s definitely still coming. It’s not there yet,” Lackey said. “I’ve been around the zone. You can throw strikes and not throw it where you want exactly sometimes, too. It’s still a work in progress.” … Junichi Tazawa threw a scoreless eighth inning. He has retired 10 of the last 11 batters he has faced. … The game drew 7,069, the first sellout the Rays have had at Charlotte Sports Park this season.

NEXT GAME: The Sox hit the road to play the bargain-basement Marlins across the state in Jupiter on Monday. The 1:05 p.m. game has Jon Lester facing righthander Kevin Slowey. There is no television or radio coverage.

How could the Red Sox replace David Ortiz?

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 10, 2013 05:34 PM

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — David Ortiz is likely to miss at least a few weeks of the regular season, perhaps more. How could the Red Sox replace him?

Here are a few options they could consider:

• Keep Lyle Overbay to play first base and use Mike Napoli to DH. Overbay has looked better in recent days at the plate and could be an adequate fill-in. His being lefthanded would help balance the lineup, too.

• Keep Mauro Gomez to DH. The big slugger is righthanded, which is not necessarily what the Red Sox need. But he has shown power and had a strong winter in the Dominican league.

• Keep Ryan Lavarnway as a DH and occasional catcher. That would allow Jarrod Saltalamacchia to DH, too.

• Have Jonny Gomes DH and keep Jackie Bradley Jr. to play left field. You can bet a lot of fans would love to see this. But Bradley, as good as he has looked this spring, has yet play at the Triple A level. This also would start his free-agent clock. If Ortiz is only going to miss a few weeks, this move seems unlikely.

• Sign the likes of Jim Thome and Bobby Abreu. The Sox have more palatable in-house options.

• Give Juan Carlos Linares a shot. The guy is hitting .364/.375/.545 in spring training.

Ortiz shut down; Opening Day doubtful

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 10, 2013 04:57 PM

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. —David Ortiz will be shut down for at least 5 to 7 days by the Red Sox with inflammation in both of his heels. There seems to be only a slim chance that he will be ready for Opening Day.

Ortiz, 37, had an MRI on Saturday and the results were determined on Sunday by team doctors.

"It does reveal some inflammation in the bony area of the heel. He's dealing with that. That's where his discomfort is being felt. As a result, we're going to shut him down for a few days here to let that quiet down completely before we initiate any kind of baseball activities after that," manager John Farrell said.

Ortiz suffered a small tear in his right Achilles tendon last July 16. He returned from the disabled list on on Aug. 24, aggravated the injury and did not play again.

When Ortiz was signed to a two-year, $26 million deal in November, Red Sox officials said the designated hitter should be ready for spring training. But Ortiz reported to camp unable to run the bases and was restricted to low-impact exercises. Once he started running, those drills lasted only a few days before being halted by pain in both feet.

The worse of the inflammation is in the left heel. But Farrell said Ortiz has pain in both of his heels. The issue is related to to the recent increase in workout intensity, not the original Achilles tear.

"It's separate from any kind of previous issues that he dealt with," Farrel said. "It's in the bone/tendon juncture where he's feeling the inflammation and the MRI shows it in that specific area. ... I'll tell you, he's feeling it in both. But that's why we did the MRI on both heels. It's specific to that tendon connection on his left and he's feeling it on his right. But more than anything, it's been able to isolate it to that spot and not feel it on the Achilles."

Farrell speculated Ortiz could be treated by anti-inflammatory medication. He expects Ortiz to be shut down 5-7 days.

"Compared to where he was at [previously], we feel like there's progress being made. There's no question about that. Yet he's dealing with issue that we've got to give it time to clear up," Farrell said.

Farrell was asked whether there was any chance for Ortiz to be on the roster for Opening Day on April 1 in New York against the Yankees.

"I mean we're three weeks away," he said. "He's going to need at-bats. We're not forgoing Opening Day right now. But we're starting to get into an area where we've ... depending on how many days we need to shut him down, that's going to have a direct bearing on where we are come Opening Day."

In some sense, this is good news. There was fear that Ortiz could be more seriously injured.

"Absolutely, absolutely," Farrell said. "I can't say that we're completely surprised by there being some [injury]. Once baseball activities got ramped up, the volume starts to pick up, the intensity increases. We felt like there was going to be some physical effects that have to be dealt with. The bigger picture is he's improved over a year ago and progress continues to be made. Yer we're in a little bit of a bump in the road here."

Farrell thinks the results will help Ortiz.

"I think any time we can give some assurance that there's no re-injury, there's no further damage of any kind, yeah, that's got to give some peace of mind," Farrell said. "Yet the frustration exists because of not being on the field."

Final: Red Sox 6, Rays 2

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 10, 2013 01:11 PM

Game over: Red Sox 6, Rays 2: John Lackey and five relievers held the Rays to two runs on five hits. Lyle Overbay with two hits for the Sox and David Ross with a three-run homer.

Middle of the 8th: Red Sox 6, Rays 2: Daniel Bard had a decent seventh inning. He threw 17 pitches, 9 for strikes, and had good life on his fastball. He allowed a single then got a strike 'em out / throw 'em out double play. A grounder to second ended the inning.

Off to the clubhouse. Will catch you up later on.

Middle of the 7th: Red Sox 6, Rays 2: The Sox scored three runs in the seventh. Ciriaco had an RBI single and Hazelbaker an RBI double. Another scored on a wild pitch.

Top of the 6th: Red Sox 3, Rays 2: Lackey's line: 3.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 66 pitches, 41 strikes. He has thrown 9.2 innings this spring and walked three. That's a good sign for a pitcher coming back from surgery.

Also: Nick Cafardo reports from Fort Myers that David Ortiz has been given the results of his MRI but wants John Farrell to announce the news after the game here.

Middle of the 4th: Red Sox 3, Rays 2: Nava walked before Sweeney singled with one out. Ross, who mashes lefties, then homered to center off Moore. Overbay followed with a single before Moore finished his outing by striking out Sutton. Ciriaco reached on a throwing error but was picked off first to end the inning.

Top of the 4th: Rays 2, Rays 0: With one out, singles by Anderson, Rodriguez and Escobar scored a run. After Johnson walked, Longoria's sacrifice fly made it 2-0.

Top of the 3rd: Sox 0, Rays 0: Moore got three fly balls in the top of the second. Lackey then retired the side in order in the bottom of the inning. Six up and six down for him.

Top of the 2nd: Sox 0, Rays 0: Nava had a two-out single off Moore before Lavarnway flied to right. Lackey had a perfect bottom of the inning.

Pre-game: Nice day here in Port Charlotte for the game. Sox will get a look at Rays lefty Matt Moore, the impressive 23-year-old who has a 3.76 ERA in parts of two seasons.

The game is on NESN but we'll have occasional updates here.

Red Sox waiting for results on Ortiz's MRI

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 10, 2013 12:29 PM

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — As of about 11:45 a.m., the Red Sox had not yet received the results of the MRI David Ortiz had on Saturday on his sore feet.

"Once we get that, it'll give us a little more definitive plan of action to follow," manager John Farrell said.

The results were sent to Boston and will be examined by a team doctor, presumably sometime today.

Ortiz has yet to play in a game during spring training as he recovers from a strained right Achilles tendon and the soreness that resulted once he tried running the bases.

Farrell spoke to Ortiz this morning about the issue.

"The frustration is still there. I think [it will be] until he gets a definitive -- or until we get a definitive -- plan with him, which will take into account the findings or lack thereof of the MRI and then set out a plan going forward," Farrell said.

"I think most importantly at this point, as long as David is fully aware of everything that is going on or what he's experiencing and feeling and that there's no risk of addition damage because it is generalized in the heels and not so much in the Achilles, I think then there's a chance to focus some of the work and answer some of those questions that might be in his mind right now."

Also:

• Stephen Drew is experiencing what Farrell said were "mild symptoms" from the concussion he suffered on Thursday. Drew did some physical activity on Saturday to gauge his readiness and still had symptoms. So he will rest today.

Before he can play, Drew would have to pass an on-line test administered by Major League Baseball.

• LHP Franklin Morales has "plateaued" in his recovery from a sore lower back according to Farrell. Morales reported to the clubhouse this morning but left within a few hours with a brace wrapped around his back.

Ortiz, Morales and Craig Breslow (shoulder) all seem likely to start the season on the disabled list. Breslow is all but certain given that he hasn't thrown off a mound yet. Morales and Ortiz still have a shot, but the odds are growing slimmer every day.

• Battlin' Alfredo Aceves is expected back in Red Sox camp early this week with Mexico having been eliminated from the WBC. The Sox also will get RHP Oscar Villareal back, too. He is in camp on a minor-league deal.

• Xander Bogaerts is playing with the Netherlands in Japan. They face Cuba on Monday and would play Japan on Tuesday if they win. Farrell said the Sox haven't determined whether Bogaerts would return to major league camp once he returns or go to the minor league side.

• With the regular position players now playing back-to-back games, at-bats will soon be harder to come by for younger players. Expects some more cuts in the coming days.

• Mike Napoli will play back-to-back games for the first time on Monday and Tuesday.

• NESN analyst Jerry Remy will be taking next weekend off because of a family commitment. JIm Rice will join Don Orsillo in the booth on Friday. The telecast also will include members of the Twins broadcast team.

On Sunday, Orsillo and Rice will call the game against the Rays.

Grapefruit League Game 16: Red Sox at Rays

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 10, 2013 09:10 AM

Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (7-8)
Ellsbury CF
Pedroia 2B
Nava LF
Lavarnway DH
Sweeney RF
Ross C
Overbay 1B
Sutton 3B
Ciriaco SS
Pitching: RHP John Lackey, RHP Clayton Mortensen, RHP Koji Uehara, RHP Junichi Tazawa, RHP Daniel Bard and RHP Steven Wright.

RAYS (11-4)
Escobar SS
Johnson 2B
Longoria 3B
Joyce RF
Loney 1B
Gimenez C
Cust DH
Anderson LF
Rodriguez CF
Pitching: LHP Matt Moore, RHP Josh Lueke, RHP Juan Sandova and LHP Enny Romero.

Game time: 1:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI-AM

Notes: The Red Sox are leaving Fort Myers for a game for the first time since Feb. 28. Their previous nine games were either home (7) or against the Twins (2) down the street. ... Starting today, the Sox have 20 games left in spring training, 11 on the road, nine of them out of town. ... Lackey is making his fourth start of the spring. He threw three shutout innings against Puerto Rico on Tuesday.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 10, 2013 09:01 AM

Nick Cafardo writes that assistant GM Mike Hazen is driven to help change the Red Sox.

The notebook has David Ortiz undergoing more tests.

In the Sunday Baseball Notes, Nick looks at how much drug testing could change baseball. (Subscription only).

Aceves in the middle of a WBC brawl

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 9, 2013 11:57 PM

Red Sox pitcher Alfredo Aceves was flung to the ground and took several punches to the head during a brawl between Mexico and Canada during their World Baseball Classic game on Saturday.

Multiple fights erupted after Canada's Rene Tosoni was hit in the back by a pitch from Arnold Leon with the score 9-3 at Chase Field in Phoenix. It quickly turned into a wild scene, as chaotic as any on a major league field in recent years.

Aceves was among four Mexican players ejected The Red Sox righthander was tossed to the ground by Philadelphia minor league outfielder Tyson Gillies during the height of the altercation, then rushed to rejoin the fray. At one point in the fracas, three or four Canadian players were on top of Aceves.

"I had a hold of him and I thought I saw Satan in his eyes," said Canada coach Larry Walker, who tried to restrain Aceves.

Red Sox manager John Farrell saw the incident on television.

"I think we all hope our players don't get injured when they go off to a tournament, especially in that type of melee," he said. "It looks like [Aceves] came out of it OK, with the exception of a couple of welts on his head. We had a message from their trainer that he came out of it OK despite taking a couple of left hooks to the head."

Mexico was eliminated from the tournament because of a 10-3 loss against Canada. Aceves pitched in one game, allowing two runs on five hits over three innings. He is expected to rejoin the Red Sox early next week.

In other WBC news, Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino is 0 for 1 in the two WBC games the United States (1-1) has played.

Associated Press reports included.

Final: Orioles 5, Red Sox 2

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff March 9, 2013 07:14 PM

Game over Orioles 5, Red Sox 2: The Sox were held to seven hits and fell to 7-8. Terry Doyle allowed three runs in the ninth. The Sox got one back in the bottom of the inning but that was it.

Bottom 6th: Orioles 2, Red Sox 1: Will Middlebrooks had two walks and a single before being removed for a pinch-runner. Jarrod Saltalamacchia also singled and left the game after two hits.

Top 6th: Orioles 2, Red Sox 1: Andrew Miller struck out two and continued to look solid this spring.

Top 5th: Orioles 2, Red Sox 1: Joel Hanrahan pitched one inning and struck out two. He's expected to leave the team shortly to be with his wife who's expecting a child. Doubront went three innings, allowed four hits, two runs, walked one and struck out five.

Top 3rd, Orioles 2, Red Sox 1: Nolan Reimold singled to left field scoring Alexi Casilla with the go ahead run. Doubront also walked Luis Exposito, the No. 9 hitter.

Top 2nd: Orioles 1, Red Sox 1: The Sox tied it when Mitch Maier stroked a double to right scoring Will Middlebrooks (walk).

Top 1st, Orioles 1, Red Sox 0: Felix Doubront, making his second start, allowed a run when Alexi Casilla doubled on his first pitch and scored on Lew Ford's single. Doubront got out of the rest of the inning, but the Sox failed to convert two double-plays, one when Mike Napoli couldn't handle a one-hop throw from second baseman Brock Holt.

Sox waiting for MRI results on Ortiz

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff March 9, 2013 04:30 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Red Sox are awaiting MRI results on both of David Ortiz' heels. The MRIs were conducted, according to manager John Farrell and Sox assistant general manager Mike Hazen, strictly for "precautionary reasons."

Ortiz has had a problem with his left Achilles' heel since last July. Lately, Ortiz has experienced soreness in his heel area after workouts. Two years ago ,he had soreness in his right heel, which is why the Red Sox wanted to take another look.

Farrell said he still hasn't ruled out Ortiz being ready on time for Opening Day while Ortiz has said he needs at least 50 at-bats in the next three weeks to do it.

Ortiz could still get the necessary prep work with a combination of major league and minor league at-bats. If today's MRIs are fine, he will likely begin moving closer to getting at-bats in game situations.

"The good news is that he is progressing," Farrell said.

Vazquez popping up as catching prospect

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 8, 2013 10:23 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — It's one of those baseball statistics you won't find in the morning newspaper or on a website. But all teams keep close track of pop times.

That's the amount of time it takes a catcher to receive the ball, pop out of his crouch, and throw to a base. Two seconds is considered an average time. Anything around 1.8 is excellent.

In the sixth inning on Friday, when Red Sox prospect Christian Vazquez threw out Trevor Plouffe at second base, the Red Sox had him at 1.82 seconds. It was the kind of throw that had people in the stands buzzing. In the Red Sox dugout, too.

Vazquez has the most impressive arm among a strong group of catchers in camp. It's strong and accurate, and he's not afraid to use it to throw behind runners.

"Outstanding feet, quick release, plenty of arm strength, accuracy. This is probably the fourth guy he's cut down in spring training," Sox manager John Farrell said. "All of the same variety. He's confident when he throws the baseball and I think that just shows in the accuracy and the quickness in which he releases the ball."

Vazquez, 22, is a 5-foot-9-inch, 195-pound native of Bayamon, Puerto Rico. He grew up watching the Molina brothers of Bayamon, Bengie, Jose, and Yadier. All three have World Series rings and are respected across the island for their accomplishments.

Vazquez, through his personal trainer, started working out with the Molinas in 2010. That included training in the gym, on a track, and on the field.

"Very good guys," Vazquez said. "I watched them in winter ball. When I was a kid, I was there watching."

So, does Vazquez have a bigger arm than the Molinas?

"I think so," he said, laughing.

Maybe he does. Vazquez led the Single A Carolina League with a 41.9 caught stealing percentage last season. He hit .266 for Salem with 24 extra-base hits in 293 at-bats. He earned a late-season promotion to Double A Portland and that is likely where he will start this season.

"He's a great-looking prospect behind the plate," Farrell said. "He's durable and this is a guy that's really come a long way since he signed out of Puerto Rico. A guy that's really worked his way [up] from a stamina standpoint and overall strength. When his arrival date is here, he's probably a couple of injuries away in the short term. In the long term he's got some development left with the bat, but he's a very good prospect behind the plate."

The Red Sox will have some potentially difficult decisions to make with their catchers this year and next.

David Ross is signed for two seasons and will serve as a valuable backup and mentor. The primary catcher this year will be Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who will be a free agent after the season.

Ryan Lavarnway, 25, has made great strides in recent seasons. Vazquez is a fast-rising prospect and 26-year-old Dan Butler keeps proving he belongs after arriving as an undrafted free agent. The Sox also have well-regarded Blake Swihart, a 20-year-old former first-round draft pick who played for low-A Greenville last season.

It will be interesting to see to what degree Jason Varitek influences the decisions to come. In his new role, Varitek will be working closely with Lavarnway, Vazquez, Butler, Swihart, and other young catchers and his recommendations will carry a lot of weight.

Also:

• Farrell said Ryan Dempster threw all fastballs against the Twins with the exception of 12 or 13 cutters or sliders. Dempster wanted to build up arm strength and throwing a bunch of fastballs was the best way to do it.

"He's shown the ability to throw three or four pitches for strikes in his previous outings," the manager said. "He wanted to go out and pitch with his fastball here tonight."

Game report: Twins 2, Red Sox 0

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 8, 2013 10:17 PM

SCORE: Twins 2, Red Sox 0

RECORD: 7-7

BREAKDOWN: Ryan Dempster was cruising along until the third inning when he gave up four consecutive hits with two outs. That gave the Twins two runs and eventually the victory. The Sox were held to four hits. Jacoby Ellsbury, Ryan Sweeney and Jonny Gomes each had singles and Christian Vazquez a double off the wall in left.

THUMBS UP: Vazquez, a 22-year-old catcher, threw out Trevor Plouffe trying to steal second base in the sixth inning. It was the third runner Vazquez has caught this spring. In an organization well stocked with catching prospects, his defensive skills have stood out. … Sweeney, who is trying to make the team as a non-roster player, got on base twice.

THUMBS DOWN: The Red Sox were 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position and left nine runners on base. They loaded the bases with one out in the first inning against Mike Pelfrey but Daniel Nava struck out and Will Middlebrooks flied deep to right field. … Lyle Overbay was 0 for 2 with two strikeouts and a walk. He is hitting .158 so far.

MEDICAL REPORT: Franklin Morales (lower back) felt fine playing catching on Thursday but wasn’t sure when he would be able to throw off the mound. … Middlebrooks returned to the lineup a day after being laid up with the flu. We’ll spare you the details. He was 0 for 3 but hit the ball hard twice.

AROUND THE BASES: Dempster threw 66 pitches, 43 for strikes. He has not issued a walk in 8.2 innings this spring. “I feel really good,” Dempster said when asked about his pinpoint command so far. “That just comes with trying to repeat it as much as I can on the side and obviously in the game. I feel like when I’m behind in the count I can make a pitch where I want to throw it,” he said. … A prankster taped up a life-sized photo of third base coach Brian Butterfield on a wall displaying artwork of team legends. … The game drew 9,529, a sellout.

NEXT GAME: Saturday at 7:05 p.m. against Baltimore at JetBlue Park. The Sox are scheduled to start Felix Doubront against top Orioles prospect Dylan Bundy. NESN and WEEI will carry the game.

Final: Twins 2, Red Sox 0

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 8, 2013 06:50 PM

Game over: Twins 2, Red Sox 0: Christian Vazquez doubled off the wall (well off the net in the wall) with one out in the ninth. But the Sox were unable to score.

Back with more later.

Middle of the 9th: Twins 2, Red Sox 0: The Sox have been held to three hits in what has been a pretty nondescript game.

Top of the 7th: Twins 2, Red Sox 0: Alex Wilson and Anthony Carter have held the Twins down. But the Sox have only three hits and are 0 for 4 with runners in scoring position.

The Sox have made a bunch of substitutions at this point.

Top of the 5th: Twins 2, Red Sox 0: Dempster was cruising along until he gave up four straight hits with two outs in the third. His line: 3.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 66 pitches, 43 strikes.

The Sox have two hits.

Top of the 3rd: Twins 0, Red Sox 0: Dempster worked around a leadoff single before the Sox went in order.

Top of the 2nd: Twins 0, Red Sox 0: Dempster had a perfect inning. The Sox loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the inning but nava struck out and Middlebrooks flied out to the wall in right.

Pre-game: Good evening from JetBlue Park and tonight's game against the Twins. Ryan Dempster will face Mike Pelfrey.

The game is on NESN and WEEI, but we'll have occasional updates here. Please feel free to leave comments, too.

Drew out with mild concussion

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 8, 2013 04:14 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Shortstop Stephen Drew is out of the lineup today because of a mild concussion. He was hit in the helmet with a pitch on Thursday and showed no symptoms until later in the day.

Drew was in the original lineup until he came to the park and said he was a little woozy.

"At the time he said, ‘Imagine if it hit me in the nose?” Fortunately it glanced off the helmet," John Farrell said. "The way he reacted you almost think he didn’t see the pitch completely because there wasn’t a whole lot of diving out of the way. It wasn’t a direct blow. At the time he felt fine throughout the game. It was [Thursday] night when he started reading a book, the print started to get a little fuzzy on him. … By rule, he’s being held out.”

Drew would have to be cleared by Dr. Gary Green of Major League Baseball, who works in conjunction with each team’s medical staff. If Drew is found to have lingering symptoms, he would have to pass a test administered on-line before he could play again.

Also:

• David Ortiz did not do any running today and will try again Saturday. But the Sox haven't given up on the idea of his being ready for Opening Day.

"We haven’t gotten to that point yet, no. We feel like, even now, with minor league games starting up, we’ll still be able to get the appropriate number of at-bats that he’ll feel comfortable provided there’s progress being made," Farrell said.

"This is part of getting back in shape and it’s volume and intensity related. There isn’t a thought of any kind of re-injury or injury any more than what was sustained last year."

To that point, there are no plans for Ortiz to be examined again. But that has not been ruled out.

"He’s critically important to our lineup. He’s aware of that. I think that’s what kind of adds to his frustration, not being able to get on the field and participate in spring training and get ready for the regular season," Farrell said. "But because we haven’t come to that date where Plan B is a legitimate one. I know those discussions will take place [but] we’re still hopeful and taking the approach he will be ready. But we’ve got to be aware that may need adjustment."

• Farrell went to watch minor league prospects Anthony Ranaudo and Brandon Workman pitch in a simulated game today. He'll watch Matt Barnes and Henry Owens on Saturday.

• Farrell on Mariano Rivera, who is expected to announce his retirement plans on Saturday: "He set the standard by which all other closers are compared. I think it’s remarkable that if you look at video from probably 15 years ago to now, you’re going to see the same exact delivery. Just a great athlete with a Hall of Fame career.

"He basically revolutionized [the cutter]. Frankly, it’s such a known weapon for him. His command of it, his strike-throwing ability to both sides of the plate, it’s just a model of consistency.”

Grapefruit League Game 14: Twins at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 8, 2013 01:12 PM

Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (7-6)
Ellsbury CF
Pedroia 2B
Sweeney RF
Gomes LF
Nava 1B
Middlebrooks 3B
Lavarnway C
Overbay DH
Iglesias SS
Pitching: RHP Ryan Dempster followed by LHP Chris Hernandez, RHP Alex Wilson, RHP Anthony Carter.

TWINS (7-6)
Hicks CF
Dozier 2B
Willingham DH
Doumit C
Plouffe 3B
Boggs LF
Benson RF
Clement 1B
Florimon SS
Pitching: RHP Mike Pelfrey followed by LHP Brian Duensing, RHP Josh Roenicke, LHP Tyler Robertson, RHP Michael Tonkin, RHP Virgil Vasquez

Game time: 7:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI-AM

Notes: The Sox are 2-0 against the Twins this spring, beating them 12-5 across town at Hammond Stadium on Thursday. ... The Sox will wear their home white uniforms tonight. ... Dempster has been almost untouchable in two starts: 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K. ... Xander Bogaerts was 1 for 5 in the Netherlands 6-2 win over Cuba in Tokyo earlier today.

Happy birthday, Jim Rice

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 8, 2013 12:37 PM

A very happy 60th birthday to Hall of Famer Jim Ed Rice, a man who had 406 total bases in 1978 and hit 46 home runs when that meant something.

Of all the different people I've had the great privilege of getting to know in the last few years on the Sox beat, Jim is one of the best. He has gone out of his way to be friendly, informative about baseball and gracious.

If NESN wanted a ratings bonanza, they would have a show with Jim and Luis Tiant and just let them tell stories. Jim and El Tiante are great friends, golf partners and are constantly needling each other.

Jim was 4 for 21 off Luis in his career and they still playfully argue about every plate appearance. To hear Jim tell the tale, most of the outs were line drives. Luis, of course, says they were pop-ups. It's incredibly fun to stand there and listen to them talk.

It would be fun to tell you what they say, but this is a family blog. Let's just say it's colorful.

If you grew up in New England in the 1970s and '80s and watched Sox games, you know how important guys like Rice, Freddy Lynn, Dewey Evans, Yaz and Pudge Fisk were. They seemed like giants when you were a kid.

Then you get to meet them and they're just people. When they turn out to be nice people, it makes your day.

So happy birthday, Jim.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 8, 2013 12:24 PM

Allen Webster never expected to become a pitcher. Now he's somebody who could become the ace of the Red Sox.

The notebook has Daniel Bard looking much improved.

Carl Crawford blames media for poor play in Boston

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 7, 2013 01:47 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Former Red Sox left fielder Carl Crawford says the media made him miserable in Boston.

Crawford had a .260 batting average and a .292 OBP in two seasons with the Red Sox. But he told CBS Sports that the media somehow wanted him to play poorly.

"I think they want to see that in Boston. They love it when you're miserable," he said. "Burying people in the media, they think that makes a person play better. That media was the worst thing I've ever experienced in my life."

What's perhaps most interesting about these comments are not that Crawford said them; people who knew him in Tampa predicted before the 2011 season that he would crack under the pressure of a big market. It's the Red Sox either didn't realize — or ignored — the fact that Crawford's personality would be an issue.

The same is true to a lesser degree with Adrian Gonzalez.

Bottom line: With every day that passes and every comment made, that trade gets better and better.

Report: Rivera to announce retirement plans

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 7, 2013 01:30 PM

Mariano Rivera, the legendary Yankees closer, will announce on Saturday that he will retire after the season.

Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported that Rivera will hold a press conference in Tampa to unveil his plans. Rivera has been in New York this week on what what was termed personal business.

Rivera was contemplating retirement last season before a knee injury in May ended his season. The 43-year-old righthander has played 19 seasons and has a record 608 saves in 1,051 appearances. He has a career WHIP of 0.99 and a carer ERA+ of 206.

Rivera has pitched in 96 postseason games and allowed 11 earned runs over 141 innings.

Final: Red Sox 12, Twins 5

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 7, 2013 12:45 PM

Game over: Red Sox 12, Twins 5: The Sox had 16 hits to improve to 7-6 in Grapefruit League play. Their pitchers fanned 14 and walked two.

Middle of the 9th: Red Sox 12, Twins 5: The Sox tacked on three more runs, one on Jackie Bradley Jr.'s RBI single. Webster is staying in for the 9th. Off to the clubhouse Back later.

Top of the 9th: Red Sox 9, Twins 5: Webster allowed a triple and a sacrifice fly before dispatching of the Twins from there.

Middle of the 8th: Red Sox 9, Twins 4: Heiker Meneses drove in a run.

Top of the 8th: Red Sox 8, Twins 4: Allen Webster with a 1-2-3 inning, striking out two swinging. He has looked terrific. His fastball hit 98.

Middle of the 7th: Red Sox 8, Twins 4: Very encouraging inning for Daniel Bard in the sixth. He struck out all three batters he faced, throwing nine of 14 pitches for strikes. He worked up and down instead of side to side and hit 95 with his fastball. He also threw his slider for strikes.

Bard had not pitched in a game since Feb. 25 and had been working on his mechanics since.

Worth noting: Bard faced Eduardo Escobar, Jeff Clement and Brandon Boggs, not Joe Bauer, Justin Morneau and Josh Willingham. But the point was that he showed better command and velocity.

Top of the 5th: Red Sox 8, Twins 4: Rough inning for Joel Hanrahan, who put five straight batters on base (a walk and four singles) before getting a strikeout. He was relieved by Chris Carpenter, who allowed a two-run single by Ray Olmedo.

Middle of the 4th: Red Sox 8, Twins 0: Pedroia (2 for 3) had a two-run double in the fifth inning. Then Napoli had a three-run shot to left. It was high and deep, which seems to be a trend with Napoli.

Sox have 10 hits, the Twins 2. Hanrahan in for Buchholz, who was sharp. 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K, 38 pitches, 31 strikes.

Middle of the 3rd: Red Sox 3,Twins 0: Drew Sutton was credited with a double when his pop-up to center fell behind Jamey Carroll with a runner on second in the second inning.

That should be an error. Just because the outfielder didn't touch the ball is meaningless, as is the sun. A fielder's job is to play the elements.

Anyway, the Sox got a legit run in the third inning when Pedroia, Napoli and Lavarnway all singled.

Top of the 2nd: Red Sox 1, Twins 0: Ellsbury (who missed a few days with the flu) singled and went to second on a botched pickoff. Pedroia grounded to short to move him over then Drew singled in the run.

Buchholz had an impressive inning: 8 pitches, 7 strikes. He recorded three quick outs.

Pre-game: Good afternoon from Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, a few miles away from Fenway South. It'll be the Red Sox and Twins at 1:05 p.m.

There's no television or radio coverage. But we'll have updates right here.

Farrell: Breslow unlikely for Opening Day

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 7, 2013 10:02 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Lefty reliever Craig Breslow is likely to start the season on the disabled list, Red Sox manager John Farrell said.

The same could be true for another lefthanded reliever, Franklin Morales.

Breslow arrived in camp with weakness in his left shoulder and has only recently started throwing on flat ground. He is not close to getting on the mound.

“He’s on an every-other-day throwing program right now. It’s hard to project right now that he’ll be ready to go once camp breaks. He’s going to need a little time," Farrell said.

Once he starts throwing off the mound, Breslow would have go through the process of throwing live batting practice several times before getting into games.

Morales threw one inning in a game before being shut down with lower-back pain. He responded well to anti-inflammatory drugs and played catch today. The question now is how quickly he can catch up.

"Depending on how these next probably 5-7 days go and how he can pick up on the throwing program, that's going to give us better read on whether he's going to be ready to go," Farrell said.

That will leave the Red Sox with one lefty in the pen — Andrew Miller — instead of three. But righthander Koji Uehara has been remarkably effective against lefties in his career (they have hit .216/.248/.383 three against him).

"Fortunately we have depth and we have quality depth in the bullpen," Farrell said.

With Daniel Bard likely ticketed for Triple A to continue working on mechanical issues, the Opening Day bullpen now projects to this:

Closer: Joel Hanrahan
Set-up men: Andrew Bailey, Andrew Miller, Koji Uehara, Junichi Tazawa
Long relievers: Clayton Mortensen, Alfredo Aceves.

Also:

• David Ortiz ran the bases this morning. But not at the intensity that was planned.

“It’s more general soreness. It’s not in the Achilles. It’s in both lower leg areas. It’s not localized to the injury,” Farrell said. “It’s tendons down back of the ankles and in that area. One encouraging thing, it’s more because of the volume and increase, basically getting back in shape now that he’s been able to do some more aggressive running. It’s generalized; it’s not specific to the injury."

• Now that he has watched Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster pitch, John Farrell really likes that trade with the Dodgers.

"Considering the deal and seeing the two arms that were brought back, it made the trade in the long run even that much more advantageous," he said. "Let’s face it, we gave up some really talented players. I recognize that. Given where Ben [Cherington] and others felt we needed to go, to have [Webster and De La Rosa] come back and be able to move that amount of money is a hell of a deal."

Ortiz may not run bases as scheduled today

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 7, 2013 09:06 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — On another chilly morning at Fenway South (46 degrees!) here are some notes:

• David Ortiz was scheduled for what John Farrell described as "an aggressive" base-running day. We shall see. Ortiz said this morning his right foot is sore and he'll see how he feels after he hits.

It's fair to say that Ortiz is no better than 50-50 for Opening Day at this point.

• Will Middlebrooks has the flu now, too. But Jacoby Ellsbury is feeling better and back in the lineup.

• A day after we ran this story, Andrew Miller cut his hair. But he still left it fairly long and kept a short beard. He looks like Russell Hammond, the guitar player of Stillwater.

Back with more later.

Grapefruit League Game 13: Red Sox at Twins

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 7, 2013 07:38 AM

Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (6-6)
Ellsbury CF
Pedroia 2B
Drew SS
Napoli 1B
Lavarnway DH
Saltalamacchia C
Nava LF
Sweeney RF
Sutton 3B
Pitching: RHP Clay Buchholz, RHP Allen Webster, RHP Chris Carpenter, RHP Koji Uehara, RHP Joel Hanrahan, RHP Daniel Bard.

TWINS (6-5)Benson CF
Carroll 2B
Willingham LF
Doumit C
Plouffe 3B
Escobar DH
Clement 1B
Boggs RF
Olmedo SS
Pitching: RHP Kevin Correia, RHP P.J. Walters, RHP Trevor May, RHP B.J. Hermsen, LHP Caleb Thielbar.

Game time: 1:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: None.

Notes: Buchholz will be making his second start of the spring. He faced the Twins on Saturday at Hammond Stadium and went 1.1 innings, throwing 40 pitches. ... Bard will be making his first appearance in a game since Feb. 25. The long break allowed him to work on the side with pitching coach Juan Nieves on some mechanical issues related to his stride.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 7, 2013 07:31 AM

Koji Uehara has found the Red Sox to his liking. He looks like an important piece of the bullpen.

The notebook has Ryan Westmoreland announcing his retirement.

Chris Gasper writes that the Red Sox need Clay Buchholz to reach his potential.

Ben Cherington: Ryan Westmoreland is 'remarkable'

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 6, 2013 08:02 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The retirement of Ryan Westmoreland made Wednesday a tough day for the Red Sox.

Third baseman Will Middlebrooks, who knows Westmoreland well, said it was hard to think about how much potential the outfielder had before undergoing two brain surgeries. Westmoreland was ranked as one of the top 25 prospects in the game after his one season in the minors.

"I never got to play with him other than in spring training, but I’ve seen video of him playing and he would have been one of the best ballplayers to come through this organization,” Middlebrooks said. “You know when guys have it, and he had it.”

General manager Ben Cherington got to know Westmoreland and his family better than he ever imagined.

“Ryan’s a remarkable young man,” Cherington said. “He was an incredibly talented baseball player, a special, special talent as a baseball player. We got to know him more as a person after the first incident a few years back and we’ve come to learn he’s more of an even special person.”

Cherington said that Westmoreland inspired people in the organization with his courage and the grace with which he handled a difficult situation.

“For some reason, we don’t all get dealt the same hand and some of those hands aren’t fair, and he got dealt a bad hand,” Cherington said. “But there’s a path for him he’s going to find and there’s going to be a lot of happiness in his future.”

Part of Westmoreland's initial contract with the Red Sox included college expenses. Cherington said he urged Westmoreland to “step away” from the team and take some time to decide his future.

Game report: Pirates 9, Red Sox 3

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 6, 2013 07:59 PM

SCORE: Pirates 9, Red Sox 3

RECORD: 6-6.

BREAKDOWN: Jon Lester allowed one run over four innings despite command issues that led to three walks. But it was a rough day for knuckleballer Steven Wright (2 innings, 5 hits, 3 walks, 5 earned runs) and hard-throwing prospect Rubby De La Rosa (2 innings, 3 hits, 1 walk, 2 earned runs). Tim Wakefield was on hand to see Wright pitch and they spoke afterward about correcting his release point. “I know how to fix what I’m doing wrong,” Wright said. “I need to get better at recognizing it.”

THUMBS UP: Brock Holt started at third base for the first time as a professional and played six innings. He made a diving stop to rob Andrew McCutchen of a hit in the first inning … Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s double in the sixth inning missed clearing the wall by only a few feet.

THUMBS DOWN: Pedro Ciriaco did not handle center field well last season and committed a throwing error in the seventh inning when the Red Sox moved him out there. The Sox would love to make Ciriaco a super utility player but he may be limited to the infield.

MEDICAL REPORT: The flu is hitting the Red Sox. Jacoby Ellsbury was out for a second straight day and non-roster utility player Mark Hamilton was felled, too. Ellsbury could play on Thursday … Lefthanded reliever Franklin Morales is being medicated to try to help his lower-back pain. He is not close to returning to the mound … Righthander Pedro Beato (shoulder) threw in the bullpen.

AROUND THE BASES: Jackie Bradley drew two walks. He has gotten on base 13 times in 23 plate appearances this spring. He also has played 48 innings in the field, the most on the team … Lester is lined up to start the opener on April 1 against the Yankees in New York but John Farrell has yet to officially announce that … Not that it matters much, but David Ross is 0 for 9 so far.

NEXT GAME: Thursday against Minnesota at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers at 1:05 p.m. The Sox will start Clay Buchholz against Kevin Correia.

Ryan Westmoreland, one-time Red Sox prospect, announces retirement

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 6, 2013 01:57 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Outfielder Ryan Westmoreland, a Rhode Island native once considered the top prospect in the Red Sox organization, announced his retirement on Wednesday.

Westmoreland, who will turn 23 on April 27, underwent brain surgery in March 2010 to correct a cavernous malformation. He had similar surgery last July.

"With a clear mind and heart, as well as the unwavering support and friendship of my family, friends, agent(s), doctors, therapists, and the Boston Red Sox, I have decided to voluntarily retire as a professional baseball player," Westmoreland wrote in an e-mail sent to some media outlets. A copy was provided to the Globe by the Red Sox.

"Although it is a very difficult decision for me, it has become clear that the neurological damage caused by the most recent cavernous malformation and surgery leaves me with physical challenges that make it impossible to play the game at such a high level.

"In my heart, I know that I have worked as hard as one possibly could to overcome the obstacles presented by this unfortunate series of events. It is with that confidence that I am comfortable turning the page."

Westmoreland went on to thank the Red Sox, his family, his agents, and fans for their support. He plans to pursue a college degree and work in baseball in some capacity.

Westmoreland was a sixth-round pick in the 2008 draft and passed up a scholarship to Vanderbilt in favor of a $2 million bonus from the Red Sox. He played one season, hitting .296 with Lowell in 2009.

The Red Sox allowed Westmoreland to continue working out at team facilities for several years despite the slim odds that he would ever return to a competitive level.

Final: Pirates 9, Red Sox 3

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 6, 2013 01:30 PM

Game over: Pirates 9, Red Sox 3: Jon Lester allowed one run over four innings. But Steven Wright and Rubby De La Rosa allowed eight in the four innings that followed as the Red Sox fell to 6-6 in the Grapefruit League.

Top of the 9th: Pirates 9, Red Sox 2: Rough outing for Rubby De La Rosa (2 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K) as the Pirates hammer away.

Top of the 7th: Pirates 6, Red Sox 2: Salty doubled before Bradley walked with two outs. Christian Vazquez singled in a run. Iglesias extended the inning by drawing a walk before Ciriaco popped out. Both teams have subbed out their starters for the most part.

Middle of the 6th: Pirates 6, Red Sox 1: Wright had another bad inning, giving up three runs on three hits and a walk. Lots of hard-hit balls.

Top of the 6th: Pirates 3, Red Sox 1: Sox go in order against Jared Hughes. Only three hits for the Sox thus far.

Middle of the 5th: Pirates 3, Red Sox 1: Rough inning for knuckleballer Steven Wright. With a runner on first and one out, he walked Marte and Snider. McCutchen's single single and a deep fly to left by Alvarez scored runs. Tim Wakefield is here to see Wright.

Top of the 5th: Pirates 1, Red Sox 1: Lester is done after four inning. His line: 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 54 pitches, 33 strikes. The Sox missed a chance to score in the fourth. Linares doubled with one out before Bradley walked. But Ross struck out and Iglesiasn flied to right right.

Top of the 4th: Pirates 1, Red Sox 1: Ciriaco singled and stole second with one out. After Holt walked, Gomes doubled in a run. Salty then grounded sharply to first, Jones going into foul territory to make the play after the ball took a sharp turn.

Middle of the 3rd: Pirates 1, Red Sox 0: Lester left the bases loaded in the second inning then worked a 1-2-3 third. The Sox have yet to reach base against Locke.

Middle of the 1st: Pirates 1, Red Sox 0: Marte led of with a triple to deep center. Lester fanned Snider but a run scored when McCutchen grounded to third. Holt made a terrific diving stop to make the play. Not bad for a player with almost no experience there. Alvarez then struck out.

Pre-game: It's sunny and 68 degrees at the Fort as the Red Sox prepare to play the Pirates. Jon Lester is set for four innings today. Should be fun to see Jackie Bradley Jr. and Andrew McCutchen in center field.

Stick around for updates.

Yaz arrives at the Fort, and other notes

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 6, 2013 10:49 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The great Carl Michael Yastrzemski has arrived at Red Sox camp and was on the field to watch the major leaguers take batting practice. At one point he was flanked by Luis Tiant and Jim Rice.

Yaz is 73. Don't know about you, but that is hard to believe.

As to the news:

• David Ortiz will not work out on the field today. He is scheduled for a fairly rigorous base-running drill Thursday.

John Farrell said Ortiz wants 50 plate appearances this spring. That could be accomplished in MLB games and minor league games. In the minor league setting, Ortiz could bat every inning just to work on his timing.

• Jacoby Ellsbury is still out with the dreaded internal distress. Mark Hamilton also has the same affliction.

• RHP Pedro Beato (shoulder) will throw in the bullpen today.

• Alfredo Aceves and Oscar Villareal each pitched a scoreless inning for Mexico in a game against the Diamondbacks Tuesday night. Shane Victorino was 0 for 3 against the White Sox.

Farrell said Mexico plans to use Aceves a multi-inning reliever.

• The Red Sox planned to stretch LHP Franklin Morales out this spring. Now that he's dealing with back pain, the goal is just to get him back on the mound and throwing again. This could turn into a DL stint to start the season, it seems.

Grapefruit League Game 12: Pirates at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 6, 2013 07:59 AM

Good morning. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (6-5)
Holt 3B
Gomes LF
Saltalamacchia DH
Gomez 1B
Linares RF
Bradley CF
Ross C
Iglesias SS
Ciriaco 2B
Pitching: LHP Jon Lester followed by RHP Rubby De La Rosa, RHP Steven Wright, RHP Junichi Tazawa, RHP Anthony Carter.

PIRATES (3-7)
Marte LF
Snider RF
McCutchen CF
Alvarez 3B
Walker 2B
Jones 1B
Inge DH
McKenry C
Barmes SS
Pitching: LHP Jeff Locke followed by RHP Phil Irwin, LHP Jonathan Sanchez, RHP Jared Hughes, LHP Kris Johnson, RHP Vin Mazzaro.

Game time: 1:35 p.m.

TV/Radio: None.

Notes: The Sox are 2-0 against the Pirates, outscoring them 21-8. ... Lester has made two starts and been close to perfect: 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K. ... De La Rosa has thrown four scoreless innings, allowing one hit with no walks and two strikeouts. ... The Red Sox have 57 players in camp.

Good morning from the Fort

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 6, 2013 07:42 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Day game after a night game here at JetBlue Park. But fueled by some Clash songs, let's take a quick look at the day.

Jon Lester, who faces the Pirates today, has been excellent so far in spring training. His stats have been good, but those are generally meaningless. He has been keeping the ball consistently down in the strike zone in bullpen sessions and in games and throwing his secondary pitches for strikes.

Lester had a rocky final month of the 2011 season and was erratic last season. But he is 29 and very much in his prime. With Josh Beckett gone, Lester seems to have taken the idea of leadership and run with it. In his case, leadership can best be demonstrated by pitching well.

Outside of some of the prospects (Jackie! Bradley! Jr.!), the two players who have impressed me most this spring are Lester and Stephen Drew. Bounce-back seasons from those guys will go far in making the Sox an interesting team.

One other thing worth mentioning. If you follow the team closely, have you noticed how matter-of-fact and candid John Farrell has been with his comments to the media? Farrell doesn't parse his words or leave you guessing what he means. There is praise for players when merited and well-reasoned analysis of failures.

Farrell has the backs of his players but also holds them accountable. That can be a fine line to walk because it happens behind closed doors sometimes and in front of microphones at others.

If these first few weeks are any indication, hiring a manager with experience within the organization (and the media market) made a lot of sense. Makes you wonder how somebody like DeMarlo Hale would have done last year.

Anyway, off to the clubhouse. Check back later for more.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 6, 2013 07:20 AM

Andrew Miller looks like a wild man, but he got his career under control last season as an effective reliever for the Red Sox.

The notebook has Mike Aviles catching up with the Red Sox.

Chris Gasper gets to know Red Sox prospect Jackie Bradley Jr. and likes what he sees. Everybody in Red Sox camp does. (Subscription only).

Lackey impressive against Puerto Rico

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 5, 2013 09:59 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Tuesday night's game against Puerto Rico didn't count in the Grapefruit League standings for the Red Sox. But it was sure a good test for John Lackey.

Puerto Rico's lineup included Angel Pagan, Alex Rios, Carlos Beltran, Yadier Molina and Mike Aviles. That's a lot more talent than the Sox usually face in a given day during spring training, at least until the final 10 days or so.

"Tt was definitely an upgrade in competition from my last one, a lot of big leaguers, a lot of guys that’ll be starting in the league," Lackey said. "So, yeah, it was fun."

Lackey threw three shutout innings. Equally impressive was that he threw 31 of his 45 pitches for strikes, threw all four of his pitches and had his fastball in the 90s. That's solid for a pitcher making his third start after Tommy John surgery.

"He was very good," John Farrell said. "He used all his pitches, all four of his pitches here tonight, strikes with each one of them. With each additional outing he's gone though there's increased arm strength. Thought he was real crisp tonight ... [As] he was warming up for the first inning, the ball was getting out of his hand good, very good."

Said Lackey: "I really feel like my command got better tonight. I was done in the zone for the most part. Tried to elevate my fastball a couple times. I was able to do that and just overall it was a good step in the process."

Lackey is lined up as the No. 5 starter. That number really doesn't matter much once you get through the first week of the season. But it is a sign that the Red Sox should have a stronger back end of their rotation than last season.

Lackey will have down periods as he returns from surgery and may even need to miss a start or two over the course of the year. But he looks to be a far better alternative than the likes of Aaron Cook and Daisuke Matsuzaka.

If Lackey gives the Red Sox 28-30 starts and 175 innings or so, it will certainly give the rotation some stability, especially given the shaky spring training for Felix Doubront thus far.

Also:

• Jacoby Ellsbury missed the game. He has a virus and the Red Sox sent him home. "We'll check him tomorrow. If he's ready to go he'll be back in the lineup," Farrell said.

• Ryan Lavarnway was 3 for 3 with two doubles and threw out two runners stealing. He got Mike Aviles at third base and Will Middlebrooks looked to be talking some trash after he slapped the tag down.

• Jackie Bradley is 9 for 18 with two doubles this spring.

• Farrell put Daniel Nava in right field to see how he could handle the position. Four innings, nothing his way. Of course.

• Clayton Mortensen had a rocky fourth inning then was solid in the fifth and sixth. Farrell attributed it to Mortensen not pitching in a game since Feb. 26. That was just how the schedule worked out.

• Mike Napoli hit a moonshot home run. But more significant may have been the diving stop he made at first base in the fourth inning to rob Molina of a hit.

"He's doing an excellent job there," Farrell said.

That's it for tonight. Catch you tomorrow.

Final: Red Sox 4, Puerto Rico 3

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 5, 2013 06:52 PM

Game over: Red Sox 4, Puerto Rico 3: In an exhibition game against Puerto Rico’s team for the World Baseball Classic, John Lackey looked strong with three shutout innings. He allowed three hits without a walk and struck out two. Lackey threw 31 of 45 pitches for strikes against a lineup that included Angel Pagan, Alex Rios, Carlos Beltran, Yadier Molina and Mike Aviles.

“I felt really good tonight. It was a really good day in the process. I feel like my arm strength is getting better,” Lackey said.

Will Middlebrooks and Mike Napoli had long home runs to left field. It was the second of the spring for Napoli. Ryan Lavarnway was 3 for 3 with two doubles. Mitch Maier and Stephen Drew also drove in runs.

The game drew 7,901, which wasn’t a sellout. But it was a lively crowd as the Puerto Rico fans sang, pounded drums and blew horns throughout.

Middle of the 8th: Red Sox 4, Puerto Rico 3: Another strong inning for Andrew Miller, who has looked good this spring.

Middle of the 6th: Red Sox 4, PR 3: Doubles by Ryan Lavarnway and Mitch Maier scored a run. Stephen Drew added an RBI single.

Middle of the 5th: PR 3, Red Sox 2: Napoli hit a high, high home run to left, the ball landing on the roof deck they have above the wall here. There does seem to be something to the idea that he will flourish at Fenway.

Middle of the 4th: PR 3, Red Sox 1: Lackey went three shutout innings and threw 31 of his 45 pitches for strikes. Solid outing against a good lineup. But Clayton Mortensen allowed three runs on four hits in the fourth inning. It might have been worse but Aviles was thrown out at the plate trying to score from first on a double.

Top of the 3rd: Red Sox 1, PR 0: Middlebrooks went high over the wall in left center off Figueroa. Lackey allowed a single in the top half of the inning but that was it.

Top of 2nd: PR 0, Red Sox 0: Lackey allowed a one-out single by Falu then got two groundballs back to the mound. The first, off the bat of Rios, should have been a double play but Lackey threw wild and Drew made a nice play to get one out at second. Then Beltran tapped back to the mound.

Drew walked with two outs in the bottom of the inning. Napoli then hammered a ball to the left side but Gonzalez made a diving stop at third base.

Pre-game: There's a small crowd at JetBlue Park for this game, which doesn't count in the Grapefruit League standings. The fans are missing out as Puerto Rico is fielding a strong lineup that includes several All-Stars. John Lackey will be tested.

Stick around for updates.

David Ortiz making progress toward a game

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 5, 2013 04:56 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — David Ortiz is making progress toward getting into a game.

A day after Big Papi ran the bases, he was back on the field today. The session was less intense and shorter than Monday's but was nonetheless a good sign, according to John Farrell.

“The soreness following those intense base-running sessions is less today than it was three days ago," said the Red Sox manager. "So he’s making steady progress."

Farrell said he is hopeful that Ortiz will get in a game by the end of the week.

“We’ll determine what the next steps are," said Farrell. "We’re only in Tuesday of this week. We’re going to work off David’s response to the work sessions. The fact that he’s able to get back on the base paths today and feel pretty good about himself before going into it is a pretty good sign.”

Also:

• Jon Lester is a decent fielder but has had trouble throwing to bases for several years. He spent extra time on the field today working on his throwing with minor league pitching coaches Rich Sauveur and Bob Kipper.

• LHP Franklin Morales (lower back) is not close to pitching but did some exercising today. "We don’t have a date marked on the calendar of when he’s going to get back on the mound, even for a bullpen session, let alone a game," Farrell said.

• LHP Craig Breslow is still playing long toss. Farrell said it's the "early stages" of his program. It's fair to wonder whether Morales or Breslow will be ready for Opening Day.

• Daniel Bard is slated to pitch Thursday. He has not been in a game since Feb. 25.

• If you are rooting for Jackie Bradley Jr. to make the team, you should readjust those goals. “Likely,” Farrell said when asked if it were likely that Bradley would start the season in the minors. “But you never want to put a limit on anyone, either. He’s making the best of the opportunity and he’s making a very strong impression.”

• Daniel Nava was in right field for the first time this spring. "I know he played there a couple of times last year but he’s improved tremendously in left field," Farrell said. "Given the potential makeup of our bench and our extra outfield situation, the ability to go to right field would be key in his situation. Not to say his roster status hinges on that. But we want to take a look at it.

• Farrell said he called Mike Aviles last fall when they were traded for each other.

• Farrell on Drake Britton's arrest: "We take every situation like that seriously. In this case with Drake, it’s still being addressed, We’re still gathering information and the facts of what transpired. Fortunately in this case there was no one injured. But bottom line it’s a very serious issue with us."

Exhibition: Puerto Rico vs. Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 5, 2013 01:35 PM

Here are the lineups:

RED SOX
Daniel Nava RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Stephen Drew SS
Mike Napoli 1B
Mike Carp LF
Will Middlebrooks 3B
Ryan Sweeney DH
Ryan Lavarnway C
Mitch Maier CF
Pitching: RHP John Lackey followed by RHP Clayton Mortensen, RHP Alex Wilson, RHP Andrew Bailey, LHP Andrew Miller.

PUERTO RICO
Angel Pagan CF
Irving Falu 2B
Alex Rios LF
Carlos Beltran RF
Yadier Molina C
Mike Aviles SS
Carlos Rivera 1B
Andy Gonzalez 3B
Eddie Rosario DH
Pitching: RHP Nelson Figueroa followed by RHP Orlando Roman, RHP Andres Santiago, LHP Xavier Cedeno, RHP Jose De La Torre, RHP Saul Rivera.

Game time: 7:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: None.

Notes: The Puerto Rican team has been training at City of Palms Park in Fort Myers in preparation for the World Baseball Classic. They play the Twins on Wednesday then start tournament play on Friday against Spain at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan. ... Edwin Rodriguez manages Puerto Rico and his roster has 11 major league players, including former Red Sox shortstop Mike Aviles and Cardinals star Yadier Molina. ... Righthander Jose De La Torre, who is with the Red Sox on a minor league contract, is one of Puerto Rico's players.

Red Sox: Britton's arrest being taken 'seriously'

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 5, 2013 12:22 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Red Sox lefthander Drake Britton was clocked going 111 mph early on Saturday morning, according to police, and was arrested on multiple charges that included suspicion of drunk driving.

The team released a statement saying: “This is a matter that the Red Sox take very seriously, and it is being addressed. The club will not make further comment on this matter."

Britton, 23, was optioned to Double A Portland on Monday. A Fort Myers television station, WFTX, reported his arrest that night. Britton had been scheduled to pitch against the Yankees on Sunday but did not.

Britton was driving a black Silverado pickup truck at more than twice the posted 45 mph speed limit, according to a report by the Lee County Sheriff's Office.

Police said that Britton eluded police in pursuit by swerving between vehicles before leaving the road and driving down an incline and eventually knocking over a barbed-wire fence. Police said Britton then tried to drive through a wooded area.

Britton was charged with DUI, DUI property damage and reckless driving. Police noted that he had slurred speech, bloodshot watery eyes and a strong odor of alcohol at the time he was finally stopped.

This is the second consecutive year a Red Sox pitcher has been arrested for DUI-related charges during spring training. Righthander Bobby Jenks was arrested last March 23 after leaving a Fort Myers strip club.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 5, 2013 12:14 PM

Nick Cafardo writes that Daniel Bard always draws a crowd.

The notebook has David Ortiz making progress.

Chris Gasper writes that Jose Iglesias is the man in the middle.

Spring training report for March 4

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff March 4, 2013 06:09 PM

SCORE: Red Sox 5, Rays 1.

RECORD: 6-5.

BREAKDOWN: The Red Sox took advantage of a big two-run error in the seventh by Tampa Bay catcher Mark Thomas. Five Sox pitchers, including starter Felix Doubront, held the Rays’ predominantly junior varsity lineup to five hits. Former Boston College righty Terry Doyle got the win; he went 2 1/3 innings, allowing one run. Jose Iglesias had two doubles and Lyle Overbay had a triple to lead the Boston offense.

THUMBS UP: Iglesias continued to show a different approach at the plate, pounding his doubles to left field. While Doubront (1 2/3 IP, 1 H, 2 BBs, 2 Ks, 0 R) couldn’t get out of the second inning because he had thrown 43 pitchers in his spring training debut, manager John Farrell thought it was a good first start for Doubront, whose season was delayed because of a sore left shoulder.

THUMBS DOWN: Brock Holt went 0 for 3 as the Sox’ leadoff hitter. He is trying to unseat Pedro Ciriaco as the team’s utility player. Holt is now hitting .278 while Ciriaco, who went 1 for 3 with an RBI and played third base, is at .313. Ryan Sweeney, vying for an extra outfield spot, continued to struggle. He went 0 for 2 and is now down to .211.

MEDICAL REPORT: Encouraging news for David Ortiz, who ran the bases hard after taking a day off because of soreness in his Achilles’. Ortiz believes he can make it on Opening Day if the progress continues. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who has had a sore back, started at catcher and doubled to improve his average to .400.

AROUND THE BASES: The Sox signed 19 players and now have all players on the 40-man roster in the fold . . . Daniel Nava continues to look good taking infield practice at first base and is expected to get into the mix at that position with Overbay and Mike Carp . . . Anthony Carter, a righty reliever, continued to impress with a scoreless inning . . . Daniel Bard threw a simulated game to work out some kinks, and he could be back to game action as early as Thursday . . . JetBlue Park was a sellout (9,604).

NEXT GAME: Tuesday night at 7:05 vs. Puerto Rico at JetBlue Park. John Lackey starts for the Sox. He will be followed by Clayton Mortensen, Alex Wilson, Andrew Bailey, and Andrew Miller.

Ask Nick: How good will Ortiz be in 2013?

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff March 4, 2013 05:40 PM
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Apathetic about the Red Sox? A diehard fan? Taking a wait-and-see approach?

What are you right now?

Have a
question?

100x150asknickmugshot.jpg Submit your question here to be considered for the next edition of Ask Nick.
Being here in Fort Myers, the crowds are still here in full force, though I must admit the fervor and the excitement is definitely down about the team.

We've written about season ticket sales being down, but only by 10 percent. None of the offseason moves were “sexy” and none of them yielded an impact player. There was little buzz about John Farrell being hired as the new manager.

And while Jackie Bradley Jr. has created some excitement and Farrell has said the organization is at least open to keeping him around, we know in the end he’ll be back in the minors.

So tell us how you feel about this team heading into the season.

Are they fifth place? Are they better, but out of the playoffs? Are they a playoff team?

It’s never been so hard to judge a Red Sox team heading into the season. As we wrote a couple of weeks ago, it’s Camp Low Expectations. The Red Sox have not created much preseason anticipation, but they’d love to emerge from that with a good, competitive team that’s in it until the bitter end.

The optimists have said this:

When Mike Napoli fields a routine grounder at first base, I’ve actually heard people say, "Hey, sure, he can play there." When Jonny Gomes catches a routine fly ball in left: "He’s not that bad out there."

And Papi will be OK with his Achilles' and he’ll get plenty of good pitches to hit. And you watch how good Stephen Drew is at shortstop.

And Jacoby Ellsbury will have the type of year he had two years ago because this is his walk year.

And Dustin Pedroia will be healthy all season and emerge as a force in the lineup.

And Shane Victorino will bring great energy and improve the right-field defense.

And Will Middlebrooks will emerge as a superstar, a power hitter, and that balky wrist will be sound the rest of the year.

And Jon Lester is going to win 20.

John Lackey will be a 200-inning bulldog.

Ryan Dempster will be the best pitching acquisition since Frank Viola or Mike Boddicker.

Salty will emerge as a 30-homer catcher.

If all of those things happen, they’ll win the division.

And so we answer your questions in this week’s mailbag:

What is your personal projection for David Ortiz in 2013? In my opinion, he is by far the biggest contributor to the offense. Last year, the Red Sox were a .350 team without him and a .500 team with him.
Ryan, Sharon, Mass.
He’s their slugger, centerpiece, their force, you name it. Lot of weight on his shoulders and he knows it. I think someone has to emerge as protection for him in the lineup, whether that’s Napoli or Middlebrooks or someone. If that occurs he’ll put up his usual numbers, providing he doesn’t have any setbacks with his heel.

The Sox seem to have both quality and depth in their farm system for pitching, OF, C, SS, and 3B. The big hole is a legit power hitter to play 1B. Do you see them making a trade for this missing piece, perhaps with Ellsbury, at the deadline?
Ben, Phoenix, Ariz.

I think they’ll monitor the Napoli situation and see how it works out. If he stays healthy and puts up good numbers, they’ll try to re-sign him a year at a time providing the MRIs on his hips don’t change much. It is a point of concern, but they can always convert people – like Middlebrooks - to first base.

Would the Marlins trade Giancarlo Stanton for the right offer?
Mark, Stratham, NH
I think they will move Stanton, yes. If he keeps griping about being on the team, it might be sooner than later. Their people tell me they won’t do it this season because there’s been so much bad publicity down there. I would take Ellsbury out of the equation. They wouldn’t take on any part of a $9 million salary. Some of the other names like Xander Bogaerts and Allen Webster would be ones that would make them move. You’d probably have to give up Jackie Bradley as well.

Click the Full Entry button for more Q&A

FULL ENTRY

David Ortiz sees Opening Day in the plans

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff March 4, 2013 02:53 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- David Ortiz feels more optimistic that he’ll be in the Opening Day lineup after running the bases Monday and is feeling as if he can manage the soreness he expects to have.

“It feels good,” he said. “When I get going I’m fine. The problem is once I cool off, I start to get sore, but the doctor says it will go away. It’s just part of the treatment, part of [when you] start doing things. The injury, you got to start getting used to. That’s why we practice over and over and over and over. So you can get to that point. ... It’s a good day. I was moving pretty good. I don’t think I can run faster than that. Let’s just see how things go later on tonight.”

Ortiz feels he needs to get between 50-60 at-bats between now and the start of the season and thinks he can do that by a combination of major league and minor league games.

“I want to play way before that. Yeah, that’s why I was doing all this stuff so I’m good to go for Opening Day," he said. "But the main goal right now is make sure I get to play down here. Because if I play down there that means I’m good to go.”

As for the soreness which kept him from running Sunday, “Well it’s pretty much, it’s all around the same area, but different spot, which is good because that tells you that you had before is already recovered. So it’s probably just getting used to it.

"I was running like I wasn’t worried about anything," he continued. "That’s important. I ran today better than what I did the last time I ran. So everybody was pretty happy about it. I’m happy about it, because nothing bothers me when I was running and that’s a plus. That is telling me that I’m going in the right direction."

Ortiz was asked about whether he could run Tuesday and he said, “They don’t want to wear me out either now. Because definitely the more you run the more stress you put on the joints. So that’s why today I ran like 120 yards, tomorrow they might cut me down to 60. It all depends on how I feel. But the following day, it’s my goal for another 160. It all depends. So it’s been a slow process but we’re happy the way things are going. And hopefully continue that. I’m pretty sure they’re going to continue that because I see myself improving every time we do this, more and more. The smart part about it is try not to rush it because game action is different. You might go one direction and have to turn back.”

Structurally, Ortiz said his Achilles is fine. He never suffered the rupture or tear that Ryan Howard did.

“My Achilles is fine. It’s back to normal," he said. "So what I’m dealing right now with is some calcification down there. It seems like it’s going away because otherwise I wouldn’t be able to move like I just did. So that’s good,."

Sox agree to terms with 19 players

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff March 4, 2013 02:52 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Red Sox agreed to terms with 19 players on the major league roster on one-year contracts for the 2013 season.

Agreeing to terms were pitchers Drake Britton, Rubby De La Rosa, Felix Doubront, Clayton Mortensen, Junichi Tazawa, Allen Webster, Alex Wilson and Steven Wright; catchers Daniel Butler, Ryan Lavarnway and Christian Vazquez; infielders Mike Carp, Pedro Ciriaco, Mauro Gomez, Brock Holt and Will Middlebrooks; and outfielders Alex Hassan, Ryan Kalish and Daniel Nava.

With the agreements, all players on the Red Sox major league roster are under contract for the 2013 season.

Final: Red Sox 5, Rays 1

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff March 4, 2013 01:40 PM

The Red Sox defeated the Rays 5-1 to improve their spring training record to 6-5 while the Rays dropped to 7-4. Felix Doubront made his spring training debut and went 1-1/3 innings. Jose Iglesias hit two doubles and Lyle Overbay hit his second triple of the spring to lead the Boston attack.

Bottom 7th: Red Sox 5, Rays 1: The Red Sox rallied for three runs to open this game up once and for all. Overbay tripled to right field and pinch-runner Mark Hamilton scored on JC Linares' sacrifice fly. After Jackie Bradley was hit with a pitch, Jonathan Diaz doubled to the wall. Tampa Bay's catcher threw a ball into the outfield scoring two Sox runs.

Bottom 5th: Red Sox 2, Rays 1: Jose Iglesias stroked his second double of the game but Sox couldn't score.

Bottom 4th: Red Sox 2, Rays 1: Jarrod Saltalamacchia doubled to right, Johnny Gomes singled and the run scored on Lyle Overbay's double-play.

Top 4th: Red Sox 1, Rays 1 Red Sox reliever Terry Doyle (who went 2-1/3 innings) allowed a bloop RBI single to Cole Figueroa after it looked as if he were going to get out of the inning by throwing a 6-4-3 double-play grounder to Will Myers, Tampa Bay's power-hitting phenom.

Bottom of 3rd: Red Sox 1, Rays 0

Felix Doubroint lasted 1-2/3 innings, allowing one hit and two walks with two strikeouts. He threw 43 pitches, 23 for strikes. Looked rusty in his debut, but got his work in. He allowed a double to Jack Cust in the second inning. The Red Sox, meanwhile, have just mustered their first hit off Jeremy Hellickson, a one-out double by Jose Iglesias. He was driven in by a bloop single to left center from Pedro Ciriaco.

Top 1st, Red Sox 0, Rays 0: Felix Doubront, making his spring training debut, walked leadoff hitter Mike Fontenot to start the game. Doubront reported to camp a bit out of shape and needed time to get his arm strength right after experiencing early soreness.Brock Holt made a nice diving catch in foul territory off Ryan Roberts for the first out. Doubront struck out Sean Rodriguez and got Shelly Duncan on a pop up to first base.

Bard feels good about outing

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff March 4, 2013 01:07 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla -- Daniel Bard, who has been working on his mechanics on the side, pitched a successful simulated game where he worked on his control and threw with velocity.

"I felt like I was on top of the ball," Bard said. "My changeup was good. I was focusing more on the fastball."

John Farrell had said that Bard seemed to be over-striding in his delivery. And that's one of the things that improved today.

"It's one of the things I created a bad habit trying to create velocity in all the wrong places. Trying to over-rotate my body. Today it felt like me. Felt like the old me. Power behind the ball. The four-seamer was pretty true with thrown more on a downhill plane," Bard said.

Bard feels the time away from game action, which he says is tentatively scheduled to resume Thursday, has been good for him to step back and work on things in a non-pressure situation. He put in a lot of work early, trying work on some new mechanics.

"When something feels good, you want to keep playing catch because it feels good," he said. "I have a bad habit of doing that and then wearing myself out. I need to use the long spring training to give me a couple of days to rest and then work my way back into game situations."

Asked if he felt pressure to straighten things out immediately so he can make the team, Bard said, "In pitching you've never arrived. Even when you're going well you're working hard to keep that feeling you have. And so this is just another step in that process. I feel really good about how the ball is coming out. We got plenty of time. We have a month before we break. I'm not worried about where I need to be at a certain time. I felt good today and build on it tomorrow and wherever that takes me, it takes me."

Bard admits it's easier to focus on his role now that he knows exactly what it is. Last season, the organization pegged him as a starter.

"I think it easier to focus when you know what the organization wants you to do and its not just a hopeful experiment. I didn't go into it with that mindset but the number of questions I got asked made me think maybe I don't have a starting job. I didn't know what to expect. This year is easier. You're coming in as a reliever. Throw the ball like you're supposed to, things will work out like they should."

He was on his way to becoming a closer. Would he want that again?

"I don't see any reason why that isn't a real possibility if I'm throwing the ball like I'm capable of. A lot of that is opportunity too. I don't think I can throw the ball much better than I did in 2010-2011. but I had an All-Star closer ahead of me and now we have (Joel) Hanrahan and (Andrew) Bailey here and they have that closer experience. It's the least of worries right now. I want to pitch meaningful innings for this team whatever role that may be in. As for a specific role, I'm not too worried about it."

Daniel Bard to throw simulated game

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff March 4, 2013 10:58 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Daniel Bard is about to throw a simulated game to see if some mechanical issues have been straightened out.

This has become an ongoing story. There was hope early in camp that Bard was turning the corner and looking at last season in the rear view mirror. The Sox have kept him out of games recently to work on his delivery.

In other news:

• John Farrell said Jonny Gomes got clearance to play even though he still has three stitches in his left knee.

"From a medical standpoint the laceration has closed enough to get him back in the swing of things. Fortunate it wasn't more serious," Farrell said.

• Farrell said David Ortiz was going through treatment and stretching and then was going to attempt to run the bases. The last time he tried, on Sunday, he felt soreness in the Achilles' heel and the Sox had to back off.

• Shortstop and former top pick Deven Morrero was sent back to the minor league camp.

"He handled himself great," Farrell said. "When he was on the field and handled every chance routinely. The thing that stands out is genuine confidence in not being in awe of this situation."

• Farrell believes the team will come up with a hybrid first base/left field player before camp is over. Daniel Nava, Mike Carp and Lyle Overbay remain the top candidates.

• Players Association executive director Michael Weiner held a 90-minute information session with the players.

Weiner said while the drug issue was discussed it did not take up a majority of the time. Draft pick compensation for free-agents, travel and many other issues were discussed. It was Weiner's 11th stop in spring training. Dustin Pedroia, who was very direct about stricter drug testing the day before, met with Weiner individually.

Grapefruit League Game 11: Rays at Red Sox

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff March 4, 2013 09:30 AM

Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (5-5)
Brock Holt 2B
Pedro Ciriaco 3B
Mike Carp DH
Jarrod Saltalamacchia C
Jonny Gomes LF
Lyle Overbay 1B
Ryan Sweeney RF
Mitch Maier CF
Jose Iglesias SS
Pitching: LHP Felix Doubront, LHP Chris Hernandez, RHP Terry Doyle, RHP Chris Carpenter, RHP Anthony Carter

RAYS (7-3)
Fontenot LF
Roberts 2B
Rodriguez CF
Duncan 1B
Cust DH
Gimenez C
Myers RF
Figueroa 3B
Beckham SS
Pitching: RHP Jeremy Hellickson, RHP Jeff Niemann, LHP Enny Romero, RHP Alex Colome, RHP Dane De La Rosa, RHP Kirby Yates

Game time: 1:35 p.m.

TV/Radio: None.

Notes: This is Doubront's second start of the spring. He was 11-10 with a 4.86 ERA last season. ...Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospects included 5 Red Sox farmhands: SS Xander Bogaerts at 8, OF Jackie Bradley Jr. at 31, RHP Matt Barnes at 40, RHP Allen Webster at 49, and LHP Henry Owens at 91.

Red Sox make cuts

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff March 4, 2013 08:51 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. - The Red Sox today optioned left-handed pitcher Drake Britton to Double-A Portland and assigned infielder/outfielder Justin Henry and shortstop Deven Marrero to the minor league camp.

With today’s moves, the Red Sox now have 57 players in big league camp, including 17 non-roster invitees.

David Ortiz may run today

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff March 4, 2013 08:36 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- David Ortiz said this morning he may try to run today if he gets the OK from the training staff.

Ortiz ran the bases on Saturday but not on Sunday, as was planned. Ortiz has continued to do his fielding drills at first base, but has experienced some soreness in the heel. There may be some question whether he will start the season, but Ortiz seems determined to be ready for Opening Day.

The Red Sox are currently in a meeting with the Players Association to go over numerous things including the more stringent PED testing, blood testing for HGH, which is now year-round, and the improved testing for testosterone, which is designed to not only establish a baseline of testosterone level for each player, but to monitor whether that level rises.

MIchael Weiner, who is suffering from an inoperable brain tumor, has toured 11 spring training camps so far. He is joined today by former Red Sox players Mike Myers and Tony Clark, who work for the MLBPA.

Game report: Yankees 5, Red Sox 2

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 3, 2013 08:08 PM

SCORE: Yankees 5, Red Sox 2

RECORD: 5-5

BREAKDOWN: Facing a team made up of mostly Yankees minor leaguers, the Red Sox took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on Mike Napoli’s long home run to center field. But sloppy defense led to New York scoring three runs in the sixth inning. The Sox were held to four hits, none after the fifth inning.

THUMBS UP: Starter Ryan Dempster dominated for three innings. Koji Uehara and Andrew Miller (three strikeouts) then were perfect for an inning each. Uehara and Miller have combined for six shutout innings this spring, allowing two hits with one walk and seven strikeouts. They could form a potent combination for John Farrell to use in late-inning matchup situations.

THUMBS DOWN: Drew Sutton had two errors in the sixth inning. He let a ground ball go between his legs, missing a chance to start what should have been an inning-ending double play. He later booted another ball that allowed a run to score. Joel Hanrahan was the victim. “I thought he threw the ball very well," Farrell said. "He put the ball on the ground. A couple of plays extended the inning for him.”

MEDICAL REPORT: Jonny Gomes hasn’t played since Wednesday when he gashed his left knee chasing a home run in Sarasota. The cut needed three stitches and is starting to heal. He is likely to play on Tuesday. “I’m going crazy,” he said. “Enough sitting.”

AROUND THE BASES: The Red Sox clubhouse staff honored the players who left for the World Baseball Classic by posting the flags of their respective countries across the front of their lockers. Xander Bogaerts was 0 for 3 with a walk for the Netherlands in an 8-3 loss against Taiwan on Sunday … Jarrod Saltalamacchia was back in the lineup as the DH after missing three days with lower back pain. He was 1 for 2 with a hustle double after the ball hit second base and rolled into left field … The Sox expect to make their first cuts later this week.

NEXT GAME: Monday against Tampa Bay at 1:35 p.m. at JetBlue Park. Felix Doubront starts for the Sox against righthander Jeremy Hellickson.

A red flag for Ortiz?

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 3, 2013 08:02 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Has the time come to worry about whether David Ortiz will be available for Opening Day?

Not yet, manager John Farrell said Sunday. The Red Sox still believe their designated hitter will be ready. But the Sox have played 10 games in spring training and Ortiz has yet to get on the field.

He was scheduled to go through a base-running drill Sunday but did not because of discomfort in his right Achilles' tendon. The tentative plan is try again on Monday.

“They made a decision at the time he was going to run that he felt just a little bit of soreness and they backed off it,” Farrell said.

The Red Sox, Farrell said, ideally would want Ortiz to run the bases two days in a row before he gets into a game.

Ortiz said he felt good running the bases Saturday and felt sore later in the day. The issue, he said, is not his Achilles' but some calcification that has occurred.

“The doctors are being smart about the things that we are doing,” Ortiz said. “I told them that when I get in, I want to be in. I don’t want to go in for a week and come back out and not be playing and this and that. I want to be good to go.”

Ortiz said that doctors have told him to expect soreness as he increases his work on the field. He said that Red Sox staffers, particularly therapist Dan Dyrek, have his confidence.

“We’re doing the right things,” he said. “I’m going to get there.

Starting Monday, the Red Sox have 25 days of games remaining. To be ready for the season, Ortiz likely would need at least 25-35 plate appearances. Given that he would not play every day, Ortiz would need to start playing sometime soon.

Final: Yankees 5, Red Sox 2

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 3, 2013 01:32 PM

Game over: Yankees 5, Red Sox 1: Despite a lineup of minor leaguers, the Yankees travel two hours and beat the Red Sox. Sox got a run in the ninth.

Ryan Dempster was terrific for three innings, as were Koji Uehara and Andrew Miller for an inning each.

Middle of the 9th: Yankees 5, Red Sox 1: Thomas Neal of the Yankees just homered off Pete Ruiz of the Red Sox. Sounds like an Eastern League update.

Top of the 9th: Yankees 4, Red Sox 1: JetBlue Park emptying out. The Red Sox have only four hits.

Middle of the 8th: Yankees 4, Red Sox 1: Andrew Bailey allowed a run in the 8th.

Top of the 7th: Yankees 3, Red Sox 1: Third scoreless inning for 23-year RHP Jose Ramirez. Off to the clubhouse, back later.

Middle of the 6th: Yankees 3, Red Sox 1: Ugly inning there for Joel Hanrahan.

With one out, Joseph reached on a broken-bat single. Wilson then reached on an error, the ball going through Drew Sutton's legs at third. Should have been a double play with the catcher running.

Gardner walked to load the bases. Nunez grounded a single to right to score a run. Nix then reached on a fielder's choice to score another. Another error by Sutton made it 3-1. When Hanrahan walked Johnson, that was it for him.

Tazawa came in and fanned Mesa to finally end the inning.

Top of the 6th: Red Sox 1, Yankees 0: Salty reached on a double, the ball bounding off the second base bag. But that was it. Ross flied to left and Bradley to center before Ellsbury grounded out.

Middle of the 5th: Red Sox 1, Yankees 0: Three strikeouts for Miller. Red Sox pitchers have retired 14 in a row since Gardner's infield single to start the game.

Top of the 5th: Red Sox 1, Yankees 0: Sox wasted an opportunity against Jose Ramirez. Pedroia and Drew singled to start the inning but Napoli fanned, Nava flew to center and Middlebrooks grounded out.

Middle of the 4th: Red Sox 1, Yankees 0: Red Sox went in order in the third. Uehara then dispatched of the Yankees. So pitchers have retired 11 straight Yankees.

Middle of the 3rd: Red Sox 1, Yankees 0: Dempster is probably done for the day after 3 innings and 28 pitches (25 strikes). His line: 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K and six groundball outs. He was in complete control.

Top of the 3rd: Red Sox 1, Yankees 0: Napoli crushed one over the 420-foot sign in center. At real Fenway, it would have been 5-10 rows up in the seats just to the left of the triangle. So yeah, a bomb. Middlebrooks walked with one out before Salty bounced into a 3-6-3 double play.

Middle of the 2nd: Yankees 0, Red Sox 0: Rivera grounded to short, Johnson (a career Red Sox killer) struck out and Mesa grounded to third.

Top of the 2nd: Yankees 0, Red Sox 0: Three batters, three groundouts for Adam Warren.

Middle of the 1st: Yankees 0, Red Sox 0: Gardner reached on a slow grounder to short. Drew tried a do-or-die play on the speedy Yankees center fielder and couldn't pick up the ball. Nunez grounded into a double play then Nix flied to center.

Pre-game: Good afternoon from JetBlue Park where the Red Sox will play assorted Yankees prospects, minor-league contract guys and Brett Gardner.

Ryan Dempster will be on the mound. The game is on NESN and WEEI but we'll have updates here, too.

Farrell expands on Bradley's outfield skills

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 3, 2013 11:29 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The legend of Jackie Bradley continues to grow.

Sox manager John Farrell was talking this morning about a moment in Saturday's game against the Twins when Bradley, who was playing right field, for the first time this spring, shouted over at the other outfielders to shift over.

Bradley has shown an amazing ability to tracks balls in the outfield and that judgment is not all instinctive. It also comes from Bradley going full-speed after balls in practice and studying hitters and situations.

"He's shifting the entire outfield to the opposite direction given the count," Farrell said. "His awareness inside the game and the precision to his routes and the consistency to the at-bats kind of covers it all. He's had a hell of a camp."

Farrell was asked to expand on what Bradley did against the Twins.

"He's playing the wind and he's playing the count and the stuff of the guy on the mound at that time. You've got a power righthander [pitcher] against a righthanded hitter who's down in the count and probably looking to protect, and, in advance, he's whistling and hollering to the center fielder and the left fielder to shift. It was a heady play."

Farrell has talked several times about the routes Bradley takes to fly falls. The best outfielders know the shortest way to a ball in the air. Others, and Jacoby Ellsbury is an example of this, sometimes get poor jumps and use their speed to track down a ball.

But Bradley makes it look easy.

"Their instincts kick in. I can't say he's on the move before the ball gets in the hitting zone, but sometimes it almost looks that way. He's got incredible vision. You're 250 feet from home plate, and yet he's run to the spot," Farrell said. "His instincts and depth perception and routes have been very impressive."

For Ortiz, some important days ahead

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 3, 2013 10:57 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — David Ortiz will run the bases again today as he inches closer to getting into a game. Red Sox manager John Farrell said the next few days will shed some light on how well Ortiz has healed up from the small tear in his right Achilles' tendon.

"These next three days, I think, are going to tell a lot where David’s at in his ability to remain loose inside of a given day," Farrell said. "I think that’s the one question he has yet to answer to himself, is that when he gets hot [and] loosens up, the time between that point in the day and his first at-bat and every at-bat after that.

"That will happen in time. But right now that’s the one thing that can’t be fully answered, just remaining loose without continuing to run or do agility work."

As Ortiz works more on the field in the coming days, the Red Sox want to see how he handles the greater intensity.

"That's where some of that answer will become more clear in his mind," Farrell said.

Once Ortiz starts playing in games, there will be discussion about what he has to do to stay loose between at-bats.

Farrell said he believes Ortiz will be ready for Opening Day. But the slugger has "indirectly" voiced a little concern about that.

Also:

• Jonny Gomes (left knee laceration) is scheduled to play on Tuesday.

• Jarrod Saltalamacchia, out since Wednesday with a sore lower back, is the DH today.

• Farrell said the Sox could make some cuts in the middle of the week.

Tough crowd in the clubhouse

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 3, 2013 09:11 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — There is no sympathy in a baseball clubhouse. None.

You will recall the incident on Wednesday when Will Middlebrooks took an awkward swing against the Orioles, felt a jolt of pain in his right wrist and came out of the game.

One of his teammates called up the moment on video, printed out the image and added in a cartoon bubble of Middlebrooks saying, "Why me?"

Then, of course, the joke was tacked to the clubhouse bulletin board.

An in-depth Globe investigation has not yet identified the culprit. He is believed to play second base, however. More on this as it becomes available.

Middlebrooks, by the way, is just fine and is playing for the second straight day. It's also worth noting that the prank is a sign of how much the veteran players like the third baseman. For a player who at this time last year was headed back to minor league camp, he has fit in really well.

Grapefruit League Game 10: Yankees at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 3, 2013 07:45 AM

Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (5-4)
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Stephen Drew SS
Mike Napoli 1B
Daniel Nava LF
Will Middlebrooks 3B
Jarrod Saltalamacchia DH
David Ross C
Jackie Bradley Jr. RF
Pitching: RHP Ryan Dempster followed by LHP Drake Britton, RHP Junichi Tazawa, RHP Joel Hanrahan, LHP Andrew Miller, RHP Andrew Bailey, RHP Koji Uehara.

YANKEES (2-7)
Brett Gardner LF
Eduardo Nunez SS
Jayson Nix 2B
Juan Rivera DH
Dan Johnson 1B
Melky Mesa CF
Zolio Almonte RF
Corban Joseph 3B
Bobby Wilson C
Pitching: RHP Adam Warren followed by RHP Jose Ramirez, RHP Chase Whitley, RHP Preston Claiborne, LHP Juan Cedeno, LHP Josh Spence, RHP Kelvin Perez.

Game time: 1:35 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN, YES / WEEI-FM, WCBS

Notes: The teams also meet again in Tampa on March 20 then to open the season in the Bronx on April 1. ... The Yankees have a skeleton crew these days. Derek Jeter is still not ready to play. Curtis Granderson is out with a broken arm. A-Rod is out recovering from hip surgery and isn't even in Florida. Robinson Cano and Mark Teixeira are away for the WBC. ... Dempster is making his second start of the spring.

Baseball coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 3, 2013 07:31 AM

For Ryan Dempster, inspired by his daughter fuels a campaign to bring awareness to a mysterious genetic syndrome.

Please pass this story along to any parent you think it could help.

Here's some information on 22.q

The notebook has Clay Buchholz weathering the elements.

The great Bob Ryan has a thoughtful take on WAR. (Subscription only).

In the Sunday Baseball Notes, Nick Cafardo looks at what the Sox could have done over the winter instead of what they did do. (Subscription only).


Game report: Red Sox 2, Twins 1

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 2, 2013 05:43 PM

SCORE: Red Sox 2, Twins 1

RECORD: 5-4

BREAKDOWN: In the first game of the vaunted Mayor’s Cup series, the Red Sox extended their winning streak to three games. They managed only six hits against seven Minnesota pitches but made them count. One was an opposite field home run by Juan Carlos Linares in the second inning. Ryan Sweeney added an RBI single in the fifth.

THUMBS UP: Will Middlebrooks returned to the lineup after missing two games following the pain he felt in his right wrist on Wednesday. He was 0 for 3 but made contact twice and, most importantly, felt fine physically.

THUMBS DOWN: Lyle Overbay was 0 for 3 and is now 1 for 12 with five strikeouts. Mix in the Northeastern game and he is 1 for 14. If Overbay makes the team as a backup first baseman, it would be because of his glove. But he needs to show something with the bat and hasn’t yet.

MEDICAL REPORT: Outfield prospect Alex Hassan got some good news. An MRI on his fractured left foot was positive and he has been cleared to start hitting and running again. He took a few swings off a tee on Friday.

AROUND THE BASES: Shane Victorino is 0 for 11 but did draw a walk that helped lead to the winning run. He asked to play the day game after the night game to get some extra plate appearances. “Trying to get into a rhythm,” he said. “Work in progress.” Victorino, who has left camp for the World Baseball Classic, will wear No. 50 for Team USA to represent his native state of Hawaii. … The Sox and Twins will play seven more times this spring.

NEXT GAME: The Yankees come to JetBlue Park for their annual visit on Sunday at 1:35 p.m. The game will be on NESN and WEEI-FM. Ryan Dempster will oppose Adam Warren. Brett Gardner, Eduardo Nunez, Juan Rivera and Austin Romine are the only notable players on the travel roster for the battered Yankees.

Another impressive day for Webster

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 2, 2013 05:14 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla — Allen Webster, a 23-year-old righthander, continues to create a buzz. Or is that the hum of his 99-mph fastball?

He threw three scoreless innings and needed only 29 pitches to do it in Saturday's 2-1 victory against the Twins.

“With each added inning as he went out there, better rhythm and better feel for his secondary pitches,” John Farrell said. “Once again, high 90s velocity, good location. Three pitches for strikes. A very impressive three innings.

"Velocity is one thing. But still, I just think that the action of his stuff … he just has three very good weapons he can go to."

Webster in two appearances this spring: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K. He has been 95-99 with his four-seam fastball and shown an an excellent changeup along with a two-seam fastball with heavy sink.

Webster started two games for Double A Portland last season after coming over from the Dodgers and allowed eight runs in nine innings. But he managed to leave a good impression.

"The calling card in the two starts he made when he came over after the trade was his willingness to go to a changeup in key spots. He did it again today," Farrell said. "Anytime you can slow a batter down with a good off-speed pitch in addition to the velocity ... "

Farrell didn't finish his sentence. But you get the idea. That kind of talent is special.

The Red Sox would have been wise to ship Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez to the Dodgers just for the financial relief and the opportunity to air out the clubhouse. But to get Webster and Rubby De La Rosa, too? It's the gift that keeps on giving.

"Provided everyone’s healthy, our rotation is spoken for," Farrell said. "But the one thing that we're getting a better read on and feel for are the abilities of these guys in key spots and their ability to make certain pitches in certain tight situations. Albeit spring training still, they're handling those situations well. They come into a new organization, and they're making very good impressions."

Also:

• Clay Buchholz is in line to start the second game of the season for the Red Sox, a night game in New York on April 3. So maybe he benefited from some unusual spring training weather on Saturday.

It was 57 degrees, overcast and windy at first pitch as the Red Sox faced the Minnesota Twins, a scant 15 degrees warmer than what it was in Boston.

“It was a little bit cooler than I thought it was,” Buchholz said after a 2-1 victory. “When that wind started blowing, it felt like it was going through me. You’ve got to get used to it at some point, you might as well make it down here.”

Then Buchholz paused, realizing that New Englanders with snow piles in their yards might take his words the wrong way.

“Nobody take it as a complaint,” he said. “I’m not complaining about the weather here. It’s been really good for the most part. But woke up this morning and it was a little different.”

Buchholz didn’t allow a run over his 1 1/3 innings but threw 40 pitches, 22 of them strikes. He allowed one hit, walked two and struck out two.

The most important aspect of his outing was that he felt fine after missing a start while recovering from a strained right hamstring. Buchholz used all of his pitches and said he felt stronger in the second inning.

Final: Red Sox 2, Twins 1

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 2, 2013 01:20 PM

Game over: Red Sox 2, Twins 1: That's three straight for the Sox. They had only six hits but that was enough on a cold and windy day in Florida. Back with some more later on.

Middle of the 9th: Red Sox 2, Twins 1: Sox need three outs to finish this off. Have to head to the clubhouse. Back later with more.

Top of the 8th: Red Sox 2, Twins1: Morneau hit a long home run off Aceves in the fourth inning. The Sox scored a run in the fifth on Sweeney's RBI single after Diaz and Victorino walked.

Top of the 4th: Red Sox 1, Twins 0: It's 1-0 and the first three innings took nearly 90 minutes. Come on now. Anyway, Aceves handled the Twins in the third inning. Each team has three hits.

Top of the 3rd: Red Sox 1, Twins 0: Buchholz was done after 1.1 innings and 40 pitches (22 strikes). His line: 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K. He left with a runner on first.

Alfredo Aceves came in and allowed a single to right, driving the runner to third. But he got Florimon to ground into a 3-6-1 double play. Overbay was in position for the the throw but Aceves was there and he grabbed it.

Middle of 2nd: Red Sox 1, Twins 0: Juan Carlos Linares went opposite field on Gibson, driving a line drive over the fence in right. Linares is 28 and built like a fireplug. But he can hit.

Top of the 2nd: Red Sox 0, Twins 0: Sweeney singled for the Sox in the first but that was it. Middlebrooks tapped to first with an excuse-me check swing. Buchholz had a 25-pitch inning. He fanned Benson on five pitches then walked Carroll before Mauer singled. He got Willingham and Morneau on balls to center.

Pre-game: Welcome to Hammond Stadium, about five miles from Jet Blue Park. It's the inaugural game of the vaunted Mayor's Cup series in the Fort. It's 57 degrees and cloudy here as Clay Buchholz prepares for his first start of the spring.

We'll have occasional updates on the game. You also can listen on WEEI.

Salty (lower back) gets another day off

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 2, 2013 09:07 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — A couple of quick notes for you:

• Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who hasn't played since Wednesday, isn't in the lineup again today. He said he has a stiff lower back. "I want to play. I think they're just being careful," he said. "I went through way worse last year."

• Outfield prospect Alex Hassan got some good news. An MRI on his fractured left foot was positive and he has been cleared to start hitting and running again. He took a few swings off a tee on Friday.

• Xander Bogaerts is playing for Netherlands in the WBC this morning, batting sixth and playing third base. He made a nice play on a line drive and helped the Dutch score a run with a sacrifice bunt. At the moment, the Netherlands is up, 4-0, in the seventh inning.

• Dustin Pedroia was pretty excited this morning. His wife and two sons are flying in from Arizona. "Best day ever my hot wife and awesome boys get here!!!!! Life is good," he tweeted at 6:47 a.m.

UPDATE, 9:57 a.m.: A few more updates via John Farrell:

• David Ortiz will run the bases today, something he apparently did earlier in the week, too. The plan is for him to get into a game late next week.

• Johnny Gomes (laceration on his left knee) remains day-to-day. Farrell said that he is complaining about not playing.

• LHP Franklin Morales has a stiff back and will be skipped on Monday, which was his next turn.

• Daniel Bard is throwing a side today and will get in Monday's game, too. He has been working on some mechanical issues for a few days.

• RHP Pedro Beato is dealing with some shoulder soreness.

• Something to file away: Farrell says he likes safety squeezes in 1st and 3rd situations if the pitcher has good numbers against the batter.

• Shane Victorino (0 for 9) asked to play today and get a few at-bats. He is the only player in the lineup who played last night.

Grapefruit League Game 9: Red Sox at Twins

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 2, 2013 08:00 AM

Good morning. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (4-4)
Victorino RF
Sweeney LF
Middlebrooks 3B
Overbay 1B
Linares DH
Maier CF
Butler C
Iglesias SS
Diaz 2B
Pitching: RHP Clay Buchholz, RHP Alfredo Aceves, RHP Clayton Mortensen, RHP Allen Webster, RHP Jose De La Torre, RHP Anthony Carter.

TWINS (5-2)
Benson CF
Carroll 2B
Mauer C
Willingham LF
Morneau 1B
Doumit DH
Parmelee RF
Escobar 3B
Florimon SS
Pitching: RHP Kyle Gibson, LHP Glen Perkins. RHP Jared Burton, LHP Brian Duensing, RHP P.J. Waters, RHP Deolis Guerra.

Game time: 1:05 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers

TV/Radio: WEEI-FM.

Notes: It's the first game of the vaunted Mayor's Cup. The Sox and Twins will play eight times this spring. ... It's the first start of the spring for Clay Buchholz, who missed a start because of a strained right hamstring. ... Aceves (Mexico) and De La Torre (Puerto Rico) are leaving for the WBC after the game as is Shane Victorino (USA).

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 2, 2013 07:27 AM

Shane Victorino is excited for a chance to represent the United States in the WBC. Manager Joe Torre likes his versatility.

The notebook has Mike Napoli with a busy first game.

De La Rosa dominant, but he's not ready yet

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 1, 2013 10:32 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Rubby De La Rosa, who turns 24 on Monday, has been one of the more impressive pitchers in Red Sox camp. In four scoreless innings, he has allowed one hit without a walk.

The righthander retired six of the seven batters he faced tonight. De La Rosa showed a fastball in the mid 90s with a changeup and a curveball that were too much for the Pittsburgh hitters.

"Three quality pitches for strikes. He just looks very much at home on the mound," John Farrell said. "Confident. Mound presence is excellent."

De La Rosa retired Garrett Jones, Pedro Alvarez and Neil Walker on groundballs in the fourth inning. He struck out Brandon Inge looking in the fifth inning before Felix Pie doubled to left. De La Rosa then got Clint Barmes on a foul pop and struck out Lucas May.

"Most impressive thing is the feel for his secondary pitches, particularly his changeup," Farrell said. "Couple of 3-and-2 counts, righthanded, lefthanded. He's not only willing but goes to that pitch with confidence. When you combine that with the power, it's really a rare combination. ... He's not afraid to go to any pitch in any count. It's very encouraging the way he's thrown the baseball."

But don't get any ideas about De La Rosa being at Yankee Stadium on April 1. Farrell said that De La Rosa "would be in the minor leagues someplace" to start the season and mentioned that could well be Double A Portland.

"The important thing is that he feels great physically," Farrell said.

De La Rosa threw only 13.2 innings last season after returning from Tommy John surgery. The Sox know how good he is and will protect him this season. De La Rosa will work as a starter and have his innings controlled.

In time De La Rosa could best help the Sox as a late-inning power reliever. But the organization has to give a talented young pitcher like that every chance to succeed as a starter.

Using him in the major league bullpen, while an interesting idea, is not conducive to his development. Beyond that, it's not like the Red Sox lack for relievers. Could be start in the majors? De La Rosa has the talent, certainly. But the Sox would surely prefer to see that in the summer when the opportunity arises, not in April.

The Sox also want De Le Rosa to work on his conditioning, an important factor for a starter.

"At this point, probably not," Farrell said when asked whether De La Rosa would make the team.

Also:

• Steven Wright looked good for two innings then lost the release point on his knuckleball in the eighth inning when he allowed two runs. He is a work in progress but shows potential.

• Daniel Bard was temporarily bumped out of games to do some work on the side with pitching coach Juan Nieves. He last pitched on Monday.

"We're just trying to work out his lower half, more stride direction. He had a workday just throwing on a line where there's some lateral-type drills where were trying to get that stride direction a little more consistent," Farrell said.

Bard will throw in the bullpen on Saturday and could slot into a game early next week, perhaps on Monday.

• Jon Lester has looked like 2011 Jon Lester this spring. "With each time Jon gets on the mound, whether it’s in side work or in game action, he’s been down in the zone consistently. That was the case again tonight," Farrell said.

Farrell said that Lester has made a mechanical adjustment that has allowed him to work downhill. The adjustment comes in how he leads with his right leg.

"That's been able to allow him to work from a high-to-low type of trajectory through the strike zone rather than collapsing on the back side and pushing the ball through the zone," Farrell said. "That is what has allowed him to throw the ball to the bottom of the zone."

A busy first night for Mike Napoli

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 1, 2013 09:57 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Mike Napoli played his first spring training game for the Red Sox on Friday night and didn’t get much time to catch his breath.

The new first baseman played four innings and was involved in eight plays. He also was 1 for 2 with an RBI single and scored a run against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Sox won, 5-2.

“I felt good. I felt comfortable over there,” Napoli said. “I should after all the work we put in on the back fields. Everything felt good; my legs felt good. I was happy to be in there.”

Napoli was diagnosed in December with a condition that restricts the flow of blood to his hip bones and the Sox have been cautious with him since. He was restricted to batting practice and fielding drills for the first two weeks of spring training and only recently started running the bases.

Napoli was tested in the field right away Friday when Darren Ford pushed a bunt to the right side. Napoli grabbed the ball and beat the speedy Ford to the bag by a step.

“I got it out of the way quick,” Napoli said. “I guess the ball finds you. … [Dustin Pedroia] was looking at me and I was like, ‘Right out of the chute.’ It was funny but I’m glad I was able to make the play.”

Said manager John Farrell: "We couldn't draw it up any better in the four innings of work that he had there. A number of 3-to-1 feeds to the pitcher, a number of picks in the dirt. He did a very good job."

Napoli came to the plate in the bottom of the first with runners on first and second. He lined a ball off the foot of pitcher Jeff Locke. The ball rolled into left field and Napoli had his first RBI of the spring.

Napoli went first to third on a double by Stephen Drew then scored on a wild pitch.

"I felt I got everything out of the way in those first two innings,” he said. “It was fun. I had a good time out there."

Game report: Red Sox 5, Pirates 2

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 1, 2013 09:54 PM

SCORE: Red Sox 5, Pirates 2

RECORD: 4-4

BREAKDOWN: The Sox beat the Pirates for the second straight day. They scored three runs in the first inning off Jeff Locke. Mike Napoli has an RBI single in his first game of the spring. Stephen Drew added an RBI double.

THUMBS UP: Jon Lester threw three shutout innings, allowing one hit and striking out two with a walk. He incorporated his change-up, curveball and cutter. “It was nice to break them all out and get good results,” he said. “It’s always nice when you’re working on things to get good results and you can build on that.”

THUMBS DOWN: Steven Wright allowed two runs on three hits and three walks in 2 1/3 innings. Both runs came in the eighth inning. Wright left with the bases loaded. Alex Wilson came in and got Oscar Tejeda (a former Red Sox prospect) to line back to the mound. Wright flipped to first to end the inning.

MEDICAL REPORT: Lefthanded reliever Craig Breslow, idled by shoulder soreness, will start a throwing program on Saturday. It will likely take 10 days before he can throw off a mound. Breslow still has time to be ready in time for Opening Day.

AROUND THE BASES: Rubby De La Rosa struck out two in two scoreless inning. He has thrown four scoreless innings this spring. … Dustin Pedroia was 2 for 2 with a walk and two RBIs. … Shane Victorino was 0 for 2, grounding into two double plays. He is 0 for 9 this spring and went to the batting cage after he came out of the game. … Pedro Ciriaco is 4 of 12 this spring, picking up where he left off last season. … Jeremy Farrell, son of the Red Sox manager, drew a walk in the eighth inning. The 26-year-old infield prospect was added to the roster for the game.

NEXT GAME: Saturday vs. Minnesota at Hammond Stadium in Fort Meyers at 1:05 p.m. Clay Buchholz, in his first start this spring, will face Kyle Gibson. The game will be on WEEI.

Final: Red Sox 5, Pirates 2

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 1, 2013 07:02 PM

Game over: Red Sox 5, Pirates 2: The Sox beat the Pirates for the second straight day to improve to 4-4.

Middle of the 9th: Red Sox 5, Pirates 2: Steven Wright allowed two runs. When he walked Jeremy Farrell (son of the Red Sox manager) to load the bases, Alex Wilson came in. Wilson got a line drive back to the mound off the bat of Oscar Tejeda (a former Red Sox prospect) and doubled off Farrell to end the inning.

Top of the 8th: Red Sox 5, Pirates 0: Jon Lester just told reporters that he mixed in a few secondary pitches in his outing and felt good about his command of them. It has been a very efficient spring training for the big lefty so far.

Napoli felt fine too and said he liked all the work he got at first base.

Top of the 6th: Red Sox 5, Pirates 0: Dustin Pedroia (2 for 2 with a walk) had a two-run RBI single in the fifth inning.

De La Rosa went two innings and struck out two. He has looked good in camp.

Top of the 5th: Red Sox 3, Pirates 0: Lester allowed one hit in three scoreless innings and struck out two with one walk. De La Rosa replaced him. Napoli played four innings at first and looked fine.

Top of the 3rd: Red Sox 3, Pirates 0: Busy night for Napoli, who has had to make a variety of plays at first including short-hopping a throw from Lester.

Top of the 2nd: Red Sox 3, Pirates 0: Lester retired the side in order, the first out coming when Napoli fielded a push bunt by Ford and beat him to the bag. He was tested right away.

The Sox then beat up on Pirates starter Jeff Locke. Ellsbury singled and was thrown out going to second. Pedroia and Victorino walked. Napoli then lined a ball off Locke's foot that went into left field and a run scored.

Drew doubled in a run. Napoli then scored on a wild pitch.

Pre-game: It's a bit chilly at the park and there are plenty of empty seats for Pirates-Sox. Jon Lester will be on the mound for three innings.

Stick around for occasional updates. The game will be on NESN, too.

A few more Red Sox notes

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 1, 2013 04:28 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla — Will Middlebrooks will go through a regular pre-game routine today but won't play until Saturday, John Farrell said. The team wants to give him one extra day off because of the flash of pain he had in his right wrist on Wednesday.

"I think we’re all best served by just another day of normal pre-game, full-BP and on-field work," Farrell said.

Also:

• Jonny Gomes is day-to-day because of a cut on his left knee that required three stitches. "We want to make sure the laceration starts to close up. He wants to play," Farrell said.

• David Ortiz, who missed two days for personal reasons, is due back today. But he did not make today's practice.

• Farrell said Alfredo Aceves has been a "model citizen" since the live batting practice hubbub.

• Bryce Brentz, the outfield prospect who shot himself in the leg cleaning a handgun, is making progress but not yet doing full baseball activities.

"We fully expect at some point in camp he’d be over in games here. When, we don’t have the exact date but we’re hopeful that he would be back at full baseball activity and get into games on our side,” Farrell said.

• Shane Victorino leaves for the WBC after Saturday's game. In his absence, Jackie Bradley Jr. will see some time in right field. Gomes, too.

• Victorino is playing tonight and could play Saturday, too. The Sox want him to get some innings with Jacoby Ellsbury in the outfield to work on communication.

A few Red Sox notes

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 1, 2013 02:38 PM

legendary.jpg

FORT MYERS, Fla. — A couple of updates for you:

• Will Middlebrooks is not in the lineup tonight but says his right wrist feels fine. We'll be speaking to John Farrel about that in 20 minutes.

• The Red Sox have their rotation set up Here's the pitching schedule for the next few days:

Today: Lester
Saturday: Buchholz
Sunday: Dempster
Monday: Doubront
Tuesday: Lackey
Wednesday: Lester
Thursday: Buchholz

And so on. So if the Red Sox stay in line the month you will see Lester, Buchholz and Dempster against the Yankees in the first series.

• LHP Craig Breslow been cleared to start a throwing program on Saturday.

• Pirates minor leaguer Jeremy Farrell is making the trip to the Fort tonight. He's the son of John Farrell.

• The Red Sox put up a large piece of artwork outside the clubhouse wrapped around the bullpen fence. It says "Legendary" and has photos of 13 players: Johnny Pesky, Jim Rice, Carlton Fisk, Ted Williams, Luis Tiant, Dwight Evans, Jason Varitek, Joe Cronin, Bobby Doerr, Tim Wakefield, Carl Yastrzemski, Pedro Martinez and Tony Conigliaro.

No Wade Boggs or Roger Clemens?

Back with more later on.

Grapefruit League Game 8: Pirates at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 1, 2013 01:25 PM

Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (3-4)
Ellsbury CF
Pedroia 2B
Victorino RF
Napoli 1B
Drew SS
Nava LF
Lavarnway C
Hamilton DH
Ciriaco 3B
Pitching: LHP Jon Lester followed by RHP Rubby De La Rosa, RHP Alex Wilson, RHP Steven Wright, RHP Daniel Bard and RHP Oscar Villareal.

PIRATES (2-3)
Ford CF
Tabata RF
Jones 1B
Alvarez 3B
Walker 2B
Inge DH
Pie LF
Barmes SS
May C
Pitching: LHP Jeff Locke, RHP Phil Irwin and RHP Stolmy Pimentel.

Game time: 7:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN, WEEI-AM.

Notes: The teams met Thursday with the Red Sox winning 16-6. ... Friday was the first of nine consecutive days the Red Sox will be in Fort Myers. The team has seven home games in that stretch and the two road games are 10 minutes away at Hammond Stadium. … This is the second start for Lester. ... Pimentel is a former Red Sox prospect who was traded to the Pirates in December.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff March 1, 2013 09:56 AM

Brock Holt wasn't just a trade throw-in. The Red Sox are grooming him for a spot on their bench.

The notebook has Will Middlebrooks ready to go after an injury scare.

The Sox do not play until 7 p.m tonight against the Pirates. We'll have the lineups and more later on.

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