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John Farrell hits on some hot topics

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  December 9, 2013 05:15 PM

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. At baseball's Winter Meetings Monday, Red Sox manager John Farrell talked about a few of the trending topics involving his team:

On the recent additions: "We addressed areas that not only were current needs. There are still [needs] that remain. I think bringing Mike [Napoli] back certainly keeps a mainstay in the middle of our lineup together. I thought Edward Mujica as an addition into the back of our bullpen is a guy with good experience, good addition, and very good strike thrower.

"With all things considered on the catching side of it, I thought with some young guys coming, some talented young guys, A.J. [Pierzynski]'s selection and him joining us is a really good fit for multiple reasons. More than anything, it's his overall desire to win, which I think will really fit in."

On a leadoff hitter: Probably looking at a couple of guys that quickly come to mind. Obviously, it's Vic [Shane Victorino], and it's Daniel Nava, both guys hit in the leadoff spot sparingly this past year. But I think the most important thing is we're not going to replace some 50-something stolen bases by Jacoby [Ellsbury]. The biggest thing would be who is our best on-base percentage guys to keep them or keep that individual in front of Pedey, and David [Ortiz], and Nap, those are the two guys that quickly come to mind right now."

On Jackie Bradley Jr. playing center field: "Defensively, no question. He showed us that each time he was on the field. And I think through this past year and the transition he went through and the challenges he faced and the way he faced major league pitching, swung the bat, I think, with a little more productivity late in the season in September. And if that's the way we go, you know, we're more than willing to have him in center field. He's a good player."

On having six starters: "Well, we're certainly comfortable going six guys. I know that there are teams and Ben [Cherington] has fielded a number of calls on our starters. And rightfully so. They're talented, they've pitched well, they've long track records. So whether or not we show up in Fort Myers with six or seven capable starters remains to be seen."

On Dustin Pedroia'a health following thumb surgery: "Everything is looking like it [he will be ready for spring training]. I know he was getting his pin out here late this past week. I don't have the exact date. But my recent conversation was that was to be removed, and he feels good We'll see how things advance, but everything points to him being ready not only for spring training, but getting ample at bats."

On whether Will Middlebrooks will play a significant role on the team: "Yes, yes. This is a guy that's still got very good raw talent. He had some challenges this past year, but there is no reason to think that he can't regain some of the form which he came with into the big leagues in 2011. So, yeah, that is a talented guy. Collectively we've got to get back on track and be consistent."

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