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Wrap up: Twins 8, Red Sox 2

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 28, 2014 06:55 PM

SCORE: Twins 8, Red Sox 2.

RECORD: 0-1.

BREAKDOWN: The Sox were held to five hits, one a home run by Bryce Brentz in the sixth inning off Casey Fien. Dalier Hinojosa, a righthander from Cuba, allowed three runs on four hits in the fourth inning. Milford native Chris Colabello had a two-run double in the inning.

THUMBS UP: Mike Napoli was 2 for 2. … Rookie righthander Anthony Ranaudo started and retired all six batters he faced, four by strikeout. … Veteran righthander Francisco Cordero, who sat out last season, allowed two hits but pitched a scoreless sixth inning. ... The Sox lost their first Grapefruit League game last season and overcame it to win the World Series.

THUMBS DOWN: Brentz overran a single in the fourth inning, allowing a run to score. Brock Holt had a throwing error in the eighth inning that also led to a run for the Twins.

MEDICAL REPORT: Daniel Nava (neck) took batting practice again and is scheduled to be in the lineup as the left fielder on Saturday. … Non-roster outfielder Corey Brown has some swelling after fouling a ball off his left hand on Thursday. He didn’t play in the game and will be evaluated further on Saturday.

AROUND THE BASES: Andrew Miller, pitching for the first time since tearing a ligament in his left foot in July, walked three of the five batters he faced. “It takes him some time to time up that delivery,” manager John Farrell said. “It’s good for us to see him on the mound. Spring training is here to get him on line.” … Sam and Seth Levinson, the agents who represent Jon Lester, are in Fort Myers. Lester will be a free agent after the season and has said he wants to stay with the Red Sox. … Sen. George Mitchell, a senior advisor to the Red Sox ownership group, attended the game. … The game drew a sellout crowd of 9,538. … The Twins and Red Sox used to play for the vaunted Mayor’s Cup. Now, with the Red Sox playing in an unincorporated section of Lee County, the trophy was renamed The Chairman’s Cup for county chairman Larry Kiker.

NEXT GAME: The Sox will travel down Daniels Parkway to play the Twins at 1:05 p.m. on Saturday. The game will be on WEEI.

Live updates: Red Sox vs. Twins

Posted by Matt Pepin, BostonGlobe.com Staff February 28, 2014 12:35 PM

The Red Sox play their first major league opponent of the spring when they face the Twins today at 1:05 p.m. at Jet Blue Park. We'll have updates in the window below.

Leading man? Gomes gets a look

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 28, 2014 11:12 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Jonny Gomes has hit leadoff twice in his career, both times during the 2007 season when he was with Tampa Bay and played for the ever-creative Joe Maddon.

Gomes is batting leadoff this afternoon and it's an experiment for Sox manager John Farrell.

"He puts up a quality at-bat regardless of a lefty or righty. We saw that repeatedly last year," Farrell said. "This is a look at maybe an alignment that we see during the year, too."

With Jacoby Ellsbury off to the Yankees, the Red Sox are being open-minded about who bats first. Shane Victorino appears to be the top choice but Farrell likes high-OBP players like Daniel Nava and Gomes.

Also:

• Farrell said Ellsbury called him after he signed with the Yankees to express his appreciation.

"To his credit he called to say thanks," Farrell said. "I got the sense he was a little surprised it happened so fast, the magnitude that it happened. [I] wished him well. We're certainly going to miss him but now he's on the other side. But he handled it with a lot of class. He was very grateful for his time here and gave thanks to the way things unfolded last year."

• Daniel Nava (neck) took batting practice again and is scheduled to be in the lineup as the left fielder on Saturday.

• Non-roster outfielder Corey Brown has some swelling after fouling a ball off his left hand on Thursday. He will be evaluated further on Saturday.

• Grady Sizemore came away feeling good after playing three innings on Thursday and will start in center field on Saturday against the Twins. “He’s responded well,” Farrell said. Eventually the Sox will want to see how he does stealing bases.

"In time," Farrell said. "We would probably be a little hesitant early in camp to turn that loose completely."

• Sign in Mike Napoli's locker: "Men Don't Grow Beard, Beard Grow Men."

Spring Training Game 1: Twins at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 28, 2014 09:07 AM

Good morning Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (0-0)
Gomes LF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Napoli 1B
Bogaerts SS
Middlebrooks 3B
Ross C
Bradley Jr CF
Brentz RF
Pitching: RHP Anthony Ranaudo followed by RHP Dalier Hinojosa, RHP Francisco Cordero, LHP Andrew Miller.

TWINS (0-0)
Presley CF
Dozier 2B
Plouffe 3B
Arcia RF
Colabello 1B
Kubel DH
Ramirez LF
Bartlett SS
Herrmann C
Pitching: RHP Mike Pelfrey, RHP Sam Deduno, RHP Casey Fien, LHP Brian Duensing, LHP Caleb Thielbar, LHP Aaron Thompon, LHP Sean Gilmartin.

Game time: 1:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: None.

Notes: The Sox and Twins will play six times this season. The teams are six miles apart in Fort Myers. ... Ranaudo, 24, was a supplemental first round draft pick in 2010 out of LSU He was 11-5, 2.96 with Portland and Pawtucket last season.

Good morning from Fort Myers

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 28, 2014 08:07 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox open the Grapefruit League schedule this afternoon with a 1:05 p.m. game against the Twins.

Anthony Ranaudo is the starter. Check back later for the lineups and more.

Links to our Globe coverage today:

For David Ortiz, not even striking out against a college sophomore could ruin his good mood in spring training. Big Papi is having a lot more fun than he did last season.

Dan Shaughnessy writes that Thursday was a big step for Grady Sizemore.

The notebook has Henry Owens making his spring training debut.

Plan in place for Uehara and Tazawa

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 27, 2014 07:29 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Koji Uehara and Junichi Tazawa are scheduled to pitch on Monday against the Pirates at Bradenton. Their second appearance won’t come until much later in the week.

The Sox will be judicious in how they use Uehara and Tazawa after how heavily they were leaned on last season. The plan is to have four or five day breaks between outings and to use them against mostly National League teams.

Uehara appeared in 73 games in the regular season then pitched in 13 of the 16 postseason games. Tazawa was in 71 games and also pitched 13 times in the postseason.

The Red Sox are being even more cautious with lefthander Craig Breslow, who hasn’t started throwing batting practice yet.

Also:

• Grady Sizemore, who is making a comeback after missing two seasons with injuries, was 0 for 2 and played three innings in Game 1. He hit the ball hard twice and ran well.

Sizemore was one of the stories of the day and David Ortiz was asked what he thinks when he sees the outfielder.

“He looks all sexy and good looking. What do you want me to tell you?” Ortiz said.

Sizemore hadn't played in a game since Sept. 22, 2011. See Dan Shaughnessy's column in the Globe on Friday for more on Sizemore.

• The Red Sox will start their Grapefruit League schedule at home on Friday with a game against the Minnesota Twins. Anthony Ranaudo will start with Dalier Hinojosa, Francisco Cordero and Andrew Miller to follow. The Twins are scheduled to start Mike Pelfrey.

• Red Sox great Dwight Evans, a minor league instructor, arrived at camp.

• There was a moment of silence before the second game for Boston College basketball sports information director Dick Kelley, who passed away of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis on Feb. 13. The first pitch for the game was delivered to the mound by former BC baseball captain Pete Frates, who is battling ALS.

A sophomore strikes out Big Papi

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 27, 2014 07:25 PM

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Northeastern sophomore James Mulry struck out David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia. (Jim Davis / Globe Staff)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — David Ortiz graciously stayed on the field after taking batting practice on Thursday to pose for photos and sign autographs for the players from Northeastern.

One of the Huskies who approached him was lefthander James Mulry, a 20-year-old sophomore from West Roxbury who played at Boston Latin.

They met again in the third inning when Mulry was on the mound and Ortiz came to the plate. Mulry got ahead of the World Series Most Valuable Player and struck him out swinging at a slider off the plate.

Ortiz walked back to the dugout smiling as the crowd of 7,789 at JetBlue Park cheered Mulry’s fortitude.

“I was trying to see if I can get a strike to hit or whatever, but he ended up throwing me a nasty breaking ball, Ortiz said. “He can party tonight.”

Mulry struck out Dustin Pedroia with a fastball before he got Ortiz. He nearly whiffed Mike Napoli looking at a two-strike curveball to end the inning but umpire Steve Ward called the pitch outside.

“That was a lot of fun,” Mulry said. “Usually my curveball is a better pitch, especially with a lefty. But the slider worked. I’ll never forget that inning. ... It’s unreal. I can’t compare anything to facing these guys. This is going to help my confidence a lot. I didn’t get to pitch against the Sox last season but I was excited I would get the chance when they told me a few days ago.”

Said Ortiz: “He can have a drink tonight and say, ‘I struck out Papi.’ ”

See Friday's Globe for more from Ortiz and how this spring training is so much more enjoyable for him than last year.

Red Sox camp report for Feb. 27

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 27, 2014 07:23 PM

SCORES: Red Sox 5, Northeastern 2; Red Sox 5, Boston College 2.

BREAKDOWN: The Sox scored four runs in the sixth inning to win Game 1, coming back from a 2-1 deficit. A two-run error cost the Huskies before Scott Cousins had an RBI triple. The former big leaguer is in minor league camp. James Hand had a two-run double for the Huskies. The Sox got a long solo home run by Christian Vazquez in Game 2 and a three-run double from Travis Shaw.

THUMBS UP: Rubby De La Rosa threw two scoreless innings in Game 2. Matt Barnes, Alex Wilson, Tommy Layne and Miguel Celestino added one scoreless inning each. … Garin Cecchini was 2 for 3 in the second game. … Ryan Lavarnway had two hits in the opener.

THUMBS DOWN: Righthander Noe Ramirez, who ended last season with Double A Portland, allowed two runs on three hits in the sixth inning against Northeastern. … Austin Maddox, a 2012 draft pick, allowed two runs on four hits against BC.

MEDICAL REPORT: Daniel Nava (neck) had a full workout on the field and is expected to play this weekend. … Corey Brown fouled a ball off his left hand in the second game and came out for a pinch hitter. X-rays were negative.

AROUND THE BASES: Shunsuke Watanabe, the 37-year-old sidearmer who is in minor league camp, pitched a scoreless fifth inning in Game 1. … The Sox are 24-0 against BC and 12-0 against Northeastern. … Boston College coach Mike Gambino played two seasons in the minors for the Sox. … Northeastern freshman Dustin Hunt, a St. John’s Prep graduate, started and pitched two scoreless innings, leaving four runners stranded. … The Red Sox had (Ryan) Dent and Mookie (Betts) batting third and fourth at one point in Game 2

NEXT GAME: The Sox open Grapefruit League play on Friday when they host their ubiquitous spring training opponents, the Minnesota Twins, at 1:05 p.m. The game will be on WEEI-FM.

Final: Red Sox 5, Northeastern 2; Red Sox 5, Boston College 2

Posted by Matt Pepin, BostonGlobe.com Staff February 27, 2014 03:40 PM

The Globe's Peter Abraham and Nick Cafardo will have updates and commentary as the Red Sox open their preseason schedule with their annual college doubleheader. We've changed the format this season to an auto-updating blog so you won't have to hit refresh anymore.

DH Game 2: Boston College vs. Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 27, 2014 03:33 PM

Here are the lineups:

RED SOX
Brock Holt SS
Alex Hassan LF
Garin Cecchini 3B
Brandon Snyder DH
Corey Brown CF
Bryce Brentz RF
Travis Shaw 1B
Heiker Meneses 2B
Christian Vazquez C
Pitching: RHP Rubby De La Rosa followed by RHP Matt Barns, RHP Miguel Celestino, LHP Tommy Layne and RHP Alex Wilson.

BOSTON COLLEGE (4-3)
Blake Butera 2B
Joe Cronin SS
Chris Shaw RF
John Hennessy 1B
Tom Bourdon CF
Geoffrey Murphy DH
Travis Ferrick LF
Stephen Sauter C
Gabriel Hernandez 3B
Pitching: RHP Eric Stevens (0-2, 3.72).

Game time: 30 minutes after Game 1.

TV/Radio: WEEI 93.7 FM.

Notes: The Sox are 23-0 against BC, winning 11-1 last season. ... Nine former Eagles have played for the Sox, the last being LHP Brian Looney in 1995. ... Hassan, who went to Duke, played at BC High. ... BC coach Mike Gambino played two seasons in the minors for the Sox. ... Red Sox advance scout Steve Langone is a former BC standout. He won 24 games as a pitcher and hit .356 with 30 home runs in his career.

Jerry Remy returns to Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 27, 2014 10:47 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — A few notes as the Red Sox get ready to play:

• NESN broadcaster Jerry Remy made his first appearance at camp. He has not been with the team since last August when his son was charged with murder. Jared Remy is awaiting trial in his death of his girlfriend, Jennifer Martel.

NESN's first game is Sunday and Remy will be in the booth with Don Orsillo.

• Jon Lester, who beat the St. Louis Cardinals twice in the World Series, will not face them on Wednesday in Jupiter. He will pitch a simulated game in Fort Myers instead.

• Daniel Nava, who has missed batting practice the last few days with a pinched nerve in his neck, will do a full workout today and could be in the lineup this weekend.

• Johnny Pesky would have been 95 today. The long-time Red Sox player, coach and ambassador passed away in 2012. His presence is missed around spring training.

DH Game 1: Northeastern at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 27, 2014 09:05 AM

Here are the lineups:

RED SOX
Grady Sizemore LF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
David Ortiz DH
Mike Napoli 1B
Jonny Gomes RF
Xander Bogaerts SS
Will Middlebrooks 3B
Ryan Lavarnway C
Jackie Bradley CF
Pitching: RHP Brandon Workman (6-3, 4.97 in 2013).

NORTHEASTERN (1-5)
Sean Lyons RF
Connor Lyons CF
Brad Burcroff 1B
Justin Kessler LF
Keith Kelly DH
Mike Foster 2B
Jason Vosler SS
Josh Treff C
Mike Piscopo 3B
Pitching: RHP Dustin Hunt (0-0, 4.32).

Game time: 1:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: WEEI 93.7 FM.

Notes: It'll be a seven-inning game with the Boston College game to follow 30 minutes after. ... The Sox are 10-0 against the Huskies, winning last season's game, 3-0. ... Northeastern last played on Feb. 22, dropping a doubleheader against Houston Baptist. ... Northeastern coach Neil McPhee has 698 victories over 29 seasons at the school. He is retiring after the season and will be replaced by assistant coach Mike Glavine, the brother of Hall of Famer Tom Glavine. ... Hunt is a freshman from Andover who has pitched in relief this season. He has nine strikeouts in 8.1 innings.

Good morning from Fort Myers

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 27, 2014 07:26 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — It rained last night in the Fort but skies are clearing and the tarp is off the field. The Red Sox are hopeful of getting in their doubleheader today.

There will be two seven-inning games starting at 1:05 with a 30-minute break between. Northeastern is the Game 1 opponent and Boston College for Game 2.

The games will be on 850-AM in Boston.

Our Globe coverage today:

Dan Shaughnessy writes that A.J. Pierzynski maybe isn't the most hated man in baseball after all.

Nick Cafardo writes about the revolving door of Red Sox shortstops.

The notebook has Pedro Martinez wanting a larger role with the Red Sox.

Here's the daily report.

Pedro Martinez returns to Red Sox camp

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 26, 2014 02:29 PM

pedro.jpg

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The great Pedro Martinez arrived at Red Sox camp today. He is starting his second season as a special assistant to general manager Ben Cherington.

Martinez was involved mainly in player development last year, working with players in the minors and occasionally spending time with the major league team. He said he hopes to add to that this season while cutting down on the public appearances the team asks him to do.

Like Jason Varitek, Martinez seems genuine in having a role in the organization. He offered these thoughts on other topics:

Being on the 2015 Hall of Fame ballot: "I'm looking forward to that. There’s only so much I can do. As of now, I’m just like you, hoping and waiting. I think I should have a shot but it's not up to me. I can only hope and wait."

(Martinez had a career ERA+ of 154 and an 86.0 WAR. He should get every vote.)

On former teammate Curt Schilling fighting cancer: "I sent a tweet to try to tell him that I'll be praying for him and we're going to keep him in our thoughts and prayers. I don't have his phone number. ... I hope that he competes the same way he did in big games."

On his work for TBS during the postseason: "It's a lot more work than I thought, but it’s really interesting and I had a great time."

Martinez said the current group of Red Sox pitching prospects is the best he has seen. He has particular praise for Drake Britton, Anthony Ranaudo and Henry Owens.

"A natural," he said of Owens.

Regulars in Game 1 on Thursday

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 26, 2014 10:10 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — No lineups are posted in the Red Sox clubhouse for Thursday's doubleheader. But Xander Bogaerts, Jonathan Herrera, Will Middlebrooks, Mike Napoli, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Jonny Gomes, Jackie Bradley Jr., Mike Carp, and Grady Sizemore are listed for Game 1 against Northeastern.

Dan Butler and Ryan Lavarnway will handle the catching.

The Game 2 group against Boston College is all prospects with Blake Swihart and Christian Vazquez catching. David Ross and A.J. Pierzynski are not on either roster.

Here are the pitching plans for upcoming games:

Thursday vs Northeastern: Brandon Workman (2), Henry Owens (2), Noe Ramirez, Burke Badenhop.

Thursday vs. Boston College: Rubby De La Rosa (2), Matt Barnes (2), Miguel Celestino, Tommy Layne, Alex Wilson.

Friday vs. Twins: Anthony Ranaudo (2), Dalier Hinojosa (2), Francisco Cordero, Andrew Miller.

Saturday at Twins: Allen Webster (2), Drake Britton (2), Brayan Villarreal, Jose Mijares.

Sunday vs. Orioles: Felix Doubront (2), Andrew Wilson, Edward Mujica, Tommy Layne, Noe Ramirez, Burke Badenhop.

Monday at Pirates: Jake Peavy (1), Brandon Workman, Henry Owens, Koji Uehara, Junichi Tazawa, Miguel Celestino.

Tuesday vs. Rays: Clay Buchholz (1), Rubby De La Rosa (2), Matt Barnes (2), Andrew Miller, Jose Mujica.

Ask Nick: Let the games begin

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff February 26, 2014 09:47 AM

Have a
question?

100x150asknickmugshot.jpg Submit your question here to be considered for the next edition of Ask Nick.
FORT MYERS, Fla -- The Red Sox are closing in on their first games of the exhibition season Thursday with a BC/NU doubleheader. So things are moving fast.

It's a been a relatively quiet camp so far save the Ryan Dempster announcement, but the Red Sox replaced him quickly with West Springfield native Chris Capuano.

Apropos of nothing:

-- I hate the catcher collision rule. It's one of the most exciting plays in baseball. I can't see how players can change a lifetime of instinctive action on that play in one spring training and adhere to all of the new rules including how a catcher can't block the plate before he has the ball, and the runner can't project his body above the shoulder of the catcher. Let's see how this works. I suspect there'll be some issues.

-- Grady Sizemore looks good in Phase I of spring training. As the games begin soon, we'll see how his knees take the pounding of playing every day. That's the next big test. Must admit, he looks terrific so far.

-- I'm on record as Dustin Pedroia being the best candidate for leadoff, but it seems it'll be more a Shane Victorino/Daniel Nava combo. See my story in today's Globe on the lineup.

-- The Red Sox have a done a great job not only acquiring top young talent, but top young people. You can't get any nicer than Jackie Bradley Jr and Xander Bogaerts.

-- How about Bogaerts winning NESN's Jordan Furniture hockey shootout? The kid is from Aruba and he'd never handled a hockey stick before...

-- I think we're all going to like A.J. Pierzynski's candor....

-- Yes, I'm on a get Wade Boggs' number retired kick. The fact that it isn't makes absolutely no sense.

-- I want to see Tommy Harper working with Bradley Jr. on his basestealing...

-- Refreshing: Koji Uehara acts like he doesn't have a care in the world...

-- Andrew Miller is throwing darts. My goodness, why can't he become a closer?

-- Daniel Nava looks as if he's done a lot of work at first base. Looks much smoother there than last season...

-- You can see why the Red Sox have one-year deals with David Ross and Pierzynski because Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart look so athletic behind the dish...

-- Edward Mujica has absolutely filthy stuff...

Here's the mailbag:

I'm a Brandon Workman fan, and thought he did quite well in the time he was with the big club last season. Except for a couple of outings, including Todd Helton Day (which seemed to be an accommodation of Helton as much as anything), his in-season performance was quite acceptable, and his post-season performance marred only by an errant throw he didn't make in the Middlebrooks interference World Series game, was outstanding, and in my book, the equivalent of Xander Bogaerts. And yet he is barely mentioned, if at all, in most discussions of the Sox up and coming prospects. That seems inappropriate to me....What do you make of it?
David B., Aurora, Ohio

Don't agree with "barely mentioned." He is really front and center actually. He's the pitcher the Red Sox are trying to make room for in the rotation. He'll likely be used either in the bullpen at the start or he'll begin in Pawtucket as a starter. Believe me, he's always on their mind.

The Red Sox seem to have a very large operations staff, which allows them to cover all possible on-field moves; transaction possibilities at all levels; ensuring the same training philosophies at all levels, especially post-season programs; working-out 3 years for roster placement; and, being in all world-wide baseball leagues. am i imagining such? What other teams seem to be in such an envious position?
Charles Davis II, Boston

They definitely are at the cutting edge in terms of quantity of personnel and also quality. They are very diverse in the number of things they look at - from a huge scouting staff to a big staff of number crunchers, and of course, Bill James. So yes, they have a large number of resources available to them. I'd say the Dodgers have the biggest staff of all. The Blue Jays, Yankees, Giants, Phillies, Mets, Braves, Cardinals all have large relatively large staffs.

The Sox picked up Burke Badenhop over the Winter. How do you think he will be utilized in the Sox pen? They have a bunch of other good arms so I'm thinking he may delegated as one of the first guys out of the bullpen.

Also, any chance that he may only be in to face right handed hitters? Over the last two years:

2012: Lefties: .844 OPS; Righties: .610 OPS
2013: Lefties: .918 OPS; Righties: .574 OPS

That is a significant difference
Tony B., Montgomery Village, MD

Well, who knows how he'll be utilized? He could be the pitcher who comes in when the team is behind to hold down the status quo, a job we've seen guys like Matt Albers and Clayton Mortenson have over the last few years. He is a strike-thrower so they would have faith in the fact that he wouldn't walk the ballpark. But with Mujica, Miller, Breslow, Tazawa etc. I'm guessing he'll be in on the nagtive side of the score.

I know you and others have touched on this before: but how sad it is that Johnny Pesky is not here? Not just because he was Mr Red Sox, but because he would have loved this group of guys and they would have loved him. I keep thinking of how he would have looked with a season-long beard! And if his funeral had taken place this year, how many players would have made it to that church. At least we know he's rooting for the Sox from the primo seats.
Jim, Town Falls Church, Va.

Steve Buckley and I were just talking about this over coffee today. Steve mentioned how he's been thinking about Johnny lately. So yes, there's a tremendous void. He was someone who greeted you every morning. He was part of our routine, not only down here in spring training, but during the season as well. John was a fixture, a great Red Sox. There'll never be anyone like him again. So yes, he's not forgotten.

What do you see as the three biggest issues facing the Red Sox?
Mike T., Hendersonville, Tenn.

For one, hunger. Are they hungry enough to put in the time for their preparation as they did a year ago? Secondly, avoiding major injuries. They were fairly healthy last season except for their pitchers. They lost two closers to injury and Clay Buchholz for three month, but their tremendous depth really made a difference. A third is Jacoby Ellsbury. I probably make more of this loss than they do, but I thought he was a game-changer and they don't have that anymore and the Yankees do. Another factor is luck. They had it all in their favor last season. Will that continue? Then there's the competitition. The Yankees, Rays and Orioles look stronger to me.

Nick, Enough. Getting your number retired is an honor, Wade lost his when he tried selling his potential bust at the HOF to the highest bidder. As I remember he wanted one of his former clubs to pay up $1,000,000 for him to wear their cap. Sorry, I agree with the Sox on this on. If they want to honor someone by retiring their number, try Tony C’s #25.
Craig C., Holliston

Well, I am an advocate for both. I was a Tony C. fan as a kid so no argument there. As the for the selling of the bust, Boggs strongly denies that ever happened. It was one of those stories that took on a life of its own. Listen, you can't deny what he did as a player in a Red Sox uniform and today he's in Cooperstown wearing a Red Sox cap. It's very disrespectful to keep handing out his jersey to every utility infielder that comes along. If you can't get your number retired when you're in the Hall of Fame wearing your team's cap, then really, it just becomes a petty kind of a grudge the Red Sox are holding on Boggs. And it's even stranger because this ownership and management wasn't even around when Boggs was accumulating his incredible stats. With the emphasis on on base percentage now, Boggs was off the charts.

Do you still think Stephen Drew will be a Red Sox?
Jim, Boston


Not sure anyone knows. I think the longer it goes the least likely it is. The players love Drew, but they're also excited now about Bogaerts so some would think it unfair to Bogaerts if they bring Drew back. So it's in a tricky place right now. Also tricky is the fact that Bogaerts has Scott Boras as an agent and he's also Drew's agent.

As a lifelong Red Sox fan I'm wondering if I'll ever see a new ballpark in my lifetime. Fenway is wonderful for its history, but so uncomfortable. Any chance of a new facility?
Rick, Orlando, Fla.

During our annual spring training Q and A with John Henry, he indicated said that Fenway still has about a 30-year shelf life and that there would be no ballpark under the current ownership. After he said that I received a lot of e-mails and texts expressing disappointment. I think there's a growing number of Red Sox fans who would love a new ballpark. I don't know what that percentage is, but I sense it's more than ever.

Good morning from Fort Myers

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 26, 2014 07:25 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — There are three games on the Grapefruit League schedule today (you can go to Bradenton if you want to boo Jacoby Ellsbury) but the Red Sox will be engaging in their final full-squad workout.

Here are the links to our Globe stories:

Dan Shaughnessy writes that Jackie Bradley Jr. is out to prove he belongs.

Junichi Tazawa took an unusual path to the Red Sox and it paid off.

The notebook has Shane Victorino making progress.

Here's the daily report from camp.

Red Sox camp report for Feb. 25

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 25, 2014 05:40 PM

TUESDAY’S WEATHER: It was 64 and overcast when the team emerged from the clubhouse but sunny and 75 when they returned two and a half hours later.

MEDICAL REPORT: Shane Victorino (thumb, core) and Daniel Nava (neck) were limited. Nava is scheduled to return to a full workout on Wednesday.

FUNDAMENTALLY SPEAKING: There was a team-wide drill to practice cutoffs and relays to the plate and to third base. A meeting with the catchers preceded the work on the field … The position players took batting practice inside the stadium for the first time.

THUMBS UP: Third baseman Garin Cecchini — it’s pronounced “Chick-Kee-Nee” by the way — has impressed the coaches with his overall play. The 22-year-old, who finished last season with Double A Portland, is better than expected at third base and looks comfortable at the plate.

THUMBS DOWN: The daily schedule read, “All pitchers — base running” at 10:35 a.m. on Field 2. But it proved to be a lecture, not a drill. Coaches Brian Butterfield, Torey Lovullo, and Arnie Beyeler discussed base running strategies with the hurlers. Fans hoping to see the pitchers tour the bases were disappointed.

AROUND THE BASES: The coaches again worked with Jon Lester on fielding his position and making better throws. That has been a semi-regular occurrence in camp and he seems to be getting better … Jonny Gomes handed out T-shirts that said “Turn The Page” on the front. There may have been a bad word included … Rubby De La Rosa is serving as a translator for Dalier Hinojosa, the Cuban righthander experiencing baseball in the United States for the first time.

SCHEDULE: The Sox have one more full-squad workout on Wednesday before the schedule starts on Thursday with a doubleheader against Northeastern and Boston College.

Victorino getting to the core of the issue

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 25, 2014 01:41 PM

Red Sox players running sprints in front of high-speed cameras.

FORT MYERS, Fla. — A few notes from the brief and largely uneventful Red Sox workout today:

• Shane Victorino, still recovering from surgery on his right thumb, has started swinging a bat. But he's not close to be ready for games.

"He went through two really good days of work," manager John Farrell said. "Coming out of swinging the bat off the tee, soft toss and some light BP, we felt there were some other things we needed to address just from core strengthening and he's going through that right now."

Farrell did not have a date for Victorino to get in games, saying the core work has to be taken care of first. Victorino had groin problems (and assorted other injuries) last season and the Red Sox are being cautious with him now.

"This is not related to the hand," Farrell said. "He feels good there. He came out and ran today for about 12 minutes, ran the bases some. He threw. We just feel there's more to his base and foundation that we can build physically before ramping up the work."

Farrell said the issue should not affect Victorino's availability in terms of Opening Day.

• Grady Sizemore is progressing quicker than the Red Sox expected given the two years he missed with various injuries.

"We came into camp knowing we were going to have to work off of his readiness and comfort level," Farrell said. "He's answered everything within the schedule so far. You can see the look on his face and the way he answers questions about fundamentally the timing at the plate or physically how he's responding."

Sizemore is scheduled to play on Thursday in the college doubleheader.

"Thursday is not too soon based on some of the answers he's gotten through the workouts," Farrell said.

Farrell said there is less checking in with Sizemore on a daily basis than was expected.

"The doubt is less," the manager said. "Based on what he has been able to do so far, those pressing questions are a little less than first anticipated."

• On those days when Koji Uehara is resting, Farrell mentioned Edward Mujica and Andrew Miller as the backup closer candidates.

Projecting the Red Sox roster, Version 1.0

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 25, 2014 09:45 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — We'll repeat this exercise again a few times before spring training is over. But as the Sox get ready for Grapefruit League games, here's a shot at projecting the Opening Day roster:

STARTING PITCHERS (5)
LHP Jon Lester
RHP Clay Buchholz
RHP John Lackey
RHP Jake Peavy
LHP Felix Doubront

Explanation: Barring injury, this group is carved in stone. The departure of Ryan Dempster ended whatever competition there was going to be.

RELIEF PITCHERS (7)
RHP Koji Uehara
RHP Junichi Tazawa
LHP Craig Breslow
LHP Andrew Miller
RHP Edward Mujica
RHP Burke Badenhop
LHP Chris Capuano

Explanation: This doesn't seem fair to Brandon Workman, who pitched the eighth inning of Game 6 of the World Series. But the bullpen shifts constantly and he'll get there eventually. Badenhop's spot is not a lock. He probably needs to show the Sox a little something. The Sox like the idea of having three lefties in the bullpen in the AL East and believe Capuano can flourish in that role.

Don't get too worked up about who is in the bullpen on Opening Day. Andrew Bailey, Joel Hanrahan, Alfredo Aceves, and Clayton Mortensen all were last season. They were ghosts by the summer.

CATCHERS (2)
A.J. Pierzynski
David Ross

Explanation: It would take an injury to change this.

DESIGNATED HITTER (1)
David Ortiz

Explanation: None needed, right?

INFIELD (5)
1B Mike Napoli
2B Dustin Pedroia
SS Xander Bogaerts
3B Will Middlebrooks
UTIL Jonathan Herrera

Explanation: The starters, for now, seem set unless Stephen Drew walks through the door one morning. Herrera was obtained because of his defensive versatility and has an edge on the utility job.

OUTFIELD (5)
RF Shane Victorino
CF Jackie Bradley Jr.
LF Jonny Gomes
LF-RF-1B Daniel Nava
LF-1B Mike Carp

Explanation: Here is where it gets tricky. If Grady Sizemore is ready for the Opening Day roster, the Sox will have some decisions to make. Could the Sox get away with dropping Bradley back to Triple A and use Sizemore and Victorino in center? Would they trade Nava or Carp to make room for Sizemore? The guess for now: Sizemore starts the season on the disabled list, if only to allow him more time to get ready.

The Red Sox believe that Victorino's defense in right field is more of an advantage (especially in Fenway Park) than it would be in center.

Sizemore's spot is the biggest roster question. If he shows he's ready to play, something has to give. The next month will determine that.

What's your call? Leave a comment on any changes you envision.

Good morning from Fort Myers

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 25, 2014 07:13 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — A spring training anecdote that might tell you a little something about Xander Bogaerts.

Bogaerts started every game in the World Series and will almost certainly be in the lineup on Opening Day. At 21, he's one of the best young players in the game. Fame awaits.

But almost every day, after the Red Sox finish their workout, Bogaerts walks down the sidewalk to the minor league facility and hangs out with players there. He grabs a seat at one of the picnic tables and talks baseball.

Several Red Sox players said over the winter they were curious how success would affect Bogaerts. Based on the first few weeks of spring training, the answer seems to be not one bit.

Links to our Globe coverage:

Nick Cafardo writes that the Red Sox have some lineup options.

For Red Sox players from Venezuela, these are emotional times.

The notebook has John Farrell discussing the new rule for plays at the plate.

Here's the daily spring training report.

Red Sox camp report for Feb. 24

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 24, 2014 06:36 PM

Thumbnail image for grapefruit_st_logo.jpgMONDAY’S WEATHER: There’s a good reason spring training is here. It was another sunny day with temperatures around 75 for the workout.

MEDICAL REPORT: Daniel Nava was on the field to take grounders and throw but did not take batting practice for the fourth consecutive day because of a nerve issue in his neck. He hopes to start swinging a bat tomorrow.

FUNDAMENTALLY SPEAKING: The Red Sox did a brief sliding drill while the pitchers worked on backdoor pickoff plays. The team then came together for live batting practice.

THUMBS UP: Koji Uehara threw live batting practice for the first time and had his usual arm speed and command, according to manager John Farrell. But Mike Napoli hit him hard several times … Shortstop Xander Bogaerts continues to shine in individual defensive drills. The idea that he is somehow too big to play shortstop isn't true.

THUMBS DOWN: Francisco Cordero, who is attempting a comeback after a year off, threw live batting practice and didn’t have much on his fastball. The veteran will get some time to show the Sox what he can do. But the early results do not suggest he’s a threat to make the team.

AROUND THE BASES: The starting pitchers went through an intense “rag ball” drill, fielding liners smacked at them by Triple A pitching coach Rich Sauveur. John Lackey was the winner, snapping up seven in a row. Clay Buchholz was ruled out when a shot glanced off his glove. Sauveur has taken so many swings that he wears batting gloves and has tape on several fingers covering up blisters … David Ortiz passed through the crowd going from one field to another and nearly has his way blocked by eager fans. A 7-year-old girl sneaked past a security guard and got an autograph from Big Papi in the dugout ... Good sign for Grady Sizemore: He is scheduled to play in one of the college doubleheader games on Thursday. Sizemore is trying to make the Opening Day roster after missing the last two seasons dealing with injuries.

SCHEDULE: The Sox will take the field at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Koji sure likes beer, and other Red Sox notes

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 24, 2014 02:40 PM


FORT MYERS, Fla. — A few notes from Red Sox camp:

• Koji Uehara talked about an eventful offseason that included filming a commercial for Suntory Premium Malts in Japan.

The commercial is fun to watch.

Uehera, during a meeting with reporters today, said he feels he has to earn his job all over again. Manager John Farrell was asked whether it was fair to expect Uehara to repeat the astonishing success he had as closer last season.

"Totally fair," Farrell said.

A few more serious notes:

• Farrell said that Grady Sizemore will play one of the college games on Thursday. The Red Sox are pleased with his progress.

• Jake Peavy threw live batting practice and Farrell said he should be "right in line" with the rest of the starters. Peavy was a few days behind because of a sore right ring finger.

Peavy also has been dealing with the flu. But he got through his session today.

• Daniel Nava hasn't swung a bat in four days because of a nerve issue in his neck. He was on the field taking grounders and throwing but was held back from hitting. He hopes to get started again soon.

"It's just a minor little thing I'm working on," Nava said. "There's no point of going too fast and then all of a sudden we're set back two or three weeks. I've been out there for ground balls, throwing, shagging fly balls. The final step will be just getting swings down."

Farrell discusses new MLB collision rule

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 24, 2014 02:35 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Major League Baseball has changed the rules regarding collisions at home plate. Here is how Rule 7.13 now reads:

(1) A runner attempting to score may not deviate from his direct pathway to the plate in order to initiate contact with the catcher (or other player covering home plate). If, in the judgment of the umpire, a runner attempting to score initiates contact with the catcher (or other player covering home plate) in such a manner, the umpire shall declare the runner out (even if the player covering home plate loses possession of the ball). In such circumstances, the umpire shall call the ball dead, and all other base runners shall return to the last base touched at the time of the collision.

Rule 7.13 comment: The failure by the runner to make an effort to touch the plate, the runner’s lowering of the shoulder, or the runner’s pushing through with his hands, elbows or arms, would support a determination that the runner deviated from the pathway in order to initiate contact with the catcher in violation of Rule 7.13. If the runner slides into the plate in an appropriate manner, he shall not be adjudged to have violated Rule 7.13. A slide shall be deemed appropriate, in the case of a feet first slide, if the runner’s buttocks and legs should hit the ground before contact with the catcher. In the case of a head first slide, a runner shall be deemed to have slid appropriately if his body should hit the ground before contact with the catcher.

(2) Unless the catcher is in possession of the ball, the catcher cannot block the pathway of the runner as he is attempting to score. If, in the judgment of the umpire, the catcher without possession of the ball blocks the pathway of the runner, the umpire shall call or signal the runner safe. Notwithstanding the above, it shall not be considered a violation of this Rule 7.13 if the catcher blocks the pathway of the runner in order to field a throw, and the umpire determines that the catcher could not have fielded the ball without blocking the pathway of the runner and that contact with the runner was unavoidable.

A few notes via MLB:

• The rule that will be in effect in 2014 does not mandate that the runner always slide or that the catcher can never block the plate. However, runners who slide, and catchers who provide the runner with a lane to reach the plate, will never be found to be in violation of the new rule.

• Beginning immediately, clubs will be required to train their runners to slide and their catchers to provide the runner with a pathway to reach the plate at all levels in their organizations.

• Instant replay will be available to review potential violations of Rule 7.13. The umpire crew chief will have discretion to invoke instant replay in order to determine whether Rule 7.13 was violated.

• MLB and the MLBPA will form a committee of players and managers to review developments as the season progresses and to discuss the possible application of the new rule in 2015.

Red Sox manager John Farrell believes the new rule affects runners far more than catchers. Catchers basically have to wait to get the ball before they block the plate. The Red Sox, Farrell said, will instruct their runners to slide into the plate on every instance.

"The rule does not change as far as it relates to the defense player," Farrell said. "It's just that the baserunner cannot run the catcher over."

Farrell also received some clarifications on the replay rule when he met with MLB officials on Sunday.

Managers get one challenge in the first six innings unless they're correct and the challenge is reinstated.

Managers who argue calls will be asked twice by the umpire if they want to challenge. If they do not respond to the second prompt, the argument is over.

Red Sox players send a message to Venezuela

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 24, 2014 09:27 AM

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Red Sox players make a statement for peace in Venezuela. (Photo via @theRealDubi22 on Twitter.)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Six Red Sox players from Venezuela — Felix Doubront, Jonathan Herrera, Heiker Meneses, Jose Mijares, Edward Mujica, and Brayan Villarreal — came out out of the clubhouse before the workout this morning with something other than baseball on their minds. They were joined by another countryman, bullpen catcher Mani Martinez.

With teammate Christian Vazquez serving as photographer, the group posed holding the Venezuelan flag and small signs asking for peace in their county.

Doubront posted the photo to his Twitter account and wrote, "Supporting our people from here" in Spanish.

Anti-government protests in Venezuela have led to at least 11 deaths and 137 injuries. President Nicolás Maduro has sent the military into some parts of the nation where tensions are at their highest. Venezuela has been divided by rampant crime and inflation that has led to food shortages.

"It's a difficult thing for us because we are here and our families and friends are home," Herrera said. "We want to see the violence stopped."

Venezuelan players on other teams have sent similar messages in recent days.

Good morning from Fort Myers

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 24, 2014 07:10 AM

sunrise224.jpg

The sun comes up over JetBlue Park today. The first games are Thursday (Sleepy beat writer with iPhone/Globe Staff)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox have three more workout days left before they start playing games on Thursday. They'll be on the field at 9:30 this morning.

Northeastern and Boston College will be at JetBlue Park for a pair of seven-inning games on Thursday. The Huskies are 1-4 and will play six games in Port Charlotte after they face the Sox. The Eagles are 4-3 and will play 11 games on the road before heading back to bucolic Chestnut Hill.

Our Globe coverage today:

Dan Shaughnessy writes that Grady Sizemore looks good but it's hard to get a read on him.

For Mike Carp, being traded to the Red Sox changed his life.

The notebook has Matt Barnes facing David Ortiz and appreciating the experience.

Here's the daily report from camp.

Red Sox camp report for Feb. 23

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 23, 2014 04:22 PM

TODAY'S WEATHER: Some early fog burned off and it was 66 when the Red Sox took the field to stretch. By the middle of the morning it was 80 and humid. The players were given a brief break in the middle of the workout to grab some shade and drink water.

MEDICAL REPORT: Daniel Nava (pinched nerve in neck) was out of action for the third straight day. Manager John Farrell said he should be swinging a bat again in the next day or two.

FUNDAMENTALLY SPEAKING: The Sox worked on rundown plays for 25 minutes. The drill included the “Larry Bird” variation that features over-the-shoulder throws to the infielders by coach Brian Butterfield to keep everybody on their toes.

THUMBS UP: Brandon Workman looked good in live batting practice again. His command of the strike zone has been sharp. … Starters Jon Lester, John Lackey and Clay Buchholz all pitched their second session of live BP and looked stong.

THUMBS DOWN: Clay Buchholz is 29 and apparently eats like a teenager at the movies. Farrell said the team is working with the righthander on “better nutrition” in the hopes that will help his stamina on the mound. “You’re always looking to adjust and remain at that optimal level,” Farrell said.

AROUND THE BASES: It was Photo Day at JetBlue Park and the players reported early to get shots taken by assorted media outlets. … Farrell said he has impressed by Dalier Hinojosa, a righthander from Cuba who was signed to a minor league contract over the winter. “He’s eager to learn. This is a very different baseball environment he’s in,” Farrell said. … Minor league camp has not opened yet. But the Red Sox have started a mini-camp for invited prospects. ... Chris Capuano was not scheduled to throw live batting practice today. But he took a turn after telling the Red Sox he had thrown off a mound eight times before he was signed on Friday and was ready. “He felt like he wanted to jump right in and wanted to see hitters,” Farrell said. “He keeps himself in great shape.” … Will Middlebrooks played four innings at second base last season and started one game at first. But Farrell said he would be working only at third base in spring training. … A comedian from Japan, Hironari Yamazaki, attended the workout in his own uniform and was on the field while the players stretched. “He can’t be any funnier than Koji [Uehara],” said one Red Sox player.

SCHEDULE: The Sox will be on the field at 9:30 a.m. on Monday. The team has three workout days left before Thursday’s doubleheader against Northeastern and Boston College.

Red Sox pitching plans for later this week

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 23, 2014 01:42 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Here is how the Red Sox will line up their pitchers for later this week. Keep in mind that Jon Lester, John Lackey and Clay Buchholz are being held off for a turn.

Thursday vs Northeastern: Brandon Workman (2), Henry Owens (2), Noe Ramirez, Burke Badenhop.

Thursday vs. Boston College: Rubby De La Rosa (2), Matt Barnes (2), Miguel Celestino, Tommy Layne, Alex Wilson.

Friday vs. Twins: Anthony Ranaudo (2), Dalier Hinojosa (2), Francisco Cordero, Andrew Miller.

Saturday at Twins: Allen Webster (2), Drake Britton (2), Brayan Villarreal, Jose Mijares.

Good morning from Fort Myers

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 23, 2014 08:50 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Today is photo day at JetBlue Park, which is just what it sounds like. Assorted media outlets and others who need shots of the players show up early in the day everybody gets their chance.

Our Globe coverage today:

Dan Shaughnessy writes that Xander Bogaerts is on the verge of stardom.

Nick Cafardo writes that pitching coach Juan Nieves is preaching more consistency.

The notebook has John Farrell impressed with Grady Sizemore.

In the Sunday Baseball Notes, Nick takes a closer look at the Tampa Bay Rays.

Check back later for more.

Chris Capuano welcomes chance to pitch for favorite team

Posted by Matt Pepin, BostonGlobe.com Staff February 22, 2014 03:25 PM
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Chris Capuano is well aware he's the sixth guy on a five-man staff.

But he also has a good memory. At the start of Dodgers spring training last season they had eight starters.

"And it wasn't long before I got a chance to start there," Capuano, a West Springfield native, said. "Once you sign for a team and you're there, you do what the manager wants you to do to the best of your abilities. I'm ready to contribute in any way I can."

Capuano, 35, who signed a one-year, $2.25 million deal with the opportunity to make $5 million with incentives, said he's excited to pitch at Fenway Park.

"It's one of the only stadiums I haven't pitched in yet. I'm glad in spring training we have a replica so I'm looking forward to getting used to it," he said.

Capuano is a lifelong Red Sox fan and he said coming home was a big reason for his choice. Capuano could also have signed with Seattle, and probably had a better chance to start.

"I was eight years old in 1986 when they lost to Mets. I can remember being devastated as a kid. Grew up watching the Sox and really followed them. When I was in the back yard playing Wiffle ball with my friends, we'd always imagine ourselves on the mound at Fenway. It's kind of cool to come back."

Capuano said he will likely be stretched out as a starter. Pitching coach Juan Nieves has outlined a 10-day program for him where he will throw two bullpen sessions and one live batting practice before entering a game.

In other camp news Saturday:

• John Farrell was gushing over Grady Sizemore so far.

"Given to what we're seeing right now, we're looking forward to it (seeing him in games)," Farrell said. "But we're going to have to temper that. His history is well documented. He feels great and two days ago he had a phenomenal day out there. He was running the bases full speed, his defensive work was at full speed, handling live pitching well. Everything has been very good. But we're either going to have temper our enthusiasm or really how much we push him as he gets into game shape."

Farrell said Sizemore has bounced back from tough workouts, a sign that he's responding so far, to the daily drumbeat of the workouts.

"At the end of the day he felt he had solid workday," Farrell said. "After the workout as couple of days ago he had a little soreness, but that next day he felt great. No need for different treatment or any concerns. So far so good."

• Farrell also likes what he sees from Andrew Miller who threw an impressive BP Saturday.

"We're looking for him to be a mainstay in our bullpen," Farrell said. "Losing him last year was a big blow to our bullpen. His ability to get both righthanders and lefthanders out was huge for us."

• Daniel Nava has had a stiff neck and has missed the last two days of workouts, but has been on the field as an observer. Nava said he slept the wrong way and hurt his neck.

Red Sox players get update on key issues from MLBPA boss Tony Clark

Posted by Matt Pepin, BostonGlobe.com Staff February 22, 2014 11:31 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Good morning from Jet Blue Park.

There's an open house taking place at Fenway South Saturday where fans can roam around the park and take in the facility and actually get autographs after the players are through with their workouts.

Players took the field much later than usual today – about 10:45 a.m as a result of the Major League Players Association giving its annual state of the union address. This year, former Red Sox first baseman Tony Clark has taken the reins as the new executive director, taking over from the late Michael Weiner, who passed away Nov. 21 after a battle with brain cancer.

Clark spoke to the players about any issues concerning them. One issue on the forefront is re-opening the discussion about free-agent compensation, which has affected a few players who have not yet signed because teams are unwilling to part with draft picks, particularly first-rounders, if they sign a free-agent who was made a qualifying offer by his old team.

That has subsided a tad the past few days as the Baltimore Orioles have signed both Ubaldo Jimenez and appear to be on the verge of signing Nelson Cruz, leaving Ervin Santana and and Stephen Drew as the only major free-agents still out there.

"We weren't exactly sure what was happening in the first year," Clark said. "We have a better understanding of what's happening this year. The value clubs are putting on those draft picks are definitely the issue and we have to explore how we can insure that teams can complete their teams with very qualified players without worrying about the draft picks."

Clark said that there's a legal procedure that would have to take place to re-open the basic agreement or adjust it.

The other major focus is the advent of a new catcher collision rule.

There's growing negativity among baseball people that protecting catchers may put the base-runner at risk and thus robbing Peter to pay Paul.

"The home plate collision ... it's more than just catchers involved. We've got to be very careful that we're not affecting the integrity of the game itself. We want to make sure runners and catcher are protected," Clark said. "But we need to crawl before we can walk here. We're all for the catcher and runner being protected but in a way that the game isn't radically changed."

In other camp news:

• Newly acquired pitcher Chris Capuano was at the facility having his physical. He was expected to work out if all went well. Capuano had some calf issues last season with the Dodgers.

• There was no further word on Stephen Drew except he is working out at the Boras Sports Training Institute in Miami under the supervision of former Red Sox coach Alex Ochoa.

The Red Sox still appear to have the best chance of landing him.

• Hall of Famer Dave Winfield, along with former NESN analyst and Red Sox psychologist Bob Tewksbury, were also on hand as part of Clark's team. Former major leaguer Bobby Bonilla and Jose Cruz Jr. were also with them.

• Will Middlebrooks and Craig Breslow are currently the Red Sox' MLBPA player reps, but that could change when a formal vote is cast soon.

Red Sox camp report for Feb. 21

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 21, 2014 07:26 PM

FRIDAY’S WEATHER: The run of good weather continues here. It was 73 degrees and sunny when the players came out to stretch and warmed up from there.

MEDICAL REPORT: All clear for the moment.

FUNDAMENTALLY SPEAKING: The Red Sox worked on bunt defense with the pitchers doing through two drills. A group of 13 pitchers then threw live batting practice to hitters. The infielders and outfielders were on a different field for group defensive work.

THUMBS UP: After Henry Owens was finished throwing live batting practice, he worked on some pickoff throws. An errant throw to second base was headed for center field but 49-year-old coach Bob Kipper made a diving stop. It was the best defensive play of the day.

THUMBS DOWN: The bunt defensive work produced the usual amount of flubs and mistimed throws as the pitchers worked to get in synch with the infielders.

AROUND THE BASES: The Red Sox started their workout early before most of the players and manager John Farrell headed for their annual charity golf tournament to benefit a local children’s hospital. … The Sox had representatives from Majestic in the clubhouse to fit them for their uniforms. ... The Red Sox have a bunt defense drill named “The Juanchi” after pitching coach Juan Nieves. The pitchers rotate through the positions on the infield, the idea being to learn what each player is responsible for. So a fan passing by Field 6 on Friday would have seen Andrew Miller at shortstop, John Lackey at second, Jon Lester at third base Jake Peavy playing first base and Koji Uehara catching. … Dustin Pedroia said his days of diving into first base are finished after tearing a ligament in his left thumb. “Did it twice in my career. Once was too many,” he said

SCHEDULE: The Sox have a MLB Players Association meeting at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday before they go on the field.

Updated spring training TV/Radio schedule

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 21, 2014 03:35 PM

Here is an updated Red Sox television and radio schedule for spring training. In all, you could see 18 games on television.

NESN
March 2: Orioles
March 8: at Orioles
March 9: at Pirates
March 10: Rays
March 15: Phillies
March 16: at Rays
March 19 Pirates
March 20: Yankees
March 22: at Braves
March 23: Rays
March 25: at Rays
March 28: at Twins

ESPN
March 17: Cardinals
March 18: at Yankees
March 20: Yankees

MLB Network
March 1: at Twins (8 p.m. tape delay)
March 13: at Twins
March 21 at Phillies
March 24 at Orioles (11 p.m. tape delay)

WEEI (93.7 FM unless noted)
Feb. 27: College doubleheader (850-AM)
March 1 at Twins
March 2: Orioles
March 8: Orioles
March 9: At Pirates
March 15: Phillies
March 16 at Rays
March 17: Cardinals (850-AM)
March 18: At Yankees (850-AM)
March 19: Pirates
March 20: Yankees
March 22: at Braves
March 23: Rays
March 27: Twins
March 29: Twins

Lucchino: Sox a 'different animal' than Yankees

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 21, 2014 02:56 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Team president Larry Lucchino said it's "Camp Good Vibrations" for the Red Sox so far.

"There's a very good vibe emanating from the place. We hope that continues throughout the season."

Lucchino then answered assorted questions for 20 minutes. Here are some highlights:

On David Ortiz's extension request: "We are obviously not going to talk about the negotiations in any public way. But we did have a chance to see David yesterday and have a conversation with him. Other than that, we're going to give it the priority that it deserves."

Lucchino said the Red Sox want Ortiz to end his career with the organization. "I know it's a great thing for us and I think it's a great thing for David," Lucchino said. "He feels connected, he's committed. He's certainly one of the most important faces in baseball as well as the franchise. We're eager to resolve something if it can be done."

Lucchino said it's "not impossible" Ortiz could play for another team.

"My mind is facile enough to envision something like that. But do I anticipate it happening? No," he said.

On the Red Sox potentially starting Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Will Middlebrooks: "I like the idea. I really look forward to it. We've been saying for a long time particularly in recent years, that this is a game for young players. You can't make it a game for young players unless they play. I think historically we've had a more conservative view towards player development.

"The idea of having young players playing such pivotal roles and watching their careers develop and escalate and watching them perform at higher and better levels is one of the most interesting dynamics in the game."

On the contrast between the Red Sox and Yankees: "We're very different animals. I'm proud of that difference. I always cringe when people lump us together. Other baseball teams sometime do that. They are still, this year at least, relying heavily on their inimitable old-fashioned Yankee style of high-priced, long-term free agents. I can't say I wish them well. But I think we've taken a different approach.

"If you compare what we did last year in the offseason to what they've done this year, there's quite a contrast there. I'll quickly say we do keep open the prospect of signing a long-term deal with a free agent, paying a sizable amount of money to attract a star in his prime. We haven't ruled that out. There's just a rebuttable presumption against doing that. But you can rebut it. The circumstances can allow for you to go ahead and do it. The Yankees do it more often it seems to me as a matter of course."

Yankees president Randy Levine, of course, immediately fired back at Lucchino.

“I feel bad for Larry; he constantly sees ghosts and is spooked by the Yankees,” Levine told the New York Daily News. “But I can understand why, because under his and Bobby Valentine’s plan two years ago, the Red Sox were in last place. Ben Cherington and the Red Sox did a great job last year winning the World Series, but I’m confident Cash and Joe and our players will compete with a great Red Sox team to win a world championship this year.”

Why didn't Jacoby Ellsbury fit that standard? "Well, within reason. There are exceptions but the proposal they made to him was obviously very appealing to him. Sometimes you have to say good-bye to people you would like to keep here because the appeal of the economics are so great."

On Jon Lester wanting to extend his contract: "Certainly, for me, one of the highlights of the offseason were the comments Jon made about the organization, wanting to stay here. He was so forthright and blunt about it. No game-playing or whatever. It was really nice to hear when you're in our position. We will explore that matter as well during spring training."

On commissioner Bud Selig planning to retire after the season and whether he would seek the job: "I challenge the premise the commissioner is retiring at the end of this year. ... It's a fantastic position for people who love baseball. Any baseball executive would probably enjoy it. But I really love where I am and what I'm doing right now. I love being in Boston. I love the New England life and lifestyle. I don't want to go anywhere else. I don't feel I'd be anybody first's choice anyway."

Lucchino said it's too soon to name a leading candidate other than to say he would not restrict the pool to only people already in the game.

"I teased the commissioner yesterday about his departure date. It's kind of an open secret, he knows that some of us believe the pressure for him to stay will be so great that he will have to accede to them."

Lucchino later echoed the words of principal owner John Henry that Fenway Park has at least 30 years left and that any plan for a new ballpark would come after his tenure with the club.

"It's off my table," he said.

On the slow pace of games: "I think that's kind of — and I don't want to be overly dramatic here — but kind of a dagger pointed at the heart of baseball and we can't afford to avert our eyes from it."

Lucchino said the commissioner's office has asked some teams, including the Red Sox, to come up with ideas about how best to increase the pace of play. He mentioned enforcing the rule-book definition of the strike zone as one method. Or shortening commercial breaks.

"The game is a beautiful game. The randomness, the dailiness, the unpredictability of it makes it such a great game. It's history makes it a great game. But that doesn't mean we couldn't change a few rules here and there every once in a while without it being such a dangerous road to hoe."

Mike Napoli, All-American

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 21, 2014 12:58 PM

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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Via the Red Sox' Twitter account, here's a shot of Mike Napoli watching the USA-Canada hockey game. He's wearing a USA ski hat and a USA t-shirt.

The beard, as you see, remains intact. Not even the Florida sun can deter Napoli.

Red Sox see Capuano taking bullpen role

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 21, 2014 12:47 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Chris Capuano is expected to arrive at Red Sox camp this afternoon. Once he passes his physical, he will be on the field.

Capuano was signed to a one-year deal on Thursday that will pay him $2.25 million. Incentives could add an additional $2.75 million. Manager John Farrell said Capuano will be prepared as a starter and move into the bullpen if he is not needed in the rotation.

"Experience of both starting and pitching out of the bullpen. Clearly gives us a depth starter if that need were to arise," Farrell said. "But at the moment, all things considered, he would pitch out of the bullpen for us."

Capuano has only 29 career relief appearances, four last season. In his career, he has a 3.42 ERA and 1.27 WHIP as a reliever, better than the marks (4.31 and 1.34) he has as a starter.

In 4.2 scoreless innings out of the bullpen for the Dodgers in 2013, Capuano allowed four hits with one walk and seven strikeouts.

The Red Sox could start the season with three lefties — Capuano, Craig Breslow, and Andrew Miller — in their bullpen.

"In our division [it will help] quite a bit when you consider the lineups in this division," Farrell said.

Farrell pointed out that Breslow and Miller were effective against righthanded batters last season, giving the bullpen sufficient balance.

Capuano would appear best suited for the swingman role that Brandon Workman could fill. But with Opening Day more than five weeks away, Farrell isn't concerned about how the pieces will fit yet.

"I could give you an answer but three week from now things could change," Farrell said. "I can't say one person will be any more affected than another. Depending on who's available, guys needing extra time to get ready for the season, unforeseen injuries, anything can happen."

Good morning from Fort Myers

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 21, 2014 07:08 AM

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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Chris Capuano is expected to arrive today and he will be worked into the group of starters in case a need arises. If not, he would give the Sox a third lefthander in the bullpen and one capable of multiple innings.

How Capuano performs in the American League is a question, but his peripheral statistics last season were promising.

As Buster Olney and others have pointed out, his 3.67 xFIP compares to pitchers like Justin Verlander.

Don't get worked up over how this affects the bullpen and who is on the Opening Day roster. The makeup of the bullpen changes frequently during the course of the season and who makes the team out of spring training is fairly meaningless. Brandon Workman pitched the eighth inning of the clinching game of the World Series and wasn't in camp at this time a year ago.

On to the links from our Globe coverage:

Dan Shaughnessy writes everything is rosy with the Red Sox these days.

For Will Middlebrooks the coming season could define what kind of player he is. He seems determined to change minds.

Chris Capuano has signed with the Red Sox and Nick Cafardo leads the notebook with that story.

In the media notes, Chad Finn writes that Jenny Dell is free to leave NESN.

Here's the daily report on training camp.

Some notes from Red Sox camp

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 20, 2014 08:01 PM

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Will Middlebrooks take grounders from his knees. (Jim Davis/Globe Staff)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — A few notes from around Red Sox camp:

• A senior red Sox official said it was “unlikely” the team would bring back free agent shortstop Stephen Drew at this point. Later in the day, GM Ben Cherington seemed to confirm that.

“Right now, as far as the position player group, we’re focused on the guys that are here,” he said. “We’ve got infielders here in camp who are into their workouts and getting ready to play games. We have a lot of faith in those infielders.”

Cherington said the Sox have an interest in acquiring some additional infield depth and are scouting other camps.

“My guess is that’s a spring training thing and maybe that nothing happens,” he said. “We have scouts in every camp. We know who is more likely to be available.”

• David Ortiz and agent Fernando Cuza met with the Sox after the workout to start talks on a contract extension. The meeting was first reported by WEEI. “David’s a very important guy. We all know that,” Cherington said. “Certain guys earn the right to have a hearing and a conversation and he’s certainly one of them.”

• John Farrell and bench coach Torey Lovullo will travel to Port Charlotte, Fla., to meet with Major League Baseball officials regarding the instant replay procedures. The new rule prohibiting running into the catcher also will be on the agenda. Several other teams are expected to attend.

• Francisco Tena, a pitcher on the Dominican Summer League roster, was suspended for 50 games for using a performance-enhancing drug. Tena has yet to appear in a game.

• Chairman Tom Werner said that NESN's Jerry Remy was allowed to decide if he would return following the arrest of his son for murder.

Jared Remy was charged with killing his girlfriend, Jennifer Martel, in August.

"I think what we said to Jerry at the time was we just offered him our support after the tragedy and said, there’s a place for you if and when you want to come back," Werner said. "This is going to be a very personal decision but you have a home here at NESN if and when you feel it’s appropriate to come back and we’re delighted that he’s back. I know that he’s very mindful of the tragedy but he’s, I think, excited about returning to the booth."

Red Sox camp report for Feb. 20

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 20, 2014 06:37 PM

THURSDAY’S WEATHER: It was 65 degrees and sunny when the Red Sox emerged from the clubhouse and climbed to 75.

MEDICAL REPORT: Jake Peavy [right ring finger] threw in the bullpen for the first time and felt fine. “The discomfort isn’t there and that’s a good thing. He’ll probably need a couple of more bullpens before we get to [batting practice]. There’s still plenty of time,” manager John Farrell said.

FUNDAMENTALLY SPEAKING: The Sox pitchers worked on scooping up bunts with their gloves and shoveling the ball to the plate is there’s a squeeze play. There also were drills on throwing to bases on balls back to the mound.

THUMBS UP: Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz and John Lackey threw 35 pitches in the bullpen and all looked sharper than they did earlier in the week. Pitching coach Juan Nieves said he was impressed with their command for this early in the spring. … Shane Victorino, who has not been hitting following thumb surgery, was on the field for a base-running drill.

THUMBS DOWN: Triple A pitching coach Rich Sauveur drilled soft baseballs at the pitchers to improve their reactions on line drives. Jose Mijares seemed more intent on getting out of the way than catching the ball.

AROUND THE BASES: Chief operating officer Sam Kennedy is recovering from the same kind of hip labrum surgery Alex Rodriguez had in 2009. He had the same surgeon, too, Dr. Bryan Kelly in Manhattan. Hopefully he’ll avoid the Biogenesis Clinic. … General manager Ben Cherington said the Sox have the deepest group of young starters he’s seen in his 15 years in the organization. … Felix Doubront has taken up golf and had a new set of clubs delivered to the clubhouse.

SCHEDULE: The second full-squad workout is set for a 9:30 a.m. start on Friday. The Red Sox pitchers will start throwing live batting practice to the hitters.

For Lackey, these are the good times

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 20, 2014 05:09 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — John Lackey started and won the clinching game of the Word Series when he was a rookie with the Angels in 2002.

Eleven years and one major elbow surgery later, he did the same thing for the Red Sox last October.

“You definitely appreciate the second one a little bit more,” Lackey said Thursday. “As a rookie I came in on a veteran team. There might have been two or three rookies on the team. I was just trying not to screw things up.”

Now Lackey is a veteran starter the Sox are counting on. He was 10-13 with a 3.52 earned run average over 29 starts and 189.1 innings in 2013 after missing the previous season recovering from surgery.

“It’s a lot easier this year for sure. I don’t have to do some of the rehab stuff I had to do last year,” Lackey said. “I feel great physically.”

Pitchers typically show greater improvement in their second season following Tommy John surgery. Lackey wonders if that will be the case at age 35 but does expect to see some extra durability and velocity.

“I’ve put in the work this offseason,” he said. “I feel like I’m prepared. I’ll know more once we start pitching."

Lackey was one of the Red Sox pitchers who admitted drinking beer in the clubhouse during games in 2011. That led to a torrent of criticism, part of the testy relationship Lackey has had with Boston at times.

On Thursday, he happily joked that the Sox set “a new league record” for beer consumption after they won the Series. He also has a framed Sox jersey from the World Series at his home.

“Things are different now,” Lackey said. “I’m happy to be here with these guys. It’s comfortable for me.”

Lackey is signed through the end of the season. The Sox hold an option on him for 2015 — at the league minimum — as a result of the year missed because of the surgery.

“That was the contract and we’ll see happens,” he said. “If I can pitch, I want to keep pitching.”

Red Sox sign Capuano to one-year deal

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 20, 2014 01:21 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox have signed lefthander Chris Capuano to a one-year contract worth $2.25 million. An announcement is expected later today or on Friday.

The deal includes incentives worth a possible $2.75 million. Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington indicated that the team was close to a move that would bolster its pitching depth.

A 35-year-old native of West Springfield, Capuano was 4-7 with a 4.26 earned run average in 24 appearances (20 starts) for the Dodgers last season. He is 73-83 with a 4.27 ERA over parts of nine seasons.

Capuano started against the Red Sox on Aug. 25 at Dodger Stadium and took the loss. He lasted five innings, giving up three runs [two earned] on six hits.

Capuano has never pitched for an American League team in his career. He 9-8 with a 4.78 ERA in 24 interleague appearances. He had a 5.33 ERA in five starts against American League teams last season.

Capuano has made only 29 career relief appearances but has a 3.42 ERA coming out of the bullpen.

The departure of Ryan Dempster last weekend created the need for a veteran starter to provide rotation depth. Once Dempster is placed on the restricted list, the Sox will have room on the 40-man roster for Capuano.

After a Globe report that the deal was imminent, the Springfield Republican reported the completed contract with CBS Sports providing details on the deal.

Red Sox executives addressing the team

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 20, 2014 09:20 AM

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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Via the Red Sox Twitter account, here is a photo of the team meeting taking place now.

The team officials sitting up front are owner John Henry, chairman Tom Werner, president Larry Lucchino, chief operating officer Sam Kennedy, executive vice president Jon Gilula, executive vice president Charles Steinberg and GM Ben Cherington.

A setback for Steven Wright

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 20, 2014 09:03 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Steven Wright remembers the day he knew something was wrong.

"It was Dec. 19," the righthander said this morning. "I woke up and I knew something was going on."

It proved to be a sports hernia. Wright had surgery at the UMass Medical Center in Worcester about a month later and arrived at spring training today. He won't be able to start throwing until sometime in May.

"I think I got hurt lifting weights. I know it wasn't something specific," Wright said. "It was more cumulative."

Wright, a knuckleballer, appeared in four games for the Red Sox last season and was targeted for the Triple A rotation. His loss, even temporary, cuts into the team's starter depth.

"All I can do is rehab and wait," the 29-year-old said. "I'll be [in the trainer's room] while I'm in spring training. It was terrible timing."

Wright was 8-7 with a 3.46 ERA in 24 starts for Pawtucket last season.

Good morning from Fort Myers

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 20, 2014 07:31 AM

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Sunrise over JetBlue Park this morning (Beat Writer iPhone/Globe Staff)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox will conduct their first full-squad workout today. It will be preceded by a series of speeches from assorted team officials.

It's one of those days that seems like more than it really is. The idea of the manager giving a fiery talk and motivating the players to go out and win sounds great. But the first game of the season isn't until March 31. Today is more about reminding the players that they're here for a purpose and to take care of business.

Most managers, John Farrell included, do their best communication in smaller groups. But today makes for good theater.

The biggest deal at this point is the starting pitchers are healthy (outside of a little hiccup for Jake Peavy) and into their routine. Now that the position players will be in drills, we'll get a much better idea about guys like Xander Bogaerts, Grady Sizemore, Will Middlebrooks and others.

Our Globe coverage today:

David Ortiz downplayed the idea of his contract being a distraction.

Dan Shaughnessy writes that nobody hates David Ortiz contrary to what he might think.

Red Sox (and Globe) owner John Henry discusses the state of Fenway Park and other matters. Nick Cafardo has the story.

The notebook has the Red Sox wanting to set a tone before the first full-squad workout.

Here's our daily report from training camp.

Check back later for more.

Red Sox camp report for Feb. 19

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 19, 2014 07:48 PM

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for red sox spring logo .jpgWEDNESDAY’S WEATHER: It was sunny and 62 degrees when the Sox took the field and warmed up to 81.

MEDICAL REPORT: A.J. Pierzynski (left ankle) caught in the bullpen and is essentially off the injured list at this point. Jake Peavy (right ring finger) is expected to throw in the bullpen on Thursday.

FUNDAMENTALLY SPEAKING: Red Sox infield coach Brian Butterfield worked one-on-one with Jon Lester on throwing the ball to first base and second base. Lester has long had a problem with his fielding and maybe this time the Sox can correct it. Butterfield is working with Lester on his arm angle.

THUMBS UP: Pierzynski launched three balls in batting practice that landed on the roof of the batting cage well beyond the fence in right field. … Manager John Farrell carefully watched pitching prospect Anthony Ranaudo in the bullpen and came away smiling.

THUMBS DOWN: The pitchers spent their third consecutive day doing fielding drills and are starting to look bored. Things should pick up once the position players are mixed in.

AROUND THE BASES: Lefthander Rich Hill is attending to a family matter back home in Massachusetts and has yet to report. The team has told him to take all the time he needs. … Lester purchased a nice gift for his teammates, bottles of champagne etched to commemorate the World Series championship. … The position players took their physicals early in the day and had an abbreviated workout on the field as a result. ... The Red Sox players have been getting fitted for their World Series rings in recent days. … Fox Sports reported the Red Sox could have interest in 35-year-old lefthander Chris Capuano, a native of Springfield. But Farrell didn't seem too interested. "I don’t think we’re in a dire need to add veteran presence," he said. … A.J. Pierzynski is renting a home in Fort Myers with Minnesota Twins minor league manager Doug Mientkiewicz, the former Red Sox first baseman. The two came up together in the Twins system.

SCHEDULE: The first full-squad workout will be Thursday. Farrell and assorted others will address the team first.

John Henry: Fenway Park still has 'decades' remaining

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 19, 2014 03:33 PM

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FORT MYERS, Fla. — There is an expiration date on Fenway Park, Red Sox principal owner John Henry said on Wednesday. But it won't come due for another 30 years or so.

The oldest ballpark in the majors is structurally sound and the only improvements left to make would be to renovate the press box and other areas in the upper section behind home plate.

"You won't see major changes. Those, I think, have been explored, thought about and accomplished," Henry said. "Structurally there is an expiration date. Someone at some point in decades ahead will have to address the possibility of a new ballpark."

Henry, who purchased the Red Sox before the 2002 season, said it's an "ever-changing challenge and incredibly difficult" to compete against the other teams in baseball.

"For us to win a fourth championship would be the cornerstones of the careers of everyone involved here and have been involved in these three," he said. "Already there's a sense here that 2013 was 2013. ... We've already turned the page. Winning a fourth one, in our minds, is going to be just as difficult as winning the first one was."

Henry said in 2012 that he was against the idea of giving long-term contracts to free agents. That came in the wake of the Red Sox trading away the disastrous contract given to Carl Crawford.

The Red Sox remain a high-revenue franchise, but Henry has not abandoned that ideal.

"I think we learned from that and a few other clubs have learned from it," he said. "All we have to do is take a look at the results over the last 10 years of what that kind of approach has meant. It's a very, very risky thing to do. I don't see us necessarily changing. ... I don't see us going back to where we were."

Henry does not necessarily regard the $189 million luxury tax threshold as a ceiling for the Red Sox, however.

"It has been," he said. "There's some reason to believe it may not be as important as we thought a couple of years ago. We feel at that level, we're at the top or near the top [of payroll]."

Under the terms of baseball's latest collective bargaining agreement, teams under the threshold were eligible for significant rebates in revenue-sharing payments. But Henry said he questioned at the time how beneficial that was and that his projections were accurate.

"There were certain incentives built into the season that at the time I doubted they would really carry the day and that appears to be the case. They probably won't," he said.

With the restrictions on spending in the amateur draft and for international free agents, big-spending teams teams like the Red Sox have lost some of the advantages they once enjoyed.

"It has gotten harder to spend your money in ways that we normally were doing," Henry said. "We spent a lot of money in the amateur draft and got tremendous results from that. It's an issue we've talked a lot about. It is more difficult."

Henry offered no thoughts on who he thinks will replace commissioner Bud Selig once he retires.

"He will be extraordinarily difficult to replace," Henry said. "Extraordinarily difficult. That process is underway but it will be extraordinarily difficult."

Henry said the team was willing to discuss a contract extension with David Ortiz.

He also was "glad to hear" that Jon Lester wanted to stay with the Sox, but said general manager Ben Cherington should be asked about contract issues.

David Ortiz and John Henry hopeful of contract resolution

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 19, 2014 02:03 PM

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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Red Sox slugger David Ortiz believes he could soon come to an agreement with the team on a contract extension, a notion principal owner John W. Henry cautiously agreed with.

"I think we're going to be fine. That's all I have to say right now on the contract thing," Ortiz said on Wednesday. "I think we're going to be OK."

Ortiz said "conversations are good" with the Sox as spring training gets started.

"I think they're trying to get this out of the way so it won't be a distraction," he said. "My goal right now is pretty much to try and win another championship. That's all that matters to me right now. The contract situation thing is going to be taken care of at some point. I don't really know, hopefully pretty soon.

Ortiz's agent, Fernando Cuza, has been at Red Sox camp for two days. Henry arrived on Wednesday.

"It's conceivable. It's something that we'll talk about. We'll definitely meet with him," said Henry, who also owns the Boston Globe. "He's meant so much to this franchise, to New England, for so long now. He has helped carry us to three world championships.

"I know where he's coming from. He wants to finish his career here and we should try to make that happen. I don't know that it will get done. But I think it's good to have the conversation at the beginning of spring training. We're all here. The sooner it gets resolved one way or another, the better it is for everyone."

Ortiz is seeking a one-year extension that would take him through the end of the 2015 season. He said he can't envision himself playing for another team, but that it could happen.

"Hopefully not," he said. "Hopefully that's not the case. I like it here. I love the fans here. I love what I do here. My job is not only to hit a baseball. I do a lot of things that I'm comfortable with and a lot of people care about that. I think I'm doing OK as long as I've been here."

Ortiz, 38, was asked how long he planned to keep playing.

"I don't know. I'm having fun. I'm having fun and things are going well," he said. "I'm super happy to be here. I'm glad to wear thus uniform. The fans know that I'm more than proud of performing in front of them. I try my best everytime I go out there. There's just a couple of haters out there who are always flipping things around."

Then he wondered why the question was being asked.

"What am I doing so bad that people want me to retire? Can anybody give me an answer to that?" he said.

Ortiz hit .309 with 30 home runs and 103 RBIs last season. He had a .959 OPS, the seventh highest of his 17-year career. Ortiz capped the season by being named Most Valuable Player of the World Series.

Ortiz said playing out the year on his present contract would not be a distraction.

"If it doesn't get done, I've got to come in and get my job done like I normally do," he said. "Whatever happens, it's going to happen. I still have to come in and perform and do what I do. ... I never shut it down. I have played on a one-year deal. It's not new to me."

The biggest problem Ortiz has is with some segments of the Boston media that have been critical of him seeking an extension.

"As long as I've been in this organization, I don't think I have disrespected no one. I think I've been honest. I think I've been legit," he said. "I'm one of the greatest to ever wear this uniform, too. Some people forget about that. I don't like to talk about that. I don't like to sound like that. But you've got to let them know.

"I think it's very disrespectful for someone out there to be saying that I'm greedy and all I want to talk about is contracts. When am I going to talk about contracts, when I retire? It's now that I'm playing."

Ortiz was particularly critical of radio talk-show hosts who "talk trash" about him.

"Before you do that, you need to know who you're going to talk about," he said. "Haters, man. Haters. Haters. People hate. That's the world that we're living in. People hate. People are not comfortable with you doing well and that's it. That's the way I see it."

Ortiz admitted the chatter gives him an edge.

"Actually it does. That part of it motivates me to come in and kick ass," he said. "I'm super excited. I can't wait for the season to start. I can't wait. I'm anxious. I'm hungrier than ever right now. To me, what we did last year don't matter. I want to get another one now and prove people wrong like I have my whole career and then at the end of the season I'll just laugh at my house."

Click full entry to watch video of Ortiz's comments Wednesday.

FULL ENTRY

David Ortiz should be blaming his agent

Posted by Matt Pepin, BostonGlobe.com Staff February 19, 2014 09:22 AM

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FORT MYERS, Fla. – We can all agree that David Ortiz needs to turn the volume down a bit about his contract.

In this day and age when people are rubbing nickels together to pay bills, nobody wants to hear it on a weekly basis. But if Ortiz should be mad at anyone, it should be his agent, Fernando Cuza. How does a hitter with Ortiz' credentials – and I don't care how old he is – settle for a two-year, $30 million deal?

I know "settle" sticks out and anyone making that kind of money should be kissing the ground every day. But when you compare it to other hitters making so much more money, you can see Ortiz' frustration.

The Yankees' Mark Teixeira, for instance, will earn $22.5 million this season. Jacoby Ellsbury, Ortiz' long-time teammate, will make $21.1 million. Miguel Cabrera is in a league of his own, but he will earn $22 million. Albert Pujols will make $23 million. Prince Fielder's paycheck is $24 million. Joe Mauer will make $23 million. Carl Crawford will draw a $20.2 million salary. Adrian Gonzalez will earn $21 million. Matt Kemp makes $21 million in 2014.

Vernon Wells is sitting home without a job and he's earning $21 million.

Do you get the picture yet?

You can argue some of these contracts are bad, and/or don't fit the production of some of these players. You can argue that Ortiz is a DH and not a positional player. You can argue that he's older than some of these players who are in their prime.

But there's one bottom line – the numbers don't lie.

On this list, other than Cabrera, who's a better hitter or a more productive player?

How many of them won the World Series MVP, or own a .455 average with a 1.372 OPS in winning three World Series? He's one of the greatest clutch hitters of all time.

It's not the reporters telling him to tone it down that have caused his contractual issues.
Ortiz, you might say, has taken a few hometown discounts to stay in Boston and finish his career there. It's up to his agent to get him the right deal.

That's who should be taking his wrath right now.

Not the media, or the fans who are telling him he shouldn't be so public about his contract.

The case for not signing Stephen Drew

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 19, 2014 08:00 AM

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FORT MYERS, Fla. — It makes sense for the Red Sox to sign Stephen Drew.

They could certainly use him given the lack of depth on the left side of the infield. Xander Bogaerts has started only six major league games at shortstop in his career and Will Middlebrooks is a player who lost his job twice last season.

The Sox won the World Series last season with Drew playing shortstop and Bogaerts at third base. There is strong support for using that combination again among many in the Red Sox clubhouse.

The Red Sox are the only team that can sign Drew without losing a draft pick. They also can afford him, especially with Ryan Dempster's $13.25 million off the books.

Drew's .777 OPS was second among American League shortstops last season and he ranked fourth with a 3.1 WAR. He's a very solid player, among the best at his position. It's incorrect to say otherwise. The Mets should have signed him two months ago.

There are plenty of reasons to sign Drew and if the Red Sox do it, you can't blame them. But here is why they shouldn't:

Bogaerts should get the chance to start at shortstop. The Red Sox have been in a constant state of flux at shortstop since they traded Nomar Garciaparra in 2004. In Bogaerts, they have a player who could play there for a decade or more.

Further, they could have an All-Star at that position. Bogaerts can be the American League version of Troy Tulowitzki, a shortstop with a middle-of-the-order bat. The 21-year-old could be the best offensive player at his position in the league this season, that's how good he is.

Bogaerts can add thump to the lineup at third base. But with Evan Longoria, Manny Machado, and Adrian Beltre in the American League, the impact is less. At shortstop, he's a centerpiece player in every way.

If Bogaerts goes to third base, his days at shortstop are done. Now is the time to develop him there. Bogaerts wants very badly to be a shortstop and should get that chance.

The Sox should stick with Middlebrooks. The 25-year-old hit .288 with 15 home runs runs in 267 at-bats as a rookie in 2012, performing so well that he opened the 2013 season hitting fifth.

Middlebrooks was tentative in spring training last season because of the broken wrist he suffered the previous August. He later injured his back in May and was eventually demoted to the minors.

He still managed 17 home runs. Middlebrooks also hit .276 with an .805 OPS and 24 RBIs in his final 41 games after returning from the minors, playing a big role in the team's surge to the postseason.

Middlebrooks has 32 home runs over the last two seasons. Among righthanded hitters, the only younger players with more are Wilin Rosario, Giancarlo Stanton, Mike Trout, and Dayan Viciedo. Of that group, Middlebrooks had the fewest at-bats by far.

Righthanded power is hard to find and the Red Sox should not squander that. Signing Drew is throwing up another roadblock for Middlebrooks. His value to the Red Sox is higher than his trade value and it would be a waste to sit him on the bench.

Change is good: The odds are against the Red Sox repeating as World Series champions. But a lineup that includes Bogaerts, Middlebrooks, and Jackie Bradley Jr. brings added energy. Young players with something to prove can fuel a team of veterans. Yes, this is a reason based entirely on a feeling. But the Red Sox factored in intangibles last season with great success.

Get that draft pick: It's not a secondary consideration to get a supplemental first-round pick when Drew signs elsewhere. The single best way to bury the Yankees and Rays is to load up on young talent. New York and Tampa Bay do not have productive farm systems and the wider the Red Sox can make that gap, the better off they will be.

Drew could well make the 2014 Red Sox a better team. But the 2015-2020 Red Sox would benefit more by really seeing what Bogaerts and Middlebrooks can do now.

Good morning from Fort Myers

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 19, 2014 07:56 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — It's a beautiful morning here (sorry about that, New Englanders) for the third day of pitchers and catchers working out. The position players will take their physicals ahead of the first full-squad workout on Thursday.

Just a hunch that we won't have too many members of the national media around JetBlue Park today. That Derek Jeter guy is up the road in Tampa discussing his pending retirement.

Links to our Globe stories today:

Dan Shaughnessy checks in with Shane Victorino and the status of three little birds that everybody loved last season.

Nick Cafardo was in Tampa and talked to new Yankees center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury about leaving the Red Sox.

A new-look Jonny Gomes is ready to turn the page.

The notebook has David Ortiz ready to talk about a contract.

Check back later for more and keep an eye on Twitter (@PeteAbe) for photos, videos and reports from the field.

Red Sox camp report for Feb. 18

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 18, 2014 07:30 PM

TODAY’S WEATHER: Just about perfect. It was sunny and 73 at the start of the workout and got up into the 80s by the end.

MEDICAL REPORT: A.J. Pierzynski (left ankle) was held out of catching in the bullpen against his will. "I fought them on it. But I understand it," he said. Pierzynski went through fielding drills and expects to catch on Wednesday.

FUNDAMENTALLY SPEAKING: The Sox pitchers worked hard on covering first base. Minor league coaches Goose Gregson and Bob Kipper had even the veteran pitchers picking up the pace on grounders to the right side. … The pitchers also worked on comebackers and bunts.

THUMBS UP: For a guy in his first day at camp, Jonny Gomes had an impressive few rounds of batting practice, sending an assortment of baseballs flying out to left field. “I live in Arizona, bro,” Gomes said. “Been out hitting in this kind of weather for a few weeks now.”

THUMBS DOWN: First baseman Daniel Nava and reliever Brayan Villarreal couldn’t get in synch on a play at first base and the ball rolled away. … Newly signed righthander Francisco Cordero was moving slow in fielding drills. In his defense, he didn’t play last year and is 38.

AROUND THE BASES: Lefthander Jose Mijares has cleared up his visa issues in Venezuela and is expected in camp on Wednesday. … Manager John Farrell said Ryan Lavarnway has made a lot of progress learning to play first base since he started a week ago.

SCHEDULE: The position players will have their physicals on Wednesday. For the pitchers and catchers, it will be Day 3 of workouts. The team will be on the field by 10 a.m. after a class in media training. To accommodate the class, the morning availability for the media was canceled. Hmm.

A few videos from around Red Sox camp

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 18, 2014 04:08 PM

FORT MEYERS, Fla. — Here are some brief videos of scenes around the Red Sox camp from earlier today:

New-look Gomes: Time for Sox to move on

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 18, 2014 02:15 PM

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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Jonny Gomes started anew on Tuesday, arriving at JetBlue Park clean-shaven with the exception of a small soul patch beneath his lower lip. The wild man of 2013 looked years younger.

“A double take actually when he walked in the room,” manager John Farrell said.

Gomes entertained a few questions about shaving before rolling his eyes.

“I mean, it’s a friggin’ beard. No one died,” he said. “We’re going to be all right. The beard didn’t hit or throw a fastball all year.”

Yes, Gomes is eager to be finished with the trappings of 2013.

“This group of guys, from the players to the coaching staff to up above, is not willing and not wanting to sit on this title,” he said. “It’s cool right now, championship shirts and hats and whatnot. But I’ll tell you what, once that first pitch of the season starts, it’s pretty much thrown right into the archives. It’s old news coming up pretty soon.”

Outside of Mike Napoli, the Red Sox have abandoned their wooly beards and made changes to the roster. How this team defends its championship and develops a new personality will emerge in the coming weeks and months. Gomes is sure to be involved.

“How do you do it? If there was a way that book will be written,” Gomes said. “You can’t being back all 25-plus guys. You can’t practice all those magical walk-offs. … There has to be a whole new chapter, a whole new blueprint. We’ll do what we can to build a new identity.”

Gomes, 33, spent parts of 10 seasons in the majors before winning the World Series. That was his goal from the day he was drafted out of junior college in 2001.

The accomplishment merited a new tattoo on his torso, a cartoon-like drawing that included all the symbols of last season.

The ink is dry and the beard is gone. Now it’s time to think ahead.

“The goal was met; the goal was conquered,” Gomes said. “I guess I was extremely hungry to win a World Series title. Once you take a bite of it, that’s definitely what it’s all about.

“I guess my hunger turned to starvation now because I’ve got to do what I can to start collecting them.”

See the Globe or BostonGlobe.com on Wednesday for much more from Gomes.

Cordero returns to baseball; Peavy progresses

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 18, 2014 12:59 PM

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Fans at Fenway South were eager to get David Ortiz's autograph. (Peter Abraham/Globe Staff)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Fielding practice is a tedious spring training task for most pitchers. But Francisco Cordero enjoyed it on Tuesday.

The 38-year-old righthander was signed to a minor league contract over the weekend after sitting out all of last year. Cordero pitched so poorly in 2012 (a 7.55 earned run average in 47 games) that no team wanted to sign him.

“You make mistakes, you get hit. I don’t say any excuses. In 2012, I got hit real hard. But that is behind me,” Cordero said.

Now, 32 pounds lighter, Cordero is getting an opportunity.

“I appreciate everybody in the Red Sox organization for giving me a chance,” he said. “When I got the call from my agent that I had a deal from Boston and a chance to make the team, that was great, great news.”

A three-time All-Star with 329 career saves, Cordero said he “felt great” throwing in the bullpen.

“I’m pretty healthy right now. My arm is good. I feel like one of those young guys when you first get invited to spring training,” he said.

Cordero said his comeback is not about money, it’s more a desire to continue playing. The Sox have offered no guarantees beyond $1 million if he makes the team. Cordero’s contract contains no opt-out clause, although the Sox would likely grant Cordero his release if and another team offers a major-league roster spot.

Cordero said he would consider pitching in the minors if the Red Sox requested it.

“I’m not going to say no. I love this game and I want to pitch,” he said.

Also:

• Jake Peavy (right index finger) warmed up and threw some pitches from flat ground. But he did not throw in the bullpen. John Farrell said Peavy should be fully cleared soon.

• A.J. Pierzynski (left ankle) was not allowed to catch in the bullpen, much to his displeasure. "I fought them on it. But I understand it," he said.

• David Ortiz drew a crowd to his batting practice session. But the real shots were hit by Jonny Gomes, who has been hitting for weeks in Arizona.

• David Ortiz’s agent, Fernando Cuza, was waiting outside the clubhouse when his client was finished working out.

Cuza said it was merely a social call to touch base with Ortiz, something he does every year. But Cuza plans to stay around for a few days to speak to Red Sox principal owner John Henry.

Cuza said he has not yet engaged in any discussions with the Red Sox about an extension for Ortiz, who is signed though the end of the coming season. But he is prepared for that to happen.

“There is something to talk about. We’ll see what happens,” Cuza said.

Ortiz drew a large crowd to watch him take batting practice on Field 1. He launched several balls over the chain-link Green Monster, then retreated to the outfield.

Holding a bat, Ortiz stood in center field bantering with a group of teammates. When the workout ended, he signed autographs for fans along the backstop. One signature was on a champagne bottle.

• Farrell said Ryan Lavarnway has come along well at first base and could get in some games there.

With a soundtrack, Big Papi reports to camp

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 18, 2014 09:12 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — As reporters entered the Red Sox clubhouse this morning, there was some old-school hip-hop music being played for the first time this spring.

Welcome to spring training, David Ortiz.

Big Papi was too busy getting ready to take the field to speak to the media beyond saying hello. But Shane Victorino entertained questions for a few minutes.

The postseason masher — how big were those home runs? — is still getting over surgery on his right thumb on Dec. 16. He has been taking only dry swings so far.

"We'll go slow and ramp it up. It'll be fine," said Victorino, who otherwise looked to be in excellent shape.

John Farrell said earlier this winter that he expected Victorino to return to switch hitting this season. But Victorino was coy when asked. "You'll have to see," he said with a smile.

We'll have more from Shane later on. A few other notes:

• A clean-shaven Jonny Gomes reported to camp. He looks about 10 years younger. Jim Davis has been instructed to grab a photo.

• Francisco Cordero is in camp and scheduled to throw in the bullpen.

• John Lackey, Jon Lester, Jake Peavy, and Clay Buchholz are scheduled to throw in the bullpen. We'll see if Peavy actually does.

Koji Uehara, Junichi Tazawa, and Andrew Miller also will throw.

• Rich Gedman is one of the minor league coaches helping out the big league staff. He's working with the catchers.

Good morning from Fort Myers

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 18, 2014 07:58 AM

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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Position players officially report today to Red Sox camp, which should mean the arrival of David Ortiz, a clean-shaven Jonny Gomes and Shane Victorino. The volume will definitely go up in the clubhouse.

The pitchers and catchers will have their second official workout today. The position players are scheduled for physicals on Wednesday and the first full-squad workout will be Thursday.

A few random thoughts from the last few days:

• The Sox are being very careful to manage expectations for Grady Sizemore. He's getting plenty of work done in the training room to be able to take the field, but nobody is sure how he'll be able to tolerate the work on the field. His knees are the primary issue.

• Henry Owens (6-6), Anthony Ranaudo (6-7), and Matt Barnes (6-4) look like a small college frontcourt. Kudos to Ranaudo, whe re-enrolled at LSU after the season at the urging of his mom and is on his way to finishing his degree.

• Being in camp and around people like Jason Varitek is going to be a great experience for 21-year-old Blake Swihart. When Varitek talks, Swihart hangs on every word.

OK, time to head for the clubhouse. Check back for more later.

Photo of the day from Red Sox camp

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 17, 2014 05:01 PM

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Koji Uehara give a tug on Mike Napoli's beard during Monday's workout.(Jim Davis/Globe Staff)

Tiant hopes to help out Hinojosa

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 17, 2014 04:48 PM

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Red Sox greats Jim Rice and Luis Tiant watch Monday's workout. (Peter Abraham/Globe Staff)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — A few notes from Red Sox camp:

• Red Sox legend Luis Tiant is one of the greatest players to come from Cuba. That could make him a bit of a mentor for 28-year-old righthander Dalier Hinojosa, a Cuban in camp on a minor league contract.

Hinojosa is from Isla de la Juventud in Cuba, a few hours from where Tiant grew up.

“He’s a good kid,” said Tiant, who at 73 thinks everybody is a kid. “We had a little talk and we’ll talk some more. I told him I would go watch him throw.”

Hinojosa will work initially as a starter but could contribute most as a reliever in the majors. He defected a year ago after pitching in the Cuban National League for Guantanamo.

• The Red Sox drew a crowd of 1,400 to their first workout. The crowd last season on the same day was 370.

• A.J Pierzynski twisted his left ankle and skipped some conditioning drills after the workout. Farrell said the team’s plans are for Pierzynski to start 100-110 games with David Ross picking up the rest. “It’s an estimate. That’s the breakdown we saw,” the manager said. “That’s a general estimate.”

• Jake Peavy was scheduled to see a specialist for his bruised right hand before he is cleared to throw. Peavy, who was injured over the weekend, feels improved. “We just want to make sure everything checks out fine,” Farrell said.

• Veteran reliever Francisco Cordero, who was signed to a minor league contract on Sunday, can earn $1 million if he makes the major league team. Cordero could be on the field as soon as Tuesday once he passes his physical.

• Farrell mentioned that Grady Sizemore also would play left field along with center during spring training. There are signs that the Sox may ultimately see Sizemore as more of a reserve outfielder if he makes the team, at least initially.

• Lefthander Rich Hill, who is attending to a family issue, has yet to arrive in camp. The same is true of lefthander Jose Mijares, who is having visa problems leaving Venezuela.

• Jackie Bradley Jr. signed about 100 autographs outside of Field 1 after getting done with his workout.

See the Globe or BostonGlobe.com on Tuesday for pieces on Jon Lester, Brandon Workman and Bryce Brentz.

Red Sox camp report for Feb. 17

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 17, 2014 04:39 PM

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for red sox spring logo .jpgTODAY’S WEATHER: It was 61 degrees and sunny when the workout started and 75 when the players were finished.

MEDICAL REPORT: RHP Jake Peavy (right right finger) was not allowed to throw overhand in drills. … The Sox are holding LHP Craig Breslow back from throwing to because of the heavy workload he had last season after overcoming a shoulder strain in spring training.

FUNDAMENTALLY SPEAKING: The pitchers did their usual fielding drills. They fielded comebackers and bunts and worked on covering first base. The position players, who don’t have their first official workout until Thursday, were on Fields 1 and 2 taking batting practice. The infielders also went through drills. The batting practice sessions drew a lot of fans.

THUMBS UP: OF Grady Sizemore, who arrived last week, is responding well so far according to John Farrell, who cautioned there’s been no “heavy lifting” yet. … LHP Felix Doubront looked strong in the bullpen.

THUMBS DOWN: The three primary starting pitchers — Clay Buchholz, John Lackey and Jon Lester — flubbed a few of the comebackers before they settled in. "It's all kind of nonsense but you have to do it," Lester said.

AROUND THE BASES: Sox legends Jim Rice and Luis Tiant were in uniform and watching the workout. … Jason Varitek, a special assistant to GM Ben Cherington, was one of the coaches talking to the pitchers about strategies to hold base runners. … Ryan Dempster’s locker was empty outside of a small stack of mail the day after he left the team.

SCHEDULE: The Sox will be back on the field at 10 a.m. on Tuesday. Position players also will officially report.

Lester to Red Sox: Let's make a deal

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 17, 2014 02:31 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Jon Lester said Monday the Red Sox have not yet opened negotiations on a contract extension with his agents. But he hopes that day is coming.

"We haven't sat down. I think there's going to be a time and a place for that," Lester said. "But that's not really something I'm concerned about right now. I need to worry about getting for the season physically."

Lester doesn't have a timetable. He's open to most anything.

"If it's something we do get done in spring training, great If it's not, I think you have to take everything as it comes," he said. "If that involves going through the season still talking or getting it done early, you have to play it by ear."

Lester said in January that he wanted to stay with the Red Sox and was willing to sign for less than he could get on the free-agent market. That hasn't changed.

"I'm not going to go back on what I said," Lester said. "I said what I said from the heart and I mean it. We'll see where it goes from there. We've still got a long way to go. It's going to be a tough process."

Agents Sam and Seth Levinson were instructed by Lester not to call him unless there was something to report.

Red Sox hit the field in the Fort

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 17, 2014 09:31 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox just took the field at Fenway South and there were cheers from the few hundreds fans present. It's 61 degrees and sunny.

ESPN, Fox Sports, the New York Times and Yahoo! Sports all have representatives here, too. That wasn't the case at this time last year when the low-expectation Red Sox took the field.

A few notes:

• The Red Sox do not face the Mets in spring training, which is a shame for the Cecchini family of Lake Charles, La.

Garin Cecchini is a 22-year-old third baseman in Red Sox camp and Gavin Cecchini is a 20-year-old shortstop for the Mets. The brothers have never played against each other.

"That would be something," Garin Cecchini said. "We haven't been on the same field together in four years."

Their father, Glenn Cecchini, had coached Barbe High in Lake Charles since 1986. Barbe was 36-4 last season and has a team stocked with Division I prospects.

• Brandon Workman didn't view the departure of Ryan Dempster as necessarily opening any doors for him. "I have to pitch well no matter what role I have," he said. "I'm not going to change the approach I have."

Back with much more later on.

Good morning from Fort Myers

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 17, 2014 07:34 AM

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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Spring training starts in earnest this morning as the Red Sox pitchers and catchers have their first official workout.

It'll be the usual stuff: covering first base, handling comebackers and controlling the running game. Plus a group of 13 pitchers will throw bullpen sessions.

The position players who reported early will be on the field, too. But their first official workout is not until Thursday.

Links to our Red Sox coverage in the Globe today:

Ryan Dempster left the Red Sox on Sunday and won't pitch in 2014.

Nick Cafardo writes that the Red Sox can find ways to replace Dempster and now have some money to spend.

Dan Shaughnessy writes that Dustin Pedroia is ready to go.

The notebook has the Red Sox giving a shot to Francisco Cordero.

Check back later for more and make sure you're following @PeteAbe on Twitter for reports from the field.

First workout set for Monday morning

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 16, 2014 05:28 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox will be on the field at 10 a.m. on Monday. Some information for fans in the area via the Sox:

• Fans may enter the complex through the west gate beginning at 9 a.m.

• Tours of JetBlue Park are also available from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for $6. Tickets for tours may be purchased from the JetBlue Park box office.

• Concessions and merchandise will be on sale during the workouts.

• The team’s first full-squad workout is scheduled for Thursday.

• All practices from Feb. 15-26 will take place at the Fenway South Player Development Complex, located at 11500 Fenway South Drive in Fort Myers. On most days, the workouts will begin at approximately 9:30 a.m.

• Spring training games begin at JetBlue Park on Feb. 27 with a college double header at 1:05 p.m. against Northeastern followed by Boston College.

Red Sox add Cordero; Wright sidelined

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 16, 2014 05:14 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Francisco Cordero, a three-time All-Star making a comeback at the age of 38, has signed a minor-league contract with the Red Sox and was invited to spring training.

Cordero is expected to arrive here on Monday for a physical.

The righthander has not pitched in the major leagues since 2012, when he was with Toronto and Houston and compiled a lofty 7.55 earned run average in 47 appearances. Cordero allowed 61 hits and 18 walks over 39.1 innings that season. Nine of the hits were home runs.

Sox manager John Farrell was with the Blue Jays at the time.

“This is a guy that’s got a lot of experience back end [of the bullpen]. Have personal familiarity with him when he was in Toronto,” Farrell said. “Given some of the numbers in camp, there’s been nothing guaranteed to Coco but a chance to come in and demonstrate what he still has.”

Cordero has 329 career saves with six teams, good for 13th all time. He made his debut with the Tigers in 1999.

Cordero joins a large group of relievers competing for what may be only one open spot in the Red Sox bullpen.

Also:

• Righthander Steven Wright, a knuckleballer who made four appearances with the Red Sox last season, had hernia surgery late last month and is not expected to pitch again until sometime in May. Wright will report to spring training later this week, Farrell said.

• After a brief team meeting, the Sox will be on the field at 10 a.m. Monday for their first official workout involving pitchers and catchers. Those scheduled to throw in the bullpen include Felix Doubront, Allen Webster, Henry Owens, Brandon Workman, Rubby De La Rosa and Matt Barnes.

• Outfielder/first baseman Mike Carp reported to camp. The only notable position players yet to report are David Ortiz, Shane Victorino and Jonny Gomes.

• Dustin Pedroia reported to camp with longer hair that he had slicked back. He called it his “Pat Riley look.”

What Dempster's decision means for the Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 16, 2014 03:27 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Ryan Dempster will be missed by his teammates. But let's look at the pragmatic consequences of his decision to leave the team:

• John Farrell said there was no longer any competition for the rotation. The Red Sox will go with Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, John Lackey, Jake Peavy and Felix Doubront. It may not be in that order necessarily, but they're the starters.

Dempster would have been competing with Doubront for a spot.

• Brandon Workman is now the primary depth starter with Allen Webster, Rubby de La Rosa, Drake Britton, Anthony Ranaudo, Matt Barnes and Henry Owens following.

"We've got a very good young group of, we feel, strong prospects," manager John Farrell said. "While they're long on talent, they're short on experience. But we feel confident with the talent that's here."

• Dempster leaving, realistically, opens a spot in the bullpen. That could be good news for any one of a number of people including De La Rosa, Britton, Rich Hill, Jose Mijares, Alex Wilson and Dalier Hinojosa.

• Once Dempster goes on the restricted list and is taken off the roster, the Sox will have $13.25 million to use they didn't have before. They were up against the $189 luxury tax threshold with Dempster and now have ample wiggle room.

General manager Ben Cherington passed on this discussion today, saying the focus should be on Dempster. But the Red Sox suddenly have enough money to entertain assorted options. They could:

1. Hold onto the surplus in case a mid-season trade is needed.

2. Sign Stephen Drew.

3. Sign a veteran starter for depth, somebody like Chris Capuano.

There are no signs that the Sox will pursue a free-agent starter like Ubaldo Jimenez or Ervin Santana. They are comfortable with their rotation.

For Dempster, it was time to step back

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 16, 2014 01:10 PM

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Red Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster decided to take 2014 off after considering his health and family. (Jim Davis / Globe Staff)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Ryan Dempster spoke in a strong, clear voice on Sunday when describing why he had decided to step away from baseball after a 16-year career that included a World Series championship with the Red Sox.

It wasn’t until he looked up and noticed a dozen teammates standing on the periphery of his press conference that Dempster became emotional.

“I don’t want to look at them right now,” Dempster said, his voice catching. “It’s awesome, man. They’re a huge support system for me, for each other. We were there for each other.”

Dempster needed them now. The 36-year-old righthander told manager John Farrell about 10 days ago that he was thinking about not pitching this season because physical and family issues had become too burdensome. The decision became final on Sunday.

“I thought long and hard about it and decided this was the best thing,” Dempster said.

“Given where I’m at with my health and how I feel personally, it’s in the best interests of both myself and the organization to not play this year. I don’t feel like I could compete or produce like I’m accustomed to.”

Dempster is walking away from a guaranteed $13.25 million salary and the opportunity to pitch for a contending team.

“It’s tough,” he said. “I’ve been really, really fortunate and super lucky in this game.”

Clay Buchholz was one of the players who watched Dempster speak and then applauded him.

“He’s done so much in this game and has so much respect,” Buchholz said. “This is his time. I was only around for a fraction of his career but I have nothing but good words. We’re going to miss him.”

Dempster was careful not to announce his retirement but made a comeback sound unlikely.

“I’m just looking at the 2014 season and know that I won’t be playing this year,” he said. “If something changes then obviously something changes. I don’t see that changing anywhere in the future but I also don’t want to close the door on that. … If this is the end, what a great way to go out.”

Pragmatically, it’s a loss the Red Sox should easily be able to absorb. Dempster would have been competing for the final spot in the rotation in camp with lefthander Felix Doubront, a younger pitcher with more potential. Dempster was faced with the very real possibility of pitching in relief or being traded.

That was not a factor, Dempster insisted. He’ll miss the competition and camaraderie more.

If Dempster is finished with baseball, he leaves with a record of 132-133, 87 saves and an earned run average of 4.35. Dempster twice made the All-Star team and won 17 games for the Cubs in 2008. He made close to $90 million in his career and earned a reputation for reliability.

Dempster was 8-9 with a 4.57 ERA for the Red Sox last year, making 29 starts before going to the bullpen late in the season. He pitched three games in the playoffs, making his World Series debut in Game 1 against the Cardinals.

Dempster struck out Matt Adams to end that game and likely his career. When the Red Sox won the title, Dempster stayed on the field until close to 4 a.m., throwing batting practice to some beer-soaked friends.

Dempster admitted he started thinking then about whether he would pitch again.

“It’s a weird thought to have,” he said. “You don’t ever expect or understand when it’s going to come. … I’m happy and excited. I’m sad and emotional. But extremely satisfied and confident in my decision and looking forward to the next chapter and the next road life takes me.”

See the Globe tomorrow for much more on Dempster.

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To get a better sense for why Dempster made this decision, check out this Globe story from last season about his daughter.

Breaking: Ryan Dempster to skip this season

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 16, 2014 10:40 AM
Red Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster is going to skip
the 2014 season. (Matt Slocum / AP photo)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Red Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster has decided not to play this season and will be placed on the restricted list. He will not be paid his salary of $13.25 million.

Dempster, 36, was 8-9 with a 4.57 earned run average for the Red Sox last season but was taken out of the rotation for the playoffs. He faced competition to earn a spot in the rotation this year.

The Red Sox were close to the luxury tax threshold prior to this announcement. With the money saved, Stephen Drew could be back in play.

The news came from Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. More to come on this.

Dustin Pedroia reports to Red Sox camp

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 16, 2014 09:49 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Dustin Pedroia arrived at JetBlue Park this morning and took questions from a gaggle of reporters.

The most newsworthy item was that Pedroia's left thumb is feeling good. He tore the ulnar collateral ligament in that thumb on Opening Day last season when he dove into first base against the Yankees.

Pedroia had surgery on Nov. 13 in Scottsdale, Ariz.

"It feels good to have some hand strength back," said Pedroia, who is under no restrictions and took batting practice in the cage after he spoke.

This is a significant development for the Red Sox. Pedroia was an All-Star last season and obviously played a huge role in helping win the World Series. But he had a .415 slugging percentage, the lowest of his career.

Pedroia averaged 16 home runs from 2008-12 but was limited to nine last season. If he can stay healthy, it's reasonable to think he could have a better season than he did last year.

Pedroia said repeating as champions is the hardest task for any team but believes this Red Sox team has the talent to make another run.

Check out the Globe tomorrow for much more on Pedroia.

Good morning from Fort Myers

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 16, 2014 08:13 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox pitchers and catchers will take their physicals today. Their first official workout will be on Monday.

Andrew Miller and the Red Sox avoided arbitration last night, agreeing on a one-year deal worth $1.9 million, which was his projected salary. The Sox have not had a hearing since 2002.

Links to our coverage in the Globe today:

The Red Sox can't wait forever for Stephen Drew according to manager John Farrell.

Dan Shaughnessy writes that the Sox have to avoid the World Series hangover.

Nick Cafardo writes that Koji Uehara checked into camp and everybody was glad to see him.

Here are some photos from camp via the Globe's Jim Davis.

The notebook has Jake Peavy having big plans for his duckboat.

In the Sunday Baseball Notes, Nick ranks the managers 1-30.

Check back later for more.

Crash course: Sox catchers brace for change

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 15, 2014 05:17 PM

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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Major League Baseball has outlawed collisions at the plate. For Red Sox catchers David Ross and A.J. Pierzynski, the rule change will require some adjustments.

“I’m the first to say I don’t like to get run over. We’ll see how it plays out. We’re going to get some coaching on it,” Ross said on Saturday.

Ross was the last player to be involved in a collision, both as a base runner and a catcher. He ran over Detroit’s Alex Avila in the American League Championship Series last season and was run into by Miguel Cabrera.

“This is going to be a little bit of an adjustment for everybody,” said Ross, who said the catchers will have to learn how best to set up when a ball is coming in.

Pierzynski said he was against the rule change, believing that collisions are part of the game regardless of the injury risk.

Pierzynski and Ross expect their relationship to be a fruitful one. But, oddly, they did not speak at all during the offseason.

“I’ve been on teams where if you don’t have a good relationship with the back-up catcher or the other catcher it can be a nightmare,” Pierzynski said. “But Rossy’s great. I’ve known him a little bit. I know a bunch of people that know him and they have nothing but good things to say about him.

“I expect no problems at all. I expect us to have a good relationship. We talked a bunch today and hopefully it’ll just continue to get better.”

A few other notes:

• John Farrell reiterated that Shane Victorino and Daniel Nava are his top choices to bat leadoff. "They're the two candidates that quickly come to mind. We started last year with a certain lineup and things evolved. We fully expect that to take place again this year,” he said.

Farrell would be comfortable with having Victorino and Nava platoon as the leadoff hitter.

"Wouldn't be reluctant to go back and forth as long as they, Daniel and Shane, are well-aware of [it] and be able to anticipate where they'd be in the lineup. It's all about communicating to them,” the manager said.

• In deference to their extra work in October last season, Jon Lester, John Lackey and Clay Buchholz won't pitch until the second turn through the rotation in spring training. They will still get five starts before Opening Day.

Relievers Koji Uehara, Junichi Tazawa, Craig Breslow, and Edward Mujica will be used cautiously in spring training, too.

Uehara, Breslow and Tazawa were leaned on heavily in the postseason. Mujica made a career-high 49 appearances for the Cardinals last season.

• Uehara reported to camp for the first time on Saturday and literally ran onto the field from the clubhouse.

• Farrell on Felix Doubront: “Most importantly, what Felix has done this offseason he’s done a great job of putting himself in better physical condition.”

• Farrell said a lot of emphasis in camp would be on preparing young starters Matt Barnes, Henry Owens and Anthony Ranaudo for roles with the major league team should the need arise. Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster already have some major league experience but that will be the case for them as well.

For Peavy, big plans for the duck boat

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 15, 2014 05:03 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — It was a fun coda to the Red Sox season, pitcher Jake Peavy purchasing the duck boat he rode in during the team’s World Series victory parade.

But Peavy wasn’t simply a wealthy athlete making an impulse buy. He has big plans.

The boat is being shipped off to Texas for an elaborate paint job that will include images of the World Series trophy, the Boston Strong logo and Peavy’s family. It took Peavy several months to find a company that could handle the job.

Jonny Gomes took a shot at painting the duck boat when he visited Peavy over the offseason. But it needs some more work.

“It’s going to be a fine piece of art, a piece of memorabilia when it’s finished,” Peavy said on Saturday.

Once the boat is finished, Peavy says it will play a prominent role at his ranch, Southern Falls, in Alabama. Once he retires, Peavy plans to run summer camps for kids. His large property includes several lakes, a bowling alley, a swimming pool, an arcade, a baseball field and even a faux Western town.

“This is going to be neat piece to have down there to take tours in. It’ll be able to go in the water, obviously,” Peavy said. “We have a plan and a design for the duck boat.

“This thing is so stinking cool, the history behind this thing. This thing served in World War II, so it's got some great history in this country. And the history of me and my family, who rode it.”

So if the Red Sox find a way to repeat as champions, would there be a second boat coming?

“We’ll have to see. It’s going to be hard to top that. I don’t know if I want two of them,” Peavy said.

Farrell: Drew question can't linger

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 15, 2014 12:49 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — There's an open locker in the Red Sox clubhouse at JetBlue Park that belonged to Stephen Drew last season. All it needs is a nameplate and a set of uniforms. Drew's No. 7 also hasn't been issued.

Will that locker be filled? That's the question hanging over the Red Sox with the first full-squad workout coming up on Thursday.

Drew remains a free agent, having rejected a one-year, $14.1 million offer from the Red Sox. That qualifying offer attached draft pick compensation to Drew and has so-far served to limit his appeal on the open market.

The Red Sox value Drew but only on their terms, meaning a short-term deal. Teams like the Mets, Yankees and Pirates could use him but have so far resisted the entreaties of agent Scott Boras.

Sox manager John Farrell said Saturday there has been ongoing dialogue between Boras and general manager Ben Cherington but nothing new to report. Farrell then suggested the Red Sox would have to move on at some point soon out of respect to Xander Bogaerts and Will Middlebrooks.

"The one thing that we don't want is a lingering 'what if' if Stephen is still out there," Farrell said. "In all fairness to our guys, our clubhouse [and] guys that would be affected if he were to be brought in. Certainly I can't speak for Ben in this situation, but I think the more that we know what our team is going to look like, or at least those guys in our clubhouse, it probably settles some of that wondering if another player is going to join us."

If Drew lands elsewhere, Bogaerts would likely start at shortstop for the Red Sox with Middlebrooks at third base. If Drew returns, Bogaerts could shift to third base with Middlebrooks coming off the bench or returning to Triple A Pawtucket.

Farrell said Bogaerts has been told to focus on playing shortstop.

“If that needs to be adjusted, we’ll adjust it at that time. We’re moving forward with the players that are here,” he said.

Middlebrooks is doing all he can to earn his chance. He reported to Florida early and with added-on muscle. He also has been working diligently on his defense and in the gym.

"In talking with Will at length, whether it was throughout the course of the year or having sit-down conversations with him in the offseason, he learned a lot last year," Farrell said. "He was challenged in a few ways. I think through those experiences, he's understanding of what his needs and what his strengths are more readily. That's part of the maturation process of a player.

"The one thing he hasn't lost is his raw abilities and his talent. We feel like what he was two years ago was maybe more representative than what he was a year ago. We feel like there's a very good major league player in there."

Jake Peavy: Injury is 'not a big deal'

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 15, 2014 09:05 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — A few updates from the Red Sox clubhouse:

• Jake Peavy has some irritation on his right finger, but did not have his hand bandaged up as he did on Friday. He said he might take it easy for a few days, but the injury wasn't a big deal.

• Peavy said a lot of the players are "holding out hope" that Stephen Drew will return to the team.

• Jose Mijares, a non-roster lefthander, is not expected to arrive at camp until Monday. Lefthander Rich Hill also could be delayed.

• Peavy was asked a lot of questions about the duckboat he purchased. He's in the process of getting an extensive paint job that will include the World Series trophy and images of his family. The boat will be used at Southern Falls, the ranch Peavy owns in Alabama.

The place has a baseball field, a lake, a bowling alley and just about everything else you can imagine.

Click full entry to watch video of Peavy's comments.

FULL ENTRY

Good morning from Fort Myers

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 15, 2014 07:34 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Pitchers and catchers report today. It's not necessarily the greatest day on the baseball calendar, but it's in the top 10.

The media will be in the Red Sox clubhouse at 8 a.m., so check back later for some notes.

A few links to our Globe stories today:

Dan Shaughnessy writes that we've never been more ready for spring training.

The notebook has Jake Peavy injuring his pitching hand.

Let's go Team USA. Beat those Russians.

Red Sox invite 17 to spring training

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 14, 2014 06:06 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — You've seen most of these names before over the course of the winter. But here is the final list of non-roster invitees to Red Sox spring training.

These are players not on the 40-man roster. They are either prospects from within the organization or veterans signed to minor-league contracts.

They are:

RHP Matt Barnes
OF Corey Brown
RHP Miguel Celestino
RHP John Ely
LHP Rich Hill
RHP Dalier Hinojosa
LHP Tommy Layne
SS Deven Marrero
UTIL Mike McCoy
INF Heiker Meneses
LHP Jose Mijares
LHP Henry Owens
RHP Noe Ramirez
1B Travis Shaw
INF Brandon Snyder
C Blake Swihart
RHP Brayan Villarreal

Red Sox waiting for only a few more players

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 14, 2014 02:48 PM

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Red Sox players at batting practice on Friday. (Jim Davis/Globe Staff)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Pitchers and catchers officially report on Saturday and just about everybody who is supposed to be here is already here.

New catcher A.J. Pierzynski, Texas Rangers equipment bag in hand, arrived on Friday morning. Jake Peavy also made his first appearance.

The only players yet to arrive are Miguel Celestino, Ryan Dempster, Rich Hill, David Ross, Koji Uehara, Brayan Villarreal, and Steven Wright.

Under major league rules, those players simply need to be in the area on Saturday. The Sox will take their physicals on Sunday and have the first official workout on Monday.

A few other notes:

• Peavy left the clubhouse with his right hand encased in quite a complex bandage. His ring finger was wrapped up and his index finger had a foam ring around it separating it from his other fingers.

"It's nothing," said Peavy, who didn't stop for questions as he left the clubhouse. "I'm fine."

Manager John Farrell said Peavy was hit by a ball during the workout and the injury was not serious.

• Letfhanded reliever Andrew Miller remains unsigned with an arbitration hearing scheduled for Tuesday. Miller filed for a $2.15 million salary with the Red Sox countering at $1.55 million.

Miller said he is hopeful of a settlement before the hearing.

Good morning from Fort Myers

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 14, 2014 09:15 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — No sympathy is expected whatsoever, but it's a chilly morning here in the Fort. It's 45! Brrrrr.

The Red Sox have one more day of unofficial workouts before pitchers and catchers officially report tomorrow. Jake Peavy (not in a duckboat) and A.J. Pierzynski arrived this morning.

Check back later for a report.

Our Globe stories today:

Red Sox players have fond memories of Derek Jeter.

The notebook has Felix Doubront reporting to camp feeling confident.

Chris Gasper writes that Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez took different paths.

Red Sox players pay tribute to Jeter

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 13, 2014 06:53 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Daniel Nava was cut from his college team and made it to the major leagues with the Red Sox via a twisting road that included stops in junior college and an independent league.

Yet when he encountered Derek Jeter on the field for the first time in 2010, the Yankees captain knew the story and made it a point to congratulate Nava and him well.

Those are the kind of moments Red Sox players will remember about Jeter, who announced on Wednesday that he would retire at the end of the season.

“That means a lot when it's your first time,” Nava said on Thursday after the Red Sox went through an informal workout at JetBlue Park. “There were a lot of rookies [on the 2010 Red Sox] and they all said the same thing, that he treated them great. That says a lot about the type of guy he is.

“That was a special thing for me. We all know what Derek Jeter means to the game.”

Clay Buchholz has pitched fairly well against Jeter, holding him to six singles in 23 at-bats. But he’ll remember those times they crossed paths in batting practice or in a hallway beneath the stands and Jeter said something complimentary.

“He’s as down to Earth as it gets. For someone to be captain of that team and that franchise for as long as he was there, and being able to keep everything on an even keel and do everything as a professional, it’s something that’s pretty special,” Buchholz said.

“He was always really personable to me. That’s something I’ll never forget. … There wasn’t one person in the game that disliked him in any way.”

For many major league players, Jeter served as a role model both in term of his skill on the field and personality off it. The Yankees dynasty of the late 1990s took place as many of the current players were playing in high school or middle school.

“Growing up, he was the guy you looked at. Just the way he went about his business," first baseman Mike Napoli said. “He played for a big-market team, won five championships, came to the park every day and everything he did seemed to be the right way. The way he handled himself, the way he worked, a leader. It’s sad to see him go.’’

Buchholz, who played plenty of shortstop before he turned to pitching, said Jeter was the player he tried to emulate.

“It was always fun to watch what he would do in a game,” Buchholz said. “The guy has done about as much as you can do in this game. Just a standout player, obviously a first-ballot Hall of Famer.”

See the Globe on Friday for more on the Red Sox and their reaction to Jeter's announcement.

Purposeful winter has Felix Doubront ready for camp

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 13, 2014 01:33 PM

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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Felix Doubront made his first appearance at Red Sox camp on Thursday. But he has been in Florida most of the offseason getting ready.

Doubront said he spent three weeks in Venezuela after the World Series. He then reported to Sarasota for a three-week session with trainers at the IMG facility there. He returned in January for four more weeks.

Doubront said he feels in much better shape that he was at the end of last season. He has thrown off the mound seven times already and will do so again on Friday.

"Everything is great," he said. "I feel a lot stronger and this is going to be a big season for me."

Doubront has been working on making his delivery more efficient and quicker to the plate.

See the Globe on Friday for more on Felix.

In other news:

• Junichi Tazawa made his first appearance in camp.

• Koji Uehara was supposed to arrive on Thursday but was delayed in Baltimore by bad weather. He should arrive soon.

• Across the state in Port St. Lucie, Mets GM Sandy Alderson played down the idea of signing Stephen Drew.

“I said it was unlikely that we would sign another major free agent. I think that’s still the case," he told reporters.

• It was great to see Luis Tiant around JetBlue Park.

Watanabe pitches and draws a crowd

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 13, 2014 01:00 PM


FORT MYERS, Fla. — Pitchers throw in the bullpen every other day in spring training and most of time only a few coaches are paying attention. That changed on Thursday morning when Shunsuke Watanabe took the mound.

The righthander is in minor league camp with the Red Sox. But he's not a normal minor leaguer.

The 37-year-old was 87-82 with a 3.65 earned run average over 12 seasons with the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan and twice pitched in the World Baseball Classic. He also has perhaps the most unusual delivery in the game.

Watanabe pauses three times before dropping down and delivering the ball from just above the top of the mound. The ball travels to the plate moving up, something you almost never see.

Manager John Farrell, bullpen coach Dana Levangie, assistant general manager Mike Hazen and about a dozen players gathered to watch Watanabe throw to Ryan Lavarnway.

"He'll be tough to hit the first time somebody sees him," Lavarnway said. "It wasn't tough to catch because I knew what he was throwing. But the angle is completely different."

Watanabe throws a fastball and sinker with a breaking pitch that looks like a slider. He's working on a changeup.

His fastball didn't look like much but the sinker is a decent pitch. Watanabe was 0-4, 4.62 in six starts last season in Japan, so the Sox aren't expecting much.

Watanabe was guaranteed at least four appearances in spring training games, so he'll get a chance to see what that unusual delivery can do against major league hitters.

Good morning from Fort Myers

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 13, 2014 08:45 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — A line of thunderstorms rolled across Florida on Wednesday night and the fields at JetBlue Park are soaking wet. We'll see to what degree that changes the team's plans to workout today.

The grounds crew is preparing the bullpen, but the hitters might have to work in the cages.

A few links from today's Globe coverage:

Nick Cafardo writes that Derek Jeter was one Yankee you couldn't hate.

Budding Red Sox star Xander Bogaerts is still unsure what position he will play this season.

The notebook has John Farrell and Craig Breslow saying the Red Sox would accept a gay player.

The skies are clearing at the Fort. Check back later for more.

Derek Jeter to retire at the end of the season

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 12, 2014 02:06 PM

Yankees captain Derek Jeter, perhaps the opposing player that Red Sox fans respect the most, announced minutes ago that he will retire at the end of the season.

"I could not be more sure. I know it in my heart. The 2014 season will be my last year playing professional baseball," Jeter wrote in a letter posted to Facebook.

The Yankees finish the regular season on Sept. 28 at Fenway Park. If New York does not qualify for the postseason, that could be Jeter's final game.

Jeter, who turns 40 in June, is entering his 20th season with the Yankees. He has 3,316 career hits and has played in a remarkable 158 postseason games, leading the Yankees to five championships.

Jeter is a 13-time All-Star and is likely to be a first-ballot selection to the Hall of Fame. But he played only 17 games last season because of injuries.

“In the 21-plus years in which I have served as commissioner, Major League Baseball has had no finer ambassador than Derek Jeter," Bud Selig said in a statement. "Since his championship rookie season of 1996, Derek has represented all the best of the national pastime on and off the field. He is one of the most accomplished and memorable players of his – or any – era.

"Derek is the kind of person that generations have emulated proudly, and he remains an exemplary face of our sport. Major League Baseball looks forward to celebrating his remarkable career throughout the 2014 season.”

Said Yankees manager Joe Girardi: “Derek Jeter has been a great representative of what the Yankees have stood for over the years. He has been a team player who has only cared about winning. He has also been a fine example both on and off the field over his long tenure as a Yankee. It has been a real pleasure to manage him and play alongside him.”

MLB Players Association director Tony Clark also had praise for Jeter.

“For nearly 20 years, there has been no greater ambassador to the game of baseball than Derek Jeter. Day in and day out, on the world’s greatest stage, and through the peaks and valleys of a 162-game schedule, Derek consistently demonstrates awe-inspiring levels of passion, determination and excellence," Clark said.

“I had the pleasure of playing against and with Derek. As his teammate in 2004, I had the privilege of seeing his leadership and professionalism manifest itself daily. A champion on and off the field, Derek’s impact cannot be understated."

Registration begins for Opening Day tickets

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 12, 2014 01:31 PM

Registration for the opportunity to purchase Opening Day, Red Sox-Yankees tickets, and Right Field Roof Deck seats at Fenway Park started at noon today.

You can register at redsox.com.

The opportunity to register will run from noon today through noon on the day of each drawing. Two separate random drawings will take place. There is no fee to register, and fans can register for both drawings at once. The Red Sox will limit purchases to four tickets per customer per drawing.

A few dates to remember:

OPENING DAY, YANKEES GAMES TICKET DRAWING
Registration period ends: Noon, Feb. 17.

Winners notified via email: Feb. 1.

On-line purchase for drawing winners: Noon – 9 p.m. Feb. 22

RIGHT FIELD ROOF DECK TICKET DRAWING
Registration period ends: Noon Feb. 24.

Winners notified via email with instructions how to participate: Feb. 26.

On-line purchase for drawing winners: Noon – 9 p.m. March 1.

SCHEDULE FOR PHONE SALES
For fans who do not have internet access, or those not selected in the random online drawings, tickets will be sold by phone at (877) RED-SOX9 for each of the three categories according to the following schedule:

Yankees games and Opening Day: Starts 2 p.m. Feb. 22
Right field roof deck: Starts 2 p.m. March 1

The phone sales for accessible seats will begin at 10 a.m. on each of the days listed above.

Green Monster tickets are not included as part of this year’s random drawing. Information on how to purchase Green Monster tickets will be announced in the coming weeks.

Quick report on the Red Sox workout

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 12, 2014 11:16 AM


Mike Napoli taking batting practice.


FORT MYERS, Fla. — A few quick Red Sox notes:

• The Red Sox split up their position positions today, using two fields to accommodate all the early arrivals.

• The vaunted Red Sox equipment truck pulled in last night and was unloaded this morning. You can't imagine the excitement.

• Team execs Mike Hazen and Jared Porter have arrived along with advance scout Steve Langone.

• Infield coach Brian Butterfield has school back in session. He's been working before and after practice with Xander Bogaerts and Will Middlebrooks.

Bogaerts missed a month of camp last year because of the WBC. He will benefit greatly from being around Butterfield all spring. Bogaerts took some grounders at third base last week but he's been exclusively at shortstop since.

Back later with more.

Red Sox spring training coverage plans

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 12, 2014 09:30 AM

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FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Globe and NESN have you covered for spring training.

Extra Bases will have multiple posts daily on the news out of JetBlue Park and beyond. Get the Globe or go to BostonGlobe.com every day for a complete report.

We'll be at every workout and every game.

Boston.com's Spring Training Today video will begin an every-day run on Feb. 15 and that will continue through Feb. 28 as the Red Sox prepare for the Grapefruit League schedule. BDC's live blog will have updates, photos, and video from Steve Silva and other contributors.

Boston Sports Live on Boston.com (Monday-Wednesday-Thursday at noon) will have regular segments from Fort Myers starting on Feb. 17.

Globe 10.0 will be hosted by Dan Shaughnessy from Fort Myers starting later this month. We'll also have live video chats once a week with Red Sox beat writer Pete Abraham and national baseball writer Nick Cafardo.

Follow our writers and columnists on Twitter, too:

@PeteAbe

@nickcafardo

@dan_shaughnessy

@cgasper

Follow @GlobeSox for all our links and breaking news.

Here is the spring training television schedule. There is a chance MLB Network could pick up some games.

NESN
March 2: Orioles
March 8: at Orioles
March 9: at Pirates
March 10: Rays
March 15: Phillies
March 16: at Rays
March 19 Pirates
March 20: Yankees
March 22: at Braves
March 23: Rays
March 25: at Rays
March 28: at Twins

ESPN
March 17: Cardinals
March 18: at Yankees
March 20: Yankees

NESN also will have 11 consecutive days of Red Sox Live from JetBlue Park starting on Feb. 16. The show will run from 6-7 p.m. with Tim Caron hosting.

NESN Sports Today will have reports from Florida starting Feb. 14.

For Mike Napoli, a much different spring training

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 11, 2014 03:17 PM

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FORT MYER, Fla. — Let’s start with what you really want to know. Yes, Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli still has his beard, although it’s neatly styled compared to the wooly mammoth he ended last season with.

Most of his teammates shaved once the World Series ended, but Napoli decided to stick with his look, which is reminiscent of a Civil War general.

“I like it,” Napoli said on Tuesday after a busy first day at spring training. “I did trim it up so it’s not getting all crazy.”

Napoli took grounders at first base, joined a group for batting practice, then did a series of agility drills with strength and conditioning coach Pat Sandora before pulling up a chair outside the clubhouse and talking to a small group of reporters.

That Napoli was able to work so hard on the first day was far different than last season. The first baseman arrived in camp in 2013 only eight weeks after learning he had a degenerative hip condition.

The Red Sox were cautious with Napoli, holding him out of most workouts early in camp and limiting how much he ran. It wasn’t until the season started, when Napoli drove in 27 runs in April, that his health concerns were put aside.

“Last year I couldn’t run, I couldn’t really do a lot of impact stuff,” he said. “The condition I had, I didn’t even know I had. I had to take precautions. But there’s nothing holding me back this year.”

Check out the Globe on Tuesday for much more from Napoli, including why he wanted to stay in Boston and the fun he had reliving the World Series title.

A few notes:

• None of the players face any health-related restrictions, according to manager John Farrell. The only exception could be Shane Victorino, who is recovering from surgery on his right thumb in December.

• Mets general manager Sandy Alderson, appearing on WFAN in New York, said signing Stephen Drew is a possibility. “I think the answer is yes, under the right circumstances,” he said. “It’s going to have to be on terms that are mutually agreeable.”

• Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling, who recently announced he had cancer, had surgery on Monday and is recovering, according to Twitter messages posted by two of his children. Schilling has not said what type of cancer he has or what the prognosis is.

Red Sox drawing a big crowd early

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 11, 2014 10:57 AM

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FORT MYERS, Fla. — As of this morning, there are 36 players (out of 58) already in Red Sox camp. Pitchers and catchers don't officially report until Saturday.

Mike Napoli, complete with beard, is here and went through a busy day. He took a few grounders and batting practice before going out to the conditioning field to work on some agility drills with strength and conditioning coach Pat Sandora.

Xander Bogaerts and Will Middlebrooks were on the field early, taking grounders. Other recent arrivals include Allen Webster, Brock Holt and Brandon Snyder.

Napoli spoke to reporters after his workout. Check back later for that.

Clay Buchholz on his health: 'I feel like I can do just about anything'

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 10, 2014 05:54 PM

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FORT MYERS, Fla. — If you were hoping Clay Buchholz showed up at spring training having packed on 20 pounds of muscle, forget it. He's 180 pounds, just like always.

Buchholz, at age 29, is comfortable pitching at that weight and is done trying to change his body. The question is learning best how to prepare his arm to pitch a full season. Buchholz has averaged 20 starts the last three seasons, missing approximately 39 starts with assorted ailments.

"This offseason has been a little bit different than in the past, not having the amount of time off," Buchholz said. "In recent years I've gotten to spring training being basically in midseason form as far as [pitching] off the mound. In speaking with the training staff, needed to take a step back from that and make sure that everything was fully recovered and not to push anything to far, too soon. It's a different route than I've gone the last four or five years coming to camp."

Buchholz says he feels strong after building up his arm strength with long toss. The righthander was 9-0 with a 1.71 earned run average in his first 12 starts last season before a seemingly minor shoulder injury turned into a three-month stint on the disabled list. It wasn't until late November that he felt normal.

Buchholz was 3-1, 1.88 in four September starts but pitched only 24 innings in those games and lacked the velocity he showed earlier in the season. His four postseason starts were uneven – he allowed 10 earned runs on 22 hits and eight walks over 20.2 innings.

He lasted only four innings in Game 4 of the World Series despite pitching on seven full days of rest.

"Getting off to a start like that, it's somewhat depressing I wasn't able to follow up," Buchholz said. "But, you know, everything taking place like it did last season, I wouldn't change anything about it. The team picked each other up whenever injuries happened and as a staff, everybody else stayed in stride."

Buchholz counted it as an accomplishment that he took the mound in September and helped the team in the postseason while dealing with the injury.

"I didn't have a choice at that point. It was go out ... obviously not at 100 percent. Playing baseball and getting to that point in the season, in a World Series, you never know how many other times you're going to be able to get to do that," he said. "Personally, that was my outlook on it. I feel like even me being at 80 percent, I could still help the team win in some ways."

Buchholz said he likes the way the Red Sox have rebuilt their farm system, expressing faith in the ability of prospects like Jackie Bradley Jr. and Xander Bogaerts to replace Jacoby Ellsbury and Stephen Drew. He's excited about defending the team's championship and obviously comfortable with John Farrell and the coaching staff.

Buchholz still looks like a college kid. But he is a father of two and a veteran of seven big league seasons. Only a handful of teammates have been with the Red Sox longer.

Is this the year his considerable talent comes together for a full season? Buchholz has the kind of talent that could produce a Cy Young Award.

"I feel like if the heath stuff can string together for a couple of seasons, I feel like I can do just about anything," Buchholz said.

See Nick Cafardo's story in the Globe on Tuesday for more on Buchholz.

Click Full Entry to see video of Buchholz's comments on Monday.

FULL ENTRY

Farrell sees the Red Sox get some work in

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 10, 2014 04:42 PM

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John Farrell and Brian Butterfield watch an informal workout on Monday.

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox were back on the fields behind JetBlue Park on Monday morning for an informal workout.

Manager John Farrell, third base coach Brian Butterfield and assistant hitting coach Victor Rodriguez were keeping an eye on the players along with what seemed to be the entire medical staff.

Newcomers to camp included Ryan Lavarnway, Jonathan Herrera, Garin Cecchini, Christian Vazquez, Craig Breslow, Deven Marrero, and Heiker Meneses.

Things we learned:

• Shunsuke Watanabe, the veteran sidearmer from Japan who is in minor league camp, speaks pretty good English. "See you tomorrow," he cheerily said to a few reporters on his way out.

Watanabe, who is 37, has never pitched in the majors. He seems intent on taking a good shot at it. He met with the trainers on Monday to go over his program and seems to be enjoying working out with prospects who are considerably younger.

• Andrew Miller is getting after it. He's been doing extra strength and agility drills after the on-field workout.

• Daniel Nava looks very comfortable at first base a year after he started playing the position.

• Grady Sizemore took fly balls in center field along with Jackie Bradley Jr.

• The players, coaches and staff members received their World Series shares (a full share was worth $307,322.68) at the end of November or early December.

• Finally, it was weird seeing so many of the players clean shaven. The Sox look like a younger team.

Jonny Gomes trims up, gives back

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 10, 2014 04:29 PM


It was a poignant moment when Red Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes placed the World Series trophy at the finish line of the Boston Marathon during the team’s victory parade on Nov. 2.

For Gomes, it also marked the beginning of what he hopes will be a long-term commitment to wheelchair competitors in the Marathon through a partnership with the Travis Roy Foundation.

“It was such a tragic day when it happened, the bombings, and you think about the people who were killed and injured,” Gomes said during a telephone interview. “I was sitting on a plane brainstorming and wondering what I could do. I want to help people be able to race.”

Gomes will work closely with the Roy Foundation to purchase racing wheelchairs for competitors in need. He started the program with a contribution of his own and is encouraging Sox fans to join him.

Donations can be made online at crowdrise.com/jonnygomes.

Gomes also helped convince one of his endorsers, Phillips Norelco, to contribute $10,000.

Gomes did his research, learning about Roy and the work his foundation does. The former Boston University hockey player was paralyzed from the neck down in 1995 only 11 seconds into his first game with the Terriers.

“I believe in what they’re doing and I jumped on board,” Gomes said. “If there are people who need help getting the equipment for the Marathon, we can do that. It’s a great cause.”

Gomes trimmed his iconic beard as part of a promotion for Phillips Norelco. He hopes that will raise awareness for his latest charitable cause.

“I’ve been fortunate to play in different cities and Boston has been special because of everything that happened to our team last season,” Gomes said. “This is a way I can give back.”

What can Red Sox expect from Grady Sizemore?

Posted by Globe Staff February 9, 2014 04:16 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. – What can we expect from Grady Sizemore?

Not even Grady he knows for sure.

Sizemore, 31, missed two seasons and parts of the last four with a variety of knee and back injuries which have left the former five-tool player, two-time Gold Glove winner, and three-time All-Star wondering just how good he still is.

“Just come in and see where I’m at,” said Sizemore, who will wear No. 38 in his comeback attempt.

Sizemore spent more than five hours at the Red Sox complex at Jet Blue Park Sunday morning working mostly with sports medicine coordinator Dan Dyrek.

“I’m happy to be healthy," Sizemore said. "I’m good to go. There’ll be some things that I’ll be working on this spring trying to get back to 100 percent. I’m in good shape but not necessarily baseball shape, but I’m moving around good. I look forward to getting out there.”

When the Red Sox evaluated Sizemore this winter they felt his speed and explosion were still there after the intricate and serious microfracture knee surgeries he had. He’s had to devote his life to rehabbing, still not knowing whether he’ll be able to make a full recovery or what he'll be able to do as a player now.

All he knows is he’s going to give it his best shot. And if he should stay healthy all season he could earn as much as $6 million.

Sizemore doesn’t really look at being in a competition with Jackie Bradley Jr. for the center field job, or that he could be replacing Jacoby Ellsbury. If those issues eventually arise, Sizemore would be the happiest man on the planet. Right now, he just wants to determine whether he can play again and when.

“We’ll see,” Sizemore said. “Don’t know if I’ll be ready by the first spring training game, which I think is Feb. 28, but it’ll be close. I’ll be right there. I still need some evaluating to do of myself once I get on the field and start the baseball workouts.”

Read more on Sizemore in tomorrow’s Globe.

Also:

• On what was a very quiet day at the camp, new Red Sox setup man Edward Mujica also showed up and threw for a while. The righthanded strike-thrower amassed 37 saves as the Cardinals closer last season before fatigue set in, which cost him his job.

He walked only five batters in 64.2 innings and had an impressive 1.005 WHIP. He also admired the Red Sox from the Cardinals side of the World Series.

“It never crossed my mind to be a Red Sox,” Mujica said. “We did it and I’m excited to be here. I want to throw strikes and get outs in whatever situation they would put me in.”

As for the condition of his right shoulder, he said, “I think I just got a little fatigued. I cant do anything about it. It was their decision not to put me in the game, and to put my numbers into the World Series. I’m 100 percent healthy.”

Mujica also has ties to Sox manager John Farrell from the Cleveland years when Farrell was the farm director. He also knew Torey Lovullo, who was also with the Indians.

“I told my agent that I know a couple of the coaches over there and let’s keep our eye on it,” Mujica said. “I was thrilled when I was able to sign with Boston. They know me well.”

Mujica met with Dyrek Sunday and was told to take it slow.

"We went to the World Series. They don’t want to rush us. But they want to keep an eye on it," he said.

It was a quiet day at the Fort

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 8, 2014 03:37 PM

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FORT MYERS, Fla. — The practice fields behind JetBlue Park were quiet on Saturday and that is expected to be the case on Sunday, too. Rumors of Clay Buchholz throwing in the bullpen proved unfounded.

Drake Britton threw in the bullpen and Brandon Workman checked in. That was the extent of the activity.

Manager John Farrell and third base coach Brian Butterfield arrived in town this afternoon. The way it looks, the Sox will be up and running well before the official start of activities next Saturday.

The Red Sox also finished installing a sign on the batting cage to commemorate their latest World Series title:

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Check out the Sunday Globe for our spring training preview package. Here's a link to Saturday's story on Jackie Bradley Jr.

Truck Day kicks off Spring Training

Posted by Staff February 8, 2014 08:41 AM
Don’t let a grumpy groundhog tell you otherwise, spring is here Red Sox fans, and it officially got underway Saturday morning with the Red Sox' annual Truck Day festivities at Fenway Park.

The tradition, which began in 2003, is an official send-off for the Red Sox equipment truck as it embarks on its 1,480-mile journey down to the Red Sox Spring Training facility in Fort Myers, Fla.

“I think there’s going to be more excitement [this year], if that’s possible,” said John Pope of Lynn. “It’s going to be more exciting.”

John and Tina Pope moved to Lynn from New Orleans last year and were experiencing their first Truck Day in person.

“The fans came back; [John] Farrell did a great job,” Tina said. “[He was] much better than the ‘Game Show Host’ from the year before.”

The Truck Day festivities were not exclusive to Bostonians, as West Warwick’s Courtney Wagaguman and Cranston’s Laurie Desmarais both made the trip up from Rhode Island to take part in the event that marks the unofficial start of Spring Training.
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“I’m diehard: her and I have been to two spring trainings; we come to at least four or five games a year,” Wagugaman said. “We come up here all the time just because we’re huge Red Sox fans.”

“If we can’t get tickets, [we] go to the Yardhouse; have a good time,” Desmarais added. “It’s just so much fun. It’s a blast.”

Despite the subfreezing temperatures, nothing could dampen the spirits of the Fenway Faithful when the first sign of spring was right in front of them.

“We’re in New England; what better thing to get out of bed for?” said Jane Dionne of Peabody. “I’m not cold at all, I’m just happy.”

“It’s a rite of spring; it means baseball is coming, the happiest time of my year. We’re here, we wouldn’t be any place else.”
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The truck, which left Fenway just after 10 a.m., is hauling an assortment of baseball equipment, including over 20,000 baseballs; over 1,000 bats; 20 cases of bubble gum; and 60 cases of sunflower seeds.

Milford native Al Hartz is piloting the truck down the east coast to its destination. This is the 16th straight year that Hartz will drive the 53-foot truck down to Fort Myers.

After the surprising worst-to-first World Series win last season, fans are understandably more optimistic about the Red Sox’ chances this year.

“[They’re going] all the way, all the way,” Dionne predicted. “They are going to be really awesome. We’re going to have a rookie of the year; Grady Sizemore will surprise everybody; and my buddy [Mike] Napoli will be awesome as always. They’re going to go all the way.”

“We’re going all the way again!” said Wagugaman. “2014 baby! Woooo! Going all the way! Number one baby!”

John Pope agreed with the predictions of Dionne and Wagugaman, but Tina wasn’t so sure.

“I don’t know if I’m going to go that far,” she said. “Over 90 wins anyways, and they’re going to make the postseason.”

Follow Jeff Pini on Twitter at @JeffPini

A-Rod drops lawsuits in Biogenesis case

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 7, 2014 04:48 PM

Controversial Yankees star Alex Rodriguez has given up, withdrawing his lawsuits against Major League Baseball, commissioner Bud Selig, and the MLB Players Association to overturn his season-long suspension.

Rodriguez was suspended for 211 games last Aug. 5 for violations of baseball’s drug agreement and labor contract. Arbitrator Fredric Horowitz cut the penalty on Jan. 11 to 162 games plus the 2014 postseason.

The notices of dismissal in the lawsuits were filed Friday in federal court in Manhattan. Rodriguez retains the right to refile, but that seems unlikely based on the swift reaction of the former defendants.

"We have been informed that Alex Rodriguez has reached the prudent decision to end all of the litigation related to the Biogenesis matter," read a statement issued by Major League Baseball. "We believe that Mr. Rodriguez’s actions show his desire to return the focus to the play of our great game on the field and to all of the positive attributes and actions of his fellow Major League Players. We share that desire.”

A statement from the Players Association said: “Alex Rodriguez has done the right thing by withdrawing his lawsuit. His decision to move forward is in everyone's best interest.”

By withdrawing his lawsuits, Rodriguez ensures that he will not have to testify under oath about his actions. He did not testify during his arbitration hearing but has asserted his innocence when not facing the penalty of perjury.

Legal experts were almost unanimous in their belief that Rodriguez stood little chance of having his suspension overturned. He will lose $25 million in salary this season.

Rodriguez, 38, is signed with the Yankees through 2017. Whether the Yankees — or any other team — will want him in 2015 is uncertain.

Red Sox change their road uniforms a bit

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 7, 2014 03:16 PM

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FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox are changing up their road uniforms, going to red letters instead of blue ones. The idea was to be more consistent with the home uniforms according to a team spokesman.

No less an authority than Paul Lukas of Uni Watch reported these will be the road jerseys for 2014. MLB confirmed that a few minutes go.

According to sportslogos.net, the Sox have gone back and forth with this over the years and last wore red letters on the road in 2010.

A bigger Bradley hopes for more power

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 7, 2014 02:05 PM

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Will Middlebrooks, Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. wait their turn to hit on Thursday. Below, Bogaerts takes a swing.(Peter Abraham/Globe Staff)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Jackie Bradley Jr. says he weighs only four more pounds than he did last season. But the center fielder looked different standing in the batting cage on Friday morning.
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Bradley added some muscle to his legs and shoulders during the winter and he hopes that will translate to an increase in power.

"I didn't need to get heavier but I wanted to get stronger. That was something I took out of last year," Bradley said. "I can notice it now when I hit. I think I can drive the ball better than before."

See the Globe on Saturday for more on Bradley and his thoughts about competing with Grady Sizemore.

Also:

• Clay Buchholz arrived in camp this morning and will throw on Saturday.

• The Red Sox took some infield before batting practice. Will Middlebrooks was at third base, Xander Bogaerts at shortstop and Daniel Nava at first. With no second baseman in camp, Bradley fielded throws at the bag from his teammates.

• Counting the minor leaguers, there were 60 players working out today.

• Andrew Miller played catch and then went through a series of strength and agility drills that included skipping rope. His left foot seems to be fully recovered from that fracture seven months ago.

• The Mets are negotiating with Stephen Drew according to several major league sources. Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that a multi-year offer is possible.

• The silliness that is Truck Day is Saturday. According to the Red Sox, the vaunted truck will contain 20,400 baseballs, 1,100 bats, 200 batting gloves, 200 batting helmets, 320 batting practice tops, 160 white game jerseys, 300 pairs of pants, 400 t-shirts, 400 pairs of socks, 20 cases of bubble gum and 60 cases of sunflower seeds.

A permanent Series souvenir for Jonny Gomes

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 7, 2014 01:34 PM

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Via the Twitter feed of Mike Napoli, here's a look at the elaborate tattoo Jonny Gomes received after winning the World Series.

Root for the Sox to repeat if only to see what he does then.

Jonny Gomes partners with Travis Roy Foundation

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 6, 2014 04:01 PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Jonny Gomes has joined up with the Travis Roy Foundation. He hopes to raise money to provide specialized wheelchairs for marathon racers.

Gomes has contributed to the effort and is raising funds on-line.

Gomes also has a deal with Philips Norelco that will involve shaving his beard. Now there's a creative endorsement.

Mike Napoli appears to be the lone beard holdout. Maybe he can get a deal with a chainsaw company.

A few other notes:

• Sox manager John Farrell was in Salt Lake City on Tuesday to speak at a fundraiser for the University of Utah baseball program.

Farrell, a former assistant coach at Oklahoma State, is friendly with Utes coach Bill Kinneberg.

According to Extra Bases informants on hand, Farrell told several stories about the 2013 team, including this gem about Dustin Pedroia.

In April, when the team was in Cleveland, some players went out to dinner and the cab driver was speeding through the streets. Pedroia told the cabbie to slow down.

"Don't you know who you are carrying here?" he said. "We're going to be the 2013 World Series champions."

• The 2004, 2007, and 2013 World Series trophies will be in Connecticut on Sunday, making stops in Waterbury and Hartford.

The trophies will be in Waterbury from 8-9:30 a.m. at the Police Activity League of Waterbury on at 64 Division Street. From 2:30-5:30 p.m., the trophies will be at the XL Center in Hartford, located at 1 Civic Center Plaza. Both stops are open to the public.

Plenty of early arrivals for Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 6, 2014 03:43 PM

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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Pitchers and catchers are not scheduled to report until Feb. 15. But two of the practice fields behind JetBlue Park were loaded with players on Thursday morning and the bullpen was busy.

More than a dozen Red Sox players on the spring training roster are already in camp. The group on Thursday included Jon Lester, Xander Bogaerts, Andrew Miller, Will Middlebrooks, Daniel Nava and Jackie Bradley Jr.

Catching prospect Blake Swihart, 21, is here along with Dan Butler, Alex Hassan, Alex Wilson and Rubby De La Rosa. More arrive every day.

A few notes:

• It was 81 degrees and a little overcast when the players took the field. For a reporter who trekked through snow to get to the airport on Wednesday, it was delightful. But for Bogaerts, it was just another day.

"It's a little cooler than Aruba," he said with a little smile.

• Bradley arrived in Florida on Dec. 28, fresh off his honeymoon. He'll be competing to start in center field with Grady Sizemore. JBJ looked good swinging the bat today.

• Middlebrooks (that's him in the photo) launched a few balls over the fence in batting practice. For now, he is the third baseman but that could change if the Red Sox sign Stephen Drew.

• Wilson threw in the bullpen but not at full force. He had surgery on Oct. 26 in Cleveland to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right thumb. The surgery included the removal of a small bone and insertion of a screw to stabilize the ligament.

Wilson dealt with the injury all of last season, finally succumbing to the disabled list in July. He pitched well as a rookie, making 14 appearances and allowing runs only twice.

• For you numerologists out there, Sizemore will wear No. 38 in camp. That could change once the season starts, though, depending on what is available.

• Bogaerts will wear No. 2 this season, a major step up from No. 72.

A fresh start for Andrew Miller

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 6, 2014 02:22 PM

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FORT MYERS, Fla. — When Andrew Miller finished throwing in the bullpen on Thursday morning, catcher Dan Butler sprang from his crouch and met the pitcher halfway to the mound.

"That was good," Butler said. "Real good."

Miller had a smile showing through his bushy beard as he headed back to the clubhouse. The 28-year-old lefthander is thrilled to be back on the mound after missing the second half of last season with a broken bone in his left foot.

Miller was injured when he came off the mound to back up a play on July 6 at Anaheim. He underwent surgery nine days later and watched the rest of the season with an unwieldy plastic boot on his foot.

Every time the Red Sox celebrated on the field — and there were plenty of those — Miller would gamely hobble out of the dugout to join in. It was hard for him to be a spectator as his team soared to a World Series championship.

"I didn't have much choice. But it was tough not to be able to compete," Miller said. "But I feel great now. Everything is fine."

Miller arrived here on Monday and has no restrictions on throwing. He's also doing agility drills and feels no pain in his foot. The one hurdle left will be fielding drills.

Miller was enjoying the best season of his career prior to the injury. In 37 appearances, he struck out 48 over 30.2 innings, walked 17, and allowed only 25 hits. Miller was unexpectedly more effective against righthanded batters than lefthanders but established himself as a viable late-inning reliever.

The only other concern for Miller at this point is his salary for the coming season. He is arbitration eligible and filed at $2.15 million. The Red Sox countered with an offer of $1.55 million.

Miller said his arbitration hearing is scheduled for Feb. 18. But he expects a resolution before then.

"Compared to most of the others, we're not that far apart," he said.

Curt Schilling announces he has cancer

Posted by Matt Pepin, BostonGlobe.com Staff February 5, 2014 05:50 PM
Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling announced he has been diagnosed with cancer.

“I’ve always believed life is about embracing the gifts and rising up to meet the challenges,” said Schilling in a statement to ESPN. “We’ve been presented with another challenge, as I’ve recently been diagnosed with cancer.”

Schilling recently signed an extension as a broadcaster for ESPN. He played 20 seasons in Major League Baseball, contributing to two Red Sox World Series titles in 2004 and 2007.

ESPN didn’t elaborate on what Schilling will do for the network this upcoming season after being tabbed for its “Sunday Night Baseball” broadcast.

“Our thoughts are with Curt and his family during this challenging time,” an ESPN statement read. “His ESPN teammates wish him continued strength in his cancer fight and we look forward to welcoming him back to our baseball coverage whenever he’s ready.”

FULL ENTRY

Clemens, Garciaparra and Martinez selected to Red Sox Hall of Fame

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 5, 2014 10:16 AM

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Roger Clemens, Nomar Garciaparra, and Pedro Martinez have been selected to the Red Sox Hall of Fame along with longtime radio broadcaster Joe Castiglione.

The players were chosen by a 16-person panel that includes club executives, print and broadcast media members, booster club representatives, and historians. Garciaparra was one of 15 position players under consideration. Clemens and Martinez were among 13 pitchers considered.

Clemens spent 13 seasons with Boston beginning in 1984. He is tied with Cy Young for the most career wins (192) and most career shutouts (38) as a Red Sox, and is the all-time franchise leader in strikeouts (2,590). The Rocket was a three time Cy Young Award winner with the Red Sox and 1986 AL and All-Star MVP.

Clemens had two 20-strikeout no-walk games, in 1986 against Seattle and 1996 in Detroit. He was named to the All-Star Game five times as a Red Sox, including the 1986 game that he started and won. Clemens is second in club history, behind Tim Wakefield, with 382 career games started and 2,776.0 innings pitched.

Garciaparra was with the Red Sox from 1996-2004. He was the 1997 AL Rookie of the Year and a five-time All-Star.

The shortstop has the fourth-best career batting average (.323) and fifth-best slugging percentage (.553) in Red Sox history. He led the AL with 209 hits and 684 at-bats in 1997, the same year he had a 30-game hit streak. Garciaparra tied the club record on May 10, 1999 against Seattle when he hit two grand slams and collected 10 RBI. His .372 average in 2000 is the fourth-highest in club single-season history.

Martinez was a two-time Cy Young Award winner and four-time All-Star in his seven seasons with the Red Sox from 1998-2004. He was a key part of the 2004 team that brought a World Series title to Boston for the first time since 1918. Martinez is the club’s all-time leader with a .760 (117-37) career winning percentage and 72 10-strikeout games. He was named MVP of the 1999 All-Star Game at Fenway Park when he struck out five of the six batters he faced as the American League starter.

300joec.jpgCastiglione has spent 31 seasons as the Red Sox play-by-play announcer. Castiglione became known nationally for his call of the 2004 World Series win as he broadcast the now famous words, “Can you believe it?”

Martinez’s 1999 one-hit, 17-strikeout complete game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium has been selected as the “Great Red Sox Moment,” a memorable moment in Red Sox history that is regarded for its special significance.

The Red Sox Hall of Fame was instituted in 1995.

Red Sox announce personnel moves

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 4, 2014 07:19 PM

The Red Sox announced some personnel changes within the baseball operations department Tuesday:

Tom Tippett was named senior baseball analyst after holding the position of director of baseball information services since November of 2008. Tippett has been affiliated with the Red Sox since 2003.

Greg Rybarczyk was hired as baseball operations analyst. A native of Ayer, Rybarczyk has published several analytical articles for various media outlets, including ESPN.com and Hardball Times. Prior to joining the Red Sox, he consulted for several MLB teams, and operated Hit Tracker, now known as ESPN Home Run Tracker, since 2006.

Dan Dyrek was promoted to director/sports medicine service after serving as coordinator in 2013. Dr. Brian Busconi has been named head minor league physician. Ray Mattfeld has been hired as major league physical therapist.

Paul Buchheit has been promoted to head minor league medical coordinator. Mauricio Elizondo was promoted to Latin American medical coordinator. In addition, he will continue to serve as athletic trainer for the Gulf Coast League Red Sox.

Steve Sanders has been promoted to coordinator/amateur and international scouting. Mike Regan was promoted to coordinator/baseball operations. Shawn O’Rourke has been promoted to coordinator/baseball systems development.

Harrison Slutsky was hired as assistant/advanced scouting.

Tim Collinsworth has been hired as an area scout in north Texas and north Louisiana. He spent the last six seasons scouting for the Brewers.

Jaymie Bane has been promoted to major league scout after serving as a professional scout since 2007. He is the son of Eddie Bane, the club’s special assistant to player personnel.

Les Walrond has been hired as a professional scout. He has 16 years of playing experience, pitching in the majors, Korea, and Japan.

Javier Hernandez has been promoted to assistant director of the Red Sox Dominican Academy. Manuel Padron has been hired as a scout in Venezuela. Rene Saggiadi has been hired as a scout assigned to Europe. Prior to joining the Red Sox, Saggiadi scouted in Europe for the Diamondbacks and Angels.

For David Ortiz, it's motivation via the media

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 4, 2014 11:50 AM

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Motivation comes from different places for all of us. For athletes, it often comes via the media.

Bill Belichick is famous for finding quotes in stories that are even slightly disparaging about the Patriots and making sure his players hear about them. Preseason predictions also make good fodder. The "nobody believes in us" theme works for plenty of coaches or managers regardless of whether it's actually true or not.

So it was no great surprise that David Ortiz posted this message on Twitter yesterday:

Finishing my workout to have another monster season for all those media hater that still doubting!!!

The slightly misspelled tweet included a photograph of a svelte-looking Ortiz at the gym in a sweat-stained shirt.

Ortiz is angry because a number of columnists and radio personalities took him to task after he lobbied for a contract extension in December and again during a television interview in January.

The Globe's Dan Shaughnessy wrote that Ortiz was "tone-deaf, selfish, and offensive."

Back in December, the Herald's Steve Buckley wrote that Ortiz was "like an old vaudeville comic who keeps using the same act in city after city, year after year."

Surely Dan and Buck are on the "media haters" list that Ortiz has in his head. He may even take it out on them for a day or two in spring training, although that never lasts. Ortiz is too gregarious to stay in a foul mood very long.

The funny thing about Ortiz having a Nixonian media enemies list is how well he is treated by the press in Boston. Everybody likes the guy and goodness knows he has given us plenty of exciting things to write about over the years. Ortiz is one of the few athletes you usually get a honest answer from and the "Big Papi" personality is one we cheerfully propagate for the most part.

Can you imagine if Alex Rodriguez stood watching his home runs and jogged slowly around the bases? Or if he dropped a f-bomb on live television? Or if another 38-year-old player asked for a contract extension with $15 million left on his deal?

The Red Sox have made it clear, on numerous occasions, they want Ortiz to retire with the team, so all of his hubbub in the Hub is probably meaningless. But Ortiz is trying to get more guaranteed money out of the team now after seeing some of the contracts doled out this winter. You can disagree with his methods, but he's got a good point given the state of baseball's economy.

Ben Cherington and John Farrell surely loved that tweet. If being mad at Shaughnessy kept Ortiz on the treadmill another 15 minutes, that works for them.

Villarreal remains with Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 3, 2014 02:34 PM

Righthanded reliever Brayan Villarreal cleared waivers Monday and was outrighted to Triple A Pawtucket by the Red Sox. He was invited to major league spring training.

Villarreal was designated for assignment Jan. 22 when the Red Sox signed Grady Sizemore.

Villarreal was obtained from Detroit in July, a spare part in the three-team deal that landed Jake Peavy. In his only appearance with the Red Sox, on Aug. 20 in San Francisco, Villarreal entered the game with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth inning and walked in the winning run on four pitches.

In 35 minor league appearances last season (most with Triple A Toledo), Villarreal had a 2.76 earned run average. He struck out 50 in 42.1 innings but also walked 30.

Red Sox players on the field in Fort Myers

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 3, 2014 10:44 AM

As snow falls here in Boston — yet again — here's some news you may welcome.

Jonny Miller of WBZ Radio is in Fort Myers and reports that Drake Britton, Will Middlebrooks, Jackie Bradley Jr., Alex Hassan, Daniel Nava, and Blake Swihart were among the Red Sox players at JetBlue Park.

It's 79 in the Fort today.

Hang in there, baseball is coming.

Red Sox add Brown to OF depth chart

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff February 1, 2014 09:53 PM

Corey Brown, a supplemental first round draft pick in 2007, has agreed to a minor league contract with the Red Sox and was invited to spring training.

Brown, 28, was drafted by Oakland out of Oklahoma State then traded to the Washington Nationals in 2010. The Nationals sold Brown back to Oakland in December. He was designated for assignment last month then released on Friday after refusing an assignment to Triple A.

Brown played 36 games in the majors for the Nationals from 2011-13, going 7 for 40 (.175) at the plate with a double and a home run. He is a career .267 hitter in the minors with 123 home runs. Brown hit .254/.326/.473 for Triple A Syracuse last season. He had 19 home runs but also struck out 132 times in 389 at-bats.

Brown is primarily a center fielder with some experience on the corners. The Red Sox lack outfield depth in Triple A and Brown will likely compete for time with Pawtucket.

Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston had the news on Brown.

Also:

• RHP Brandon Workman returned to the University of Texas on Saturday and pitched for the alumni team against the Longhorns in an exhibition game. He started and pitched a perfect inning, throwing all seven pitches for strikes.

• LHP Drake Britton posted on Twitter that he had arrived in Fort Myers. Pitchers and catchers officially report on Feb. 15 but players started arriving two weeks ago.

• Ryan Lavarnway will get some work at first base this spring according to colleague Nick Cafardo.

• Infielder David Renfroe, a third-round pick in 2009, has retired according to Single A Salem announcer Evan Lepler.

Renfroe was signed to a $1.4 million bonus. A two-way player in high school, Renfroe was signed as a hitter but posted a career line of .232/.300/.357 with 23 home runs in 1,191 at-bats.

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