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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.

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