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Plenty of early arrivals for Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  February 6, 2014 03:43 PM

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middlebrooks .jpg

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.

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