Greetings from Fenway Park, where Larry Lucchino, Sam Kennedy, Theo Epstein and Terry Francona greeted six fans who won tickets during the Red Sox Road Trip.
The GM and manager also spoke to a small group of reporters on hand.
The biggest news was that the spring training roster is pretty much set. Outside of a waiver claim or perhaps a minor league deal, the Sox have the group they want. Francona and his coaches have put the players in groups and scheduled all the drills.
Epstein would like to improve the starter depth in AAA. But the free agents out there right now are still looking for major league opportunities.
Theo also said that Adrian Gonzalez is on schedule in terms of his rehab and remains on target for playing in mid March.
One change this spring will be how the pitchers prepare defensively. The Red Sox have tried to control how often the pitchers throw in spring training, even during defensive drills. That makes sense in terms of preventing injuries, but last year it may have contributed to Red Sox pitchers committing 21 errors and routinely botching up bunt plays.
According to Francona, they’ll have the pitchers throw full-speed on drills after throwing sessions. The hope is that once they’re warmed up from pitching, the strain on their arms will be less.
Theo is headed down to Fort Myers late next week. Francona will drive down a day or two after the Super Bowl. Yes, he drives down.
“My wife thinks I’m nuts,” he said.
Can’t disagree with that. But Francona extolled the virtues of stopping at South of the Border (in South Carolina) for a taco. Hey, whatever works.