FORT MYERS, Fla. — It was another interesting day here at JetBlue Park. Here a few notes and observations for you:
• With Bobby Valentine supervising, Jon Lester worked on improving his move to first base. It was mostly footwork today. If you watched Lester last year, he had did not have a very good move and when he did throw to first, it often was inaccurate.
Lester seemed to either throw the ball too high to the bag or too low. For a lefty, he was far too easy to run on.
“His actual technique is what was being worked on today,” Valentine said. “That would be his ability to disguise to the runner when he’s coming to first and when he’s going home. Today was mainly his bottom half, his leg movement and closing the gap a little.
“He also has a thing about throwing to first, about his confidence in firing it over there. Repetitions hopefully will cure some of those ills and get rid of some of those demons.”
• Josh Beckett told Dan Shaughnessy that the clubhouse alcohol ban was not a big deal to him.
Meanwhile, up the road in Port Charlotte, Rays manager Joe Maddon said his team would continue to serve beer. “We’re not the Boston Red Sox,” he said.
Beckett faced Dustin Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez today. He was working on his changeup and it looked pretty good.
The photo above is of Beckett pitching to Pedroia. That’s Salty catching. As iPhone photos go, that’s some of my best work.
• Valentine likes to talk, whether it’s to other people, himself, or random folks who happen to catch his eye. After he worked with Lester for a while, he walked past me and said, “Peter, we’re not looking for perfection, we’re striving for excellence.”
I need to write all this stuff down and put it in a book at the end of the season. The Wit and Wisdom of Bobby V.
• Andrew Bailey has a sore lat muscle. He would pitch through it if this were the season, but they gave him a few days off. He was injured being tested for his vertical jump. Because it’s important to know how high pitchers can jump, apparently.
• A woman in a wheelchair yelled to Pedroia that it was her 80th birthday “Congrats,” he replied. “I won’t make it that far.”
• Jacoby Ellsbury met with reporters after the workout. More on that later. He said that while he loves playing in Boston, he would leave contract extension talks to agent Scott Boras.