FORT MYERS, Fla. — Pitchers and catchers do not officially report until Feb. 12, but plenty of Red Sox beat that deadline.
Andrew Bailey, Daniel Bard, Craig Breslow, Clay Buchholz, Felix Doubront, John Lackey, Jon Lester, Andrew Miller, and Franklin Morales were among those on hand at the team complex this morning.
Bailey, Bard, Lackey, and Lester threw bullpen sessions in what was perfect weather: sunny and 70 degrees.
Two quick observations:
• Bard was throwing free and easy and appeared confident. “Felt good,” he said.
One bullpen session is not much to evaluate, but Bard looked a lot more like he used to. He was throwing from the stretch and letting it fly. Their were no radar runs around, but Bard was throwing the ball well.
• Lackey is thinner than he has been in years. He didn’t pitch last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery but is under no restrictions this spring.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Ryan Lavarnway, Daniel Nava, Juan Carlos Linares, and Dan Butler are the position players who are here.
The Red Sox have not hired a bullpen coach yet. But Chad Epperson, a minor league catching instructor, is working with Salty, Lavarnway, and the rest of the catchers. Epperson filled in for Gary Tuck last season and he appears to be the favorite for the job.
While the coaching position is bullpen coach, it’s a combination of running the bullpen and being a catching instructor.