FORT MYERS, Fla. — Red Sox manager John Farrell said base running would be a point of emphasis in spring training.
“From the new terminology that will be implemented to what we expect … there will probably be a greater emphasis on that than maybe what they’ve been exposed to in the past,” Farrell said.
Farrell said the intent is to be to help the players become more aggressive and productive running the bases rather than stealing more bases.
“Outlining what we would look to exploit in certain situations. If there’s a matchup between a pitcher and catcher that we can exploit, what we’ll try and do is put pressure on the defense as far as our first to thirds,” Farrell said.
(It is worth noting that Toronto stole 123 bases last season under Farrell, fifth in the American League. They were caught 41 times, also fifth. The Red Sox stole 97 bases.)
Farrell said having a new third base coach (Brian Butterfield) and a new first base coach (Arnie Beyeler) would require extra time spent on in-game communication.
Some more from Farrell:
• Farrell was asked what he likes about this team.
“The roster is filled with talent. Players that come in new, they come from winning teams, they come from playoff experience,” he said. “I think we’ve got a balanced team. If you just looked at our lineup, there’s speed, there’s power, there’s left/right capability. I think our bullpen is a strength. We know that there’s talent in that rotation, and yet we have to get some guys on track, rebuild some confidence in certain areas.
“But the most important thing is the talent that was brought in, they’re guys that are noted team players and they put the other guy first and the team first maybe than rather their own view of the game. All that being said, the thing that I’d like to put back the focal point is the game. The game on a nightly basis is the most important thing and not the individual things that might lead up to it.”
• With new right fielder Shane Victorino expected to miss three weeks of camp while playing for the United States in the World Baseball Classic, Farrell said it would be a priority to get him on the field with center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury as often as possible. “To me, that’s going to be critical,” Farrell said. “Their understanding of how much range each has and their communication with Shane moving to right field full time, that time that they do have in camp will be critical as far as the reps together.
• Farrell spent a good part of his day in individual meetings with the players. He got through everybody except Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara. Their interpreter is not due in camp until Tuesday. “My Japanese isn’t that good,” said Farrell, who in 2007 took some rudimentary Japanese classes to try and communicate better with Daisuke Matsuzaka.
• Farrell said one of his goals was to improve the tempo at which some of the starters work.
• Farrell was asked how much he is like his old friend Terry Francona. “God, I hope I’m not similar,” he said. “Except for the success that he enjoyed.”
• There are no plans to name a team captain.