JUPITER, Fla. — John Farrell’s pregame press conference touched on the progress of Clay Buchholz, David Ortiz, Felix Doubront and Mike Napoli, his upcoming trip to Dunedin where he’ll face the music from the Toronto media, and the issue of third base depth.
Here are some of the highlights:
• Napoli ran the bases today in Fort Myers and Farrell still projects him getting into a real game later this week.
• Buchholz will throw a simulated game Tuesday (35 pitches, two innings), throw a light side session on Thursday and be ready for a real game start next Saturday.
“Even with this plan Clay will get six appearances and be on track for the normal projection for that 95-pitch target we want to get to,” Farrell said.
• Felix Doubront, a little lighter in the tummy, will throw live BP Monday and Wednesday, and if all goes well, Farrell projects a start next Monday. He said Craig Breslow, also slowed by a sore left arm, is “more symptom-free, but he has more strength gains to make before we implement a throwing program for him.”
• On Jon Lester’s delivery: “The delivery you see now is like he was before. The lead leg was like a swinging gate, collapse on the backside, lost that downward plane. He’s made some tangible adjustments in camp. They started late last season.”
Farrell said Lester’s loss in velocity the past two years could be because of those mechanics or “it could be he’s logged 1,000 innings the last five years and there’s going to be a natural effect.”
On the mechanics, Farrell said because they were off it affected getting “late action in the strike zone and causes his cutter to be tracked longer in the zone. The flight of the fastball is more flat.” Farrell said Lester still has plenty of velocity.
• Farrell did a lot of shifting on Toronto last year and plans to do some with Boston. “Yes we will shift, but to what extent, we’re going to get a better read. We felt we had the ability to move (third baseman Brett) Lawrie around more freely. We’d like to put the third baseman on the (shortstop) hole side against lefthanded hitters.”
Farrell said he has to gauge how effective Will Middlebrooks would be in that situation. Lawrie may have the best range of any third baseman in the league.
• On why he’s going to his old stomping grounds in Dunedin rather than Port Charlotte for tomorrow’s split squad game against the Jays and Rays. “I’m looking forward to seeing (Steven) Wright and (Allen) Webster. My focus is on our team and players. We still have decisions to be made.”
Farrell said both Wright and Webster are major depth starters for the Sox this season.
The obvious storyline is Farrell returns to see his old players with the Blue Jays. “You mean I couldn’t wait to get to Dunedin?” he quipped. When told about his “history” with the Jays he said, “I’m thankful for that history, extremely grateful for the opportunity, but that’s not swaying or influencing where I go. It’s our players first.”
• Farrell said David Ortiz is about a week behind Napoli as far as game time. He’ll get swings in BP and if he needs more swings he can take some minor league game at-bats. Newly acquired Mike Carp will play in one of the games Monday as competition between Carp, Lyle Overbay, and Daniel Nava for the hybrid first base/outfield backup job begins.
• Asked if there’s one position where he’s concerned about depth, Farrell said third base.
“The depth there might not be as readily clear as others. We have to take a look at some guys over there. You’ll see Brock Holt over there. That prototypical guy is not clear cut. It would be great to have two or three deep at every position, wishful thinking. (Pedro) Ciriaco did a great job when he stepped in for Will last year and he made the most of an opportunity. He’s a valuable guy to have on a team.”