Extra Bases

Random spring training thoughts

A few jottings from the back page of the notebook so far this spring training …

* For a guy who signed for $82.5 million and has pitched brilliantly so far, John Lackey has kept a low profile throughout camp and gone about his business almost unnoticed. He, Josh Beckett and Jon Lester have become friends quickly.

* Mike Cameron got a kick out of a radio reporter asking him last week if he could “handle the pressure of playing in Boston.” This is a guy who replaced Ken Griffey Jr. in center field in Seattlle, spent two years playing in New York and nearly lost the sight in his right eye when he collided with Carlos Beltran in 2005. He’ll be fine.

* Most players have three or four gloves, a few for practice and one or two “gamers.” But Jose Iglesias has one glove. He gets a new one every year, breaks it in during spring training and uses it for everything. “This is my work,” he said. “I only want one so I get to know it.” Iglesias also has discovered the wonders of the Apple Store and loves his iPhone.

* Michael Bowden has cleaned up his delivery and regained his confidence after those shaky outings he had in the majors last season. Whether it’s as a starter or a reliever, he’s going to help the Sox this year.

* Cameron on Lester: “You don’t realize how damn big he is until you stand next to him. He’s a horse.”

* If MLB Network or NESN wants a ratings winner, it needs only to wire up Dustin Pedroia and follow him around for a day. He’s the Don Rickles of baseball.


* Did not realize this until I read it somewhere the other day: Jason Varitek, Derek Jeter, Carlos Pena and Paul Konerko are the only team captains in baseball.

* Outside of maybe Dave Duncan in St. Louis, there is not a pitching coach in baseball with more responsibility and organizational juice than John Farrell. He’s the next manager whenever Terry Francona decides he’s had enough.

* That said, Francona seems to enjoy his job and exudes an aura of comfort and confidence. He and Theo Epstein work well together.

* Sorry to be cynical, but would Nomar Garciaparra have wanted that one-day contract with the Sox and all the publicity that came with it if he wasn’t getting a new job at ESPN? The suits in Bristol may have been behind that unexpected move.

* Nomar and Mia Hamm have 2-year-old twin daughters. Given their genes, shouldn’t some college offer then full scholarships right now and let them pick a sport later?

* Marco Scutaro will win the fans over by May 1 and everybody who whined about giving up Alex Gonzalez will realize how misguided they were.

* Adrian Beltre takes 100 grounders every day during practice and plays balls off the bat at the same time. He looks like a hockey goalie in a shootout.

* Lots of people are comparing Ryan Kalish to Trot Nixon.

* As somebody who grew up in New Bedford and tried to beat my father to the Globe sports section every morning, getting to be around Peter Gammons, Bob Ryan and Dan Shaughnessy this spring has been a thrill. It’s astonishing how much they know about baseball.


* Young RHP Kyle Weiland is an interesting prospect. He was a closer at Notre Dame but the Sox like him as a starter. It’s usually the other way around. He has 180 strikeouts in 192.2 minor-league innings.

* Daniel Bard was popping the mitt of Luis Exposito so loudly the other day it sounded like gunshots.

* Speaking of which, by my unofficial count there are 12 bail bondsmen, six pawn shops and two gun stores within four blocks of City of Palms Park. No wonder the Sox want to move.

* There’s a cow pasture down the street from the place where I’m living this spring with some scraggly looking cows. There’s a sign on the fence that says, “Cows are fine. If your (sic) the idiot who keeps calling the police, stop!”

* Fans may not like it. But none of the Sox are wishing they played the Yankees this spring. The circus during the season when the teams meet is enough for them.

* Recent iTunes downloads: J.A.R. (Green Day), The Weary Kind (Ryan Bingham), Force of Nature (Pearl Jam) and Lonely Teardrops (Jackie Wilson). If you have any music suggestions, drop me an e-mail.

Thanks to everybody who has read the blog this spring. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, feel free to email at any time.

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