JUPITER, FLA – This is so far away from Fort Myers it feels like you’re on another planet.
While some Sox players stopped to watch Albert Pujols batting practice – and what a display it was – bench coach Demarlo Hale is here overseeing the squad.
Hale spent the 2:45 bus ride “listening to some jazz and doing some work.” Who? “Marcus Miller, a guitar player.”
Here are some highlights of Coach Hale’s pregame comments:
Hale on infielder Yamaico Navarro, who was scheduled to play shortstop vs the Cardinals today – “I think he’s definitely capable of playing first, short, second and third. With all the split squads we’ve had he’s capable of playing short. It was a good chance and good day to have him play short and he’ll probably get a good six or seven innings. He’s got to play all of them. He’s that type of player. That’s how we used him when he came up to the majors for us last year. He’s got good tools and has good range and good arm strength to play on that side of the diamond. I really like his versatility, but if he settles on one position he can do that too.”
On Jacoby Ellsbury back to center – “It’s not really a transition back to CF. He missed the whole season last season except for 18 games. I felt that playing left field he would get used to things that leftfielders have to do especially at Fenway Park, but he hasn’t created habiits pertaining to left field.”
On Kevin Youkilis switching to third – “Bogey (Third base coach Tim Bogar) has worked with him a lot more,. When you hear him speaking and his mindset about playing there, that’s the big thing even more than the angles and the longer throw. He’s been there before. He’s comfortable and he’s looking forward to it. It’s about being comfortable, and he is.”
On Cuban Juan Carlos Linares, playing right field – “I mentioned weeks ago that early you start to see players at the minor league complex and that’s when you see the practice habits and some of the fundamentals. And then you start playing games and the practice habits and fundamentals he showed down there translate to the games. Those who have seen him have said good things and then when I laid eyes on him I can see what they’re talking about. There’s another guy who adds to our outfield depth. A guy who can play all three. Another outfield bat. Some pull pop. He’s got an idea of how to play the game. We can evaluate tools all we want, but you have to be able to understand and play the game right. That’s something they learn in the minors. He’s showing that.”
Asked whether Linares needs much development because he’s 26? – “When I say development I mean an adjustment to this environment. I don’t think he played a whole lot last year. The organization said good things and that’s why he’s in big league camp. He’s older but there’s always adjustments. Hopefully he adjusts quicker.”
On the many outfielder’s who can also play center field – “When you talk to them they want to play CF. It’s good, but as you see, we’ve moved them around. They’ve moved to all three outfield positions. When the need comes it may not be CF. It may be on the corner. I don’t look at it as all centerfielder’s, but rather guys who can play all three OF positions.”
NOTES – Chris Carpenter threw a bullpen for the Cardinals and feels the tightness in his left hamstring is improving. He will likely make a start early next week….Albert Pujols is finishing up a segment for “60 Minutes.”….Lefty Lenny DiNardo is one of the pitchers who made the trip today…Crowds here haven’t been great, but the Sox game should be sold out….