DALLAS — After speaking to Ben Cherington and Bobby Valentine, here are a few updates from the Winter Meetings:
• Cherington shot down the idea that the Red Sox are involved with any of the top-tier free agent pitchers (such as C.J. Wilson and Mark Buehrle) other than to stay informed as to what is going on.
"Never say never. [But] I think it's more likely that we'll be pursuing other options," Cherington said. "You always want to stay involved to the extent that you have the latest information and keep your options open because you never know what may come your way and how that might change things.
"But I would say, it's less likely we'll be involved in those top-tier guys as relative to the past."
• Valentine said on NESN that Daniel Bard prefers to be a starter. Cherington said what Bard thinks is obviously part of the discussion but that the Red Sox haven't necessarily decided what they want to do with the hard-throwing righthander.
Cherington said the team has to give Bard some direction soon so he can prepare for spring training. But they could change his role come spring training, meaning that even if he builds up his arm to start, he could always go back to the bullpen.
"I don’t think (the decision) has to be made now. I think that we have to talk about how to prepare him for spring training and that’s something we’ll need to do pretty soon," Cherington said. "I don’t know that we have to have his role completely defined. Maybe we will. But I don’t think we have to. I do think it relates some to decisions we’ll make on our pitching this offseason. It’s not just Daniel, it’s other guys, too.
• The Red Sox will be meeting with David Ortiz's agent, Fern Cuza, before he faces the Wednesday deadline to decide whether to accept arbitration. So there is a chance they could strike a deal before then.
• Valentine has reached out to every player on the roster and talked to most of them, or at least left messages. There's a chance he could go see Carl Crawford and/or Josh Beckett this week. Head trainer Mike Reinold was in Houston to visit with Crawford today.
• The Red Sox are working on the coaches they have under contract to try and fit them into the staff. Valentine said naming the coaching staff is not necessarily a top priority this week given the player moves that could be made.
• Bobby Jenks will have his back surgery next week and the belief is he will be pitching in spring training at some point.