FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox have optioned RHP Daniel Bard to Double A Portland and 1B/DH Mauro Gomez to Triple A Pawtucket.
But beyond that, it’s status quo on the roster according to manager John Farrell.
The Sox have until midnight to inform Ryan Sweeney whether he will be on the roster. Sweeney can opt-out of his minor league deal if he is not. Outfielder Mitch Maier, who is out with a sprained left wrist, has an opt-out on Friday.
Farrell said the Sox were basically down to two spots on the roster they had to figure out.
Farrell didn’t go into detail. But clearly Sweeney, Jackie Bradley Jr., Mike Carp, and Daniel Nava are the players contending for those spots.
“We’re working towards that 25-man roster,” Farrell said.
Farrell was asked how they’re weighing the needs of the team and what is best for Bradley at this stage of his development.
“Both of those are balanced. You always want to get the best feel you can for the makeup of the individual. Looking at all sides, so in the event of something that doesn’t turn out well or as he’s challenged, how does he respond to those? That’s a projection,” he said.
“Until you get to that point, you don’t fully know. How strong mentally is he? If struggles occur at the major league level, what would his response be? Yet at the same time, you look at the spring training he’s had, the talent that he is and you try to put together the best team with the best players that you can. We’ve allowed him to go this deep into camp, so we’re not afraid and not unwilling to break with him. If that were the case, we would have sent him out four weeks ago. But all those things are considered.”
Is service time an issue?
“We can’t control tomorrow let alone six years from now,” Farrell said.
Farrell said he and the coaches are more impressed with how Bradley has played, not so much his gaudy statistics.
“We look at the consistency of at-bats. You look at certain counts that he finds himself in and how is the approach to that. One at-bats that kind of stands out to be is the other day against [Pedro] Strop [of Baltimore]. He gets down two strikes and takes two split-finger fastballs that are major league quality pitches, gets back in the count and there’s a two-run single.
“When you look at the consistency of controlling the strike zone, getting himself into good hitters counts and what he does in those situations, that goes beyond the overall batting average.”
Bard being sent down, which was expected because of his recent struggles, means Clayton Mortensen has made the team as a reliever.
Bard appeared in eight games in camp. Over eight innings he allowed six earned runs on nine hits with four walks and two hit batters. Putting 15 batters on base in eight innings was a sign that his control has not returned. Bard did strike out 10, however. That is a sign that he can be salvaged.