FORT MYERS, Fla. – John Farrell addressed a few issues ahead of the Red Sox vs. Orioles this afternoon, starting with the outlook for Felix Doubront, today’s starting pitcher.
“We’d like for him to build off of last year and eliminate the peaks and valleys he went through. He worked out at IMG (in Bradenton, Fla) on two different occasions and came in in good shape and hopefully this will be a bigger year than last,” Farrell said.
Farrell hopes the good physical conditioning helps Doubront repeat his delivery more consistently, which has been a problem in his early career.
“He’s won without his best staff and that’s with savvy or intangibles we don’t necessarily coach. He has four good pitches – a low-to-mid 90s fastball and a great changeup – and he was very consistent at a time when we needed it when Clay (Buchholz) went down,” Farrell said.
In other news:
• Chris Capuano will make his first start Wednesday in Jupiter vs. the Cardinals. John Lackey and Jon Lester will throw simulated games that day back at Fort Myers.
• Shane Victorino, according to Farrell, has begun baseball activities. He threw from 150 feet, ran and swung the bat.
“He’s making solid strides,” said Farrell, who said he’s not setting any artificial dates for when Victorino will appear in a game. “When he’s ready. We don’t want to jump the gun too early.”
• Grady Sizemore will play again on Tuesday and then not play again until Friday. It’s reached the point where the Red Sox will give him a few days to heal up his sore body. Farrell admits it’s likely going to take to the end of camp to determine whether Sizemore can be an everyday player or a backup.
“We’ve got to continue to see it. I wish we could fast-forward and get the answer. So far so good. Somethings don’t change, like running into the wall (at Hammond Stadium vs. the Twins on Saturday. He got right up and threw the ball. Talking to him, he felt he had a legitimate beat on the ball until time ran out,” Farrell said.
Farrell noted that Sizemore’s times up the line have improved.
“His mind is more free and not as guarded. Some of the signs within the game you’re starting to see how he responds to game situations,” Farrell said.
• Kudos continue to come catching prospect Christian Vazquez’s way. Vazquez threw out another runner Saturday.
“He’s thrown out every runner in big league camp. He’s 11 for 11. What’s impressive is the progress with the bat. There’s more strength in his swing. More solid impact. When you look at numbers they’re heading into the right direction. He’s getting stronger. When he first signed he had difficulty getting through a nine-inning game. Now he’s one of the best catching prospects in the game,” Farrell said.
Farrell said Vazquez’ time was 1.86 seconds on the throw to second base.
“It’s all well above average,” Farrell said.
Carl Yastrzemski’s grandson, Michael, an outfielder, was scheduled to be on the Orioles’ travel squad to Jet Blue Park today. His granddad will watch whenever he gets into a game.