Tuesday's takeaways: Coming together
February, 12, 2013
By Gordon Edes | ESPNBoston.com
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Takeaways from Camp Farrell, Day One:
* Not the best news for a team that sent 27 players to the disabled list for 34 stints, but pitcher Clay Buchholz tweaked his right hamstring in a fielding drill in which he was supposed to field a ground ball and run to first base. Manager John Farrell called it a mild strain and said Buchholz will be re-evaluated Wednesday. Buchholz told ESPNBoston’s Joe McDonald he didn’t expect to miss a spring start because of it. Farrell said Buchholz wasn’t due to pitch in a game until the Sox were five games into their schedule.
* David Ortiz made an early arrival, three days before full-squad workouts begin Friday, and said while his strained right Achilles is not yet 100 percent, he is able to run and perform agility drills pain-free and that the Achilles hasn’t impacted his hitting at all. He also took some shots at ex-manager Bobby Valentine, whom he never called by name.
* Dustin Pedroia was asked what he thought when he heard that a market research firm hired by the Red Sox had cited him as an example of the type of “sexy” players the club needed.
“What was my first reaction? I could have told them that for free," Pedroia said. "It was all my friends. I don't know, I just started laughing. Like man, that's pretty funny."
Pedroia said he hasn’t read the book co-authored by former Sox manager Terry Francona and Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy. Was he surprised Francona had written a book? “I don’t think he wrote any of it,’’ Pedroia said.
* Will Middlebrooks, who spent a good chunk of his offseason in Boston, was a familiar face at Red Sox functions this winter. “I was in town, and I like doing it,’’ he said. “I just like getting out and meeting people, create some connections with people.’’
How did he gauge the temperature of the Sox fans he met? “Excited,’’ he said. “Of course in Boston, everyone is going to be a little disappointed [after last season], but everyone is excited and ready to go, just like we are.’’
Middlebrooks came to camp last season figuring to spend most of the year in Pawtucket. Instead, he supplanted Kevin Youkilis at third base and became the everyday third baseman after Youkilis was traded to the White Sox. How different does that make this year’s camp?
“Complete 180,’’ Middlebrooks said. “Last year I was stuck in a corner over there, wondering how long I would be up here, just kind of finding my way around. Now I guess I have a job. Obviously I come in with the mindset with trying to win that job, but it’s completely different.’’
What does he expect of himself this season?
“Hopefully more of how I was last year. That’s the player I am. Hopefully I can create more consistency and be the biggest help I can be.’’
* In one corner of the clubhouse, their lockers in a row, sat three young players in their first big-league camp: shortstop Deven Marrero, center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr., and shortstop Xander Bogaerts. Marrero was a last-minute addition, becoming the first position player since Scott Hatteberg in 1992 to be invited to Sox big-league camp the spring after he was drafted.
Marrero said Ben Crockett, the team’s director of player development, called him with the news.
“Real unexpected,’’ he said. “I just took it and thought it was a great opportunity for me to get to know all the guys, see how they do it in the big leagues, get used to the system, have fun, really, and just learn.’’
Marrero starred at Arizona State, which already has made a notable contribution to the Red Sox infield: second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who like Marrero was a shortstop for the Sun Devils. The first person to call Marrero after he was drafted, he said, was Pedroia, about 10 minutes after he’d been picked on the first round.
“A real special guy, a guy I definitely look up to. He congratulated me, told me one day hopefully we could play next to each other, which would be pretty special.’’
* Bradley, who was named the most outstanding player in the 2010 College World Series for South Carolina, has been working out at the Gamecocks’ facility in the weeks leading up to camp. He arrived here Sunday.
“It’s amazing,’’ he said of being in camp. “It’s been a fun ride. I’m just enjoying every bit of it, taking it all in, trying to learn.’’
* The 20-year-old Bogaerts, who is a consensus choice as the team’s top prospect, is here only until he heads to the camp for Team Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic on March 1. Team Netherlands is loaded with top shortstop prospects, with both Jurickson Profar of the Rangers and Andrelton Simmons of the Braves on its provisional roster. Despite some reports to the contrary, Bogaerts said Profar told him he intended to play. Bogaerts believes Profar will play second and Simmons short.
Sox manager John Farrell said Team Netherlands, which is managed by Giants hitting coach Hensley (Bam-Bam) Meulens, plans to play Bogaerts at third and DH. The Sox will work out Bogaerts at third until he leaves. “We don’t want him to go in cold,’’ Farrell said.
Bogaerts was on the 2011 Netherlands team that upset Cuba in the finals of the World Cup. “I’d come in late, pinch hit or so,’’ Bogaerts said. “We weren’t the best team on paper, but we played hard together.’’
* The final word belongs to Farrell:
“We can’t just talk about it. We’ve got to go out and do it,” Farrell said. “And part of that regaining the trust or the faith of the fans, I’m confident that the talent that’s here plus the people that they are, I really believe this will be a team that people will identify with. The effort, the energy that they bring every night, and the respect for the game that they have."