<
>

Sources: Overbay casting about

3/23/2013

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- A few other things to pass along while wondering what Tito Francona will say if Harvard beats his alma mater (Arizona) in the tournament tonight:

* According to sources, the agent for first baseman Lyle Overbay has been contacting other clubs to gauge interest in the first baseman, a nonroster player who can exercise the opt-out in his contract next week. Overbay is not expected to make the big league Sox roster, and has not elicited a great deal of interest from other clubs, including the Yankees. Some back tightness hasn't helped.

* One scout who has watched John Lackey since his college days said Lackey looked as good as he has seen him since early in his career, and attributed the improvement not only for the obvious reason, the Tommy John surgery, but to his significant weight loss. "He could have a big impact," the scout said.

* The last positional battle on the team may come down to a choice between Ryan Sweeney, a nonroster outfielder who can play all three outfield positions, and first baseman Mike Carp, who has not lit up camp since coming over from Seattle, batting .194 entering play Saturday. One scout said he believes that Daniel Nava would be a serviceable first baseman on the occasional times the Sox would need him there; if the Sox feel the same way, and prefer an extra outfielder, Carp could be odd man out.

* Stephen Drew (concussion symptoms) played catch on the field with a trainer and also took a regular round of batting practice with the regulars. He was the only player wearing a batting helmet.

* David Ortiz's cardio work continues indoors, and the Sox were hoping he'd hit in the cage. Manager John Farrell said he hopes that Ortiz will at least be able to take BP on the field before camp breaks, but is laying out no timetable.

* Farrell plans to play his regulars here Saturday and again Sunday in Clearwater. The plan is for regulars also to get a couple of at-bats in a minor league game Monday (instead of traveling to Sarasota), since there is a scheduled day off Tuesday.

* A talent evaluator on Jackie Bradley Jr.'s debut in left field Friday: "He moves over in the seventh inning and makes a couple of plays that no other outfielder on that team could have made."

Bradley's 21 hits this spring are 8 more than any other player on the Sox. Pedro Ciriaco led the team with 18 last spring.

* Ciriaco, by the way, is nearly over his back spasms. He may play in a game Sunday.

* Jacoby Ellsbury has not attempted a stolen base this spring. No physical reason for that, Farrell said, adding the team is striving to begin the season as healthy as it can. Ellsbury stole 14 bases in 17 attempts during an injury-shortened 2012.

"He wasn't the guy that stole 70 a couple years ago," Farrell said, "but that is strongly being encouraged -- not the number, but the approach."