Takeaways: That's a wrap at the Fort
March, 30, 2013
By David Dorsey, Special to ESPNBoston.com
AP Photo/Elise AmendolaWill Middlebrooks is one of several Sox who will experience their first big league Opening Day.FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The second spring training season at the JetBlue Park at Fenway South in the Fort is in the books.
The Red Sox finished spring training with an irrelevant 17-17-1 record following a 4-2 victory against the Minnesota Twins. The Red Sox sold out all 17 Grapefruit League games and all 32 in the two-year history of JetBlue Park. The Red Sox drew 164,840 fans in 17 home games, averaging 9,696 fans per game.
The Red Sox depart Fort Myers bound for New York City this evening with a couple of unexpected passengers on the team flight:
* Jose Iglesias, who was expected to begin the season in Triple-A Pawtucket, will make the team at shortstop while free agent signee Stephen Drew recovers from a concussion suffered March 7 against the Twins. Iglesias went 1-for-3 on Saturday.
"I'm glad to be here," Iglesias said. "I'm just hoping to help the team win some ballgames."
* Manager John Farrell informed Clayton Mortensen he would make the team in the bullpen. Mortensen had a 5.23 spring ERA with seven strikeouts in 10 1/3 innings of work.
AP Photo/Elise AmendolaJohn Farrell is bringing Jackie Bradley to New York. Is his major league debut right around the corner?
* Farrell informed outfield prospect Jackie Bradley Jr., who turns 23 on April 19, to pack his bags and board the plane as well.
Farrell, however, still fell short of naming Bradley Jr. to the Opening Day 25-man roster, as the Red Sox need to clear space on the 40-man roster in order to do so. That announcement is expected to arrive by Sunday afternoon.
Bradley went 0-for-2 and struck out swinging with the bases loaded in his final Grapefruit League game of 2013. But he finished spring training hitting.419 (26-for-62) with a .507 on-base percentage and .613 slugging percentage.
* Lefty starter Felix Doubront struck out six, walked one and gave up six hits in five scoreless innings of work. He finished spring training with a 3.00 ERA.
"He got better as the outing went along," Farrell said. "We've seen it more than a couple of times this spring. He gets into that third inning and gets into a better rhythm. He continued to stick with that."
* Farrell gave no hints as to what the starting lineup will look like Monday at Yankee Stadium other than to look at the previous two spring training lineups.
"You've probably seen something quite similar the past couple of days," Farrell said.
* Daniel Nava started at designated hitter and had the only multi-hit game for the Red Sox, going 2-for-3. Most of the starters had just three at-bats. Some had only two.
AP Photo/Elise AmendolaThe Sox hope Felix Doubront has found his groove as they break camp.
"Guys are cutting back on some of their at-bats and getting some of their personal thing arranged," Farrell explained. "But it's been very productive. We're looking forward to Monday and beyond."
* Closer Joel Hanrahan got himself into a bases-loaded jam but still earned the save, pitching the ninth inning. He struck out one, walked one and gave up one run off two hits, finishing spring training with a 7.56 ERA.
* Relief pitcher Craig Breslow, who will begin the season on the disabled list, will accompany the team to New York and return to Fort Myers on Tuesday for rehabilitation work in extended spring training games. Breslow was born in New Haven, Conn. He said he grew up about 20 minutes from Sandy Hook Elementary School and that he wanted to be on hand for the Opening Day ceremonies in New York that will pay tribute to the victims and survivors of the school shooting.
* The flurry of players to potentially take in their first Opening Day in big league uniforms had left fielder Jonny Gomes going down memory lane.
Gomes played his first big league game in 2003 for the Tampa Bay Rays but did not break camp with the Rays until 2006.
"Every story is different, you know," Gomes said. "It wasn't a goal. It was a dream. Like goals, you really think you're going to reach. I fought like [crazy]. My junior college didn't have any spot for me. I kept going and going. So it really wasn't a goal. It was a dream."
Entering the 2005 spring training, Gomes was coming off a season in Triple-A Durham in which he hit 26 home runs with 75 RBIs.
"I got to camp thinking I had a chance," Gomes said. "Didn't get called up until after the All-Star break. Then I finished third in the rookie of the year voting behind Huston Street and Robinson Cano. That was a pretty big deal."
In 2006, Gomes finally had his first Opening Day moment, the moment Mortensen, Iglesias, third baseman Will Middlebrooks and most likely Bradley Jr. all will experience at 1:05 p.m. Monday at Yankee Stadium.
"Every story is different," Gomes said. "Some guys are expecting to make it. I wasn't one of them. I break it down to odds. I break it down to everything. My first Opening Day, I already had 20-plus homers in the big leagues. I kept everything. I kept my bat, a ball, my hat, I kept everything.
"I think about doctors. You can argue that I had an internship since I was like 4, with T-ball. You're talking about a 20-year internship. And then in the minor leagues, I was making $850 a month, and I had to pay $350 of that for rent. It's unbelievable."