Afternoon report: Sox rounding into shape

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Good afternoon from Bradenton, where the Red Sox are taking on the Pittsburgh Pirates at McKechnie Field. The Sox hope to end a losing streak after being swept by the Baltimore Orioles in a day-night "doubleheader" on Saturday.

Fortunately for the Sox, starter Clay Buchholz will not have to face 2013 NL MVP Andrew McCutchen, who is batting a mind-blowing .727 this spring.

Red Sox manager John Farrell addressed the team's losing spell (1-5-1 record in last seven games) in his morning talk with the media, highlighting the fact that a number of losses in the past seven contests have occurred away from JetBlue Park. Typically, in spring training, teams use most of their regulars at home and take just a few on the road.

"We've yet to really get our team together in terms of using all the regulars and with some guys still not healthy," Farrell said. "But when we start going through the next turn of the rotation and get our starters in sync with our everyday players, as we saw the other day with [Felix Doubront] on the mound, there's a more consistent flow to the game and we play a much cleaner game in those situations."

In addition, Farrell's approach this spring as opposed to last year is different, considering where the organization was last season entering the 2013 campaign and this one coming off a World Series title. With so many question marks last year, Farrell needed to use spring training as a virtual tryout camp, but as the pieces fell into place and the chemistry materialized, the Sox suddenly had a lineup more than ready for success on Opening Day.

"I look at what our needs are right now," Farrell said. "The roster changes season to season. I think it's how we go about our work and prepare. When you look back to a year ago, I thought we played consistently through spring training and we got off to a good start. Obviously, we've got work to do. There's no question about it, but we're also starting to get our team all together."

With that in mind, Farrell illustrated how the increase of innings from his starters will determine the shape of the team moving forward.

"We've taken a different approach with the first two- or three-inning outings for a majority of the rotation where we've eased into the intensity," Farrell said. "Also, we're getting a number of at-bats for our younger players and still getting our feet on the ground."

Center-field questions: Jackie Bradley Jr. has played most of the innings in center throughout the spring, but that will soon change with Grady Sizemore ramping things up and the return of Shane Victorino this week.

Farrell anticipates Sizemore playing in back-to-back games in the outfield on Monday and Tuesday. Victorino will play on one of those days before the team has an off day Wednesday.

Remembering Jobe: After holding his formal discussion with the media Sunday, Farrell was asked by a NESN reporter about Dr. Frank Jobe, the sports medicine pioneer who is most famous for performing a revolutionary surgery on the elbow of Dodgers left-hander Tommy John that eventually became known as Tommy John surgery. Jobe died late last week.

"Aside from Curt Flood, he probably had the biggest impact on the current game than anyone else," said Farrell, who had the second of his two Tommy John surgeries performed by Jobe in 1992.

Farrell had a promising big league career as a right-handed pitcher with the Cleveland Indians derailed due to injuries to his elbow. After going 19-11 as a starter in his first two seasons with the Indians, Farrell went 13-19 over the next two years, mostly due to arm trouble.

His first surgery at the end of the 1990 season was unsuccessful, so Farrell used Jobe for his second surgery. While the surgery helped improve his arm strength, he was no longer the same pitcher, lasting just four more unproductive seasons with the California Angels, Indians and Detroit Tigers.