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Saturday, December 1, 2012
Gomes' deal official; Bailey, Lavarnway talk

By Gordon Edes

BOSTON -- A few matters of note Saturday morning, where the Red Sox are staging "Christmas at Fenway," on the one-year anniversary of Bobby Valentine's introduction as Red Sox manager:

•The Sox made Jonny Gomes' signing of a two-year, $10 million deal official. "He fits well on a number of fronts -- personality standpoint, ability standpoint -- into what we're trying to do," GM Ben Cherington said during a 15-minute session with reporters at the ballpark.

Cherington talked about Gomes playing in left field for the Sox in 2013.

"Exactly how many at-bats, that's up to (manager) John (Farrell), and I guess, up to Jonny to some degree, how he performs," Cherington said. "We think the ballpark is a good fit for him. He's a grinder, an intense competitor. Matchups aren't always about left-right."

Sox closer Andrew Bailey said he'd heard from a number of former A's teammates raving about Gomes. "From the first day of spring training, he came in and said this team reminded him of the 2008 Rays and kept the positive message throughout," Bailey said. "Guys told me I'm going to love him. I'm really looking forward to playing with him."

•Gomes' signing has not altered the team's desire to re-sign Cody Ross, Cherington said, with whom the club has maintained "consistent" contact. "But he is talking to other teams as well," he said.

•The Sox would like to sign at least one more outfielder, Cherington said. He said the team would prefer to have another outfielder who could play both center and right, though he acknowledged that's not always possible.

•Bailey said he plans to begin throwing next week, a little earlier than usual, with the idea of getting on a mound after the first of the year and coming to Fort Myers around Feb. 1. He said he expects to be the team's closer next season. "I think I have to," he said. "Right now I'm the only guy in that role."

•Catcher Ryan Lavarnway said the Sox have not approached him about a possible move to first base and said he would be open to it if they did, but made it clear he would prefer to remain a catcher, given the work he has put in at the position. He called new acquisition David Ross "a great catcher" and said he didn't know how Ross's acquisition would impact his role with the club. Lavarnway has moved to Colorado and is training there.

"I feel prepared (for playing with the Sox), but I trust Ben. Whatever he feels I need to do, I'll do," said Lavarnway. Asked about the possibility of being traded, he said he won't worry about things he has no control over.

•Cherington said that he'll have a better sense in Nashville whether the Sox will address their needs more through trades or free agent signings. "Coming off the year we had, maybe in light of that, teams not surprisingly are inquiring about things that maybe they haven't in the past," Cherington said. "Look, we have to be open-minded when you have a year like this."

•Asked if the Sox would entertain trading a starting pitcher, Cherington said: "Anything is possible, but it certainly gets harder to do that."

•Cherington said that Rubby De La Rosa, one of the pitchers acquired from the Dodgers in last August's megadeal with the Dodgers, is coming to camp as a starting pitcher and could factor into the big league picture in 2013. De la Rosa is working out in Arizona, where a couple of Sox people visited him and were pleased with the progress he is making.