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Saturday, February 9, 2013
Cherington quick hits from the Fort

By Gordon Edes

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Some quick hits from Ben Cherington's sitdown with the media Saturday, a day when principal owner John W. Henry popped into camp to deal "with a few logistical issues."

* Less than a year after being drafted on the first round by the Red Sox, former Arizona State shortstop Deven Marrero has been invited to major league camp as a nonroster player. According to research by the Sox PR staff, Marrero becomes the first position player since catcher Scott Hatteberg (drafted in 1991, invited to camp in '92) to receive an invitation to big league camp in his first year after being drafted.

Deven Marrero
Deven Marrero is the rare Red Sox prospect to be invited to big league camp a year after being drafted.
Marrero, 22, played 64 games for short-season Class A Lowell after receiving a $2.05 million signing bonus from the Sox. SoxProspects.com lists Marrero as the No. 11 prospect in the Sox system, one of four shortstops they list in the top 20. Xander Bogaerts (No. 1) and Jose Iglesias (No. 10) also will be in camp, Bogaerts as another nonroster invitee; 19-year-old Jose Vinicio is ranked No. 20.

"We looked at it and talked about that we haven't taken a college position player that high in a while," Cherington said of Marrero. "He's a kid we've known for so long, back to high school. Typically it's not something you do, bring a draftee from last year to camp, but we felt we knew him well enough, he's played a lot of baseball at a high level -- college, Team USA -- and he plays a premium position. We just wanted to get him exposed to the major league staff and felt it appropriate in this case."

* While Cherington referenced the "revolving door" the club has had at shortstop in recent years and hopes those days are coming to end with all the shortstop prospects in the system, he said there won't be competition for the big league job this season. Assuming he is healthy, Stephen Drew, signed to a one-year free-agent deal, will start at short.

* Cherington said he expects the catching duties to be shared by Jarrod Saltalamacchia and David Ross, which leaves Ryan Lavarnway ticketed to return to Pawtucket, barring a trade. Cherington spoke highly of the combination, saying that at times Saltalamacchia has shown the ability to be one of the best catchers in the league.

"We feel pretty good where we are, catching-wise," he said.

"Ryan Lavarnway has come a long way. We feel he's going to be a really good player for us. Sometimes the clock doesn't start exactly when a player wants it to. He's proven at the Triple-A level he's capable of helping the big league team. That's going to happen; we just don't know when."

* The competition in the bullpen, he said, will be more about roles than roster spots, he said. Like catching, the position is another in which teams are expected to come with trade proposals.

"I'm not sure about odds [of making a deal]," he said. "We'll see. We talk to teams all winter. We kind of know where teams are. Some teams are still looking at things. They may have questions in spring training. We're not motivated to make a deal. We don't need to make a deal. We'll see if something comes to us that makes sense."

* The only competition in camp, Cherington said, will probably revolve around backup spots, especially at first base and in the outfield.

* Cherington said he failed to provide the team with sufficient depth in the starting rotation last year, but feels better about the staff composition this year. Behind the first five (Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Ryan Dempster, Felix Doubront, John Lackey), Alfredo Aceves and Franklin Morales will be stretched out; Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster were added from the Dodgers and Steven Wright from the Indians; and other pitchers already in the system have moved a step closer, he said.

* Cherington said he'd like to see Jacoby Ellsbury remain with the Red Sox "for a long time."

"I'm not going into anything other than that," he said. "We've had a good relationship with Jacoby and we hope that continues."

Ellsbury is eligible for free agency after the season. A shoulder injury that drastically curtailed his season in 2012 would make it unlikely for either the Sox or his agent, Scott Boras, to determine his market value until he plays.

* Cherington said he saw David Ortiz about 10 days ago and said the DH looked "great." Cherington said he didn't think either Ortiz's Achilles injury or Mike Napoli's hip condition would affect their ability to be ready by the start of the regular season, but said the club would know more after the players have been evaluated here by the team's medical staff.

* On coming off a 93-loss season:

"It's no fun, that's for sure. I think everyone is excited to get to spring training for that reason, to get 2012 behind us, and move forward. It was a collective failure. I take more responsibility than anyone for it. It's up to us to make the Red Sox what they should be again. Some of that has started and will continue in spring training."