Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Tuesday takeaways: Latest from the Fort
By Gordon Edes
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Takeaways from Camp Farrell, Day 9:
* The news, such as it was: John Lackey to pitch the Grapefruit League opener Saturday, Xander Bogaerts to start at third base Thursday against BC, no timetable for David Ortiz or Mike Napoli to play in games, Clay Buchholz to throw BP on Wednesday, and Felix Doubront to throw his first bullpen, also Wednesday.
* Sox players were startled Tuesday morning when Jacoby Ellsbury finished a round of batting practice against staffer Ino Guerrero and spectators broke into applause.
Dustin Pedroia turned to the backstop. “Happy fans,’’ he said.
* Something you don’t often see in a big-league camp: The manager shagging fly balls. But John Farrell has been in the outfield several days, on this day wearing a catcher’s mitt, catching the occasional fly ball when he wasn’t visiting with players or Jason Varitek, who was back in uniform for the first time since retiring.
* And yes, Catherine Varitek answered my memo in the morning report, in which I urged her to encourage her husband to let fans see more of his personality, a la Pedro Martinez.
“Will do my best!” she wrote me in a tweet. “He is a lot more fun, outspoken and quite a character than most know and think.’’
* The Red Sox have five players listed among Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospects: SS Xander Bogaerts (8), OF Jackie Bradley Jr. (31), RHP Matt Barnes (40), RHP Allen Webster (49), LHP Henry Owens (91).
* The Red Sox have come a long way on the culinary front in recent years. Chef Shannon Yates, who also cooked for the team here last spring, has now engaged the services of an organic farm, where each Tuesday he picks up fresh produce. Yates made some collard-green wraps with bits of haddock stuffed inside, which he generously allowed me to sample. Outstanding.
* And if you should chance by the Lush French Bakery on Cypress Lake Drive, just west of 41, and sample either the croque sandwich or a chocolate croissant, chances are that they were made by Jamie Neistat, a.k.a. Ryan Lavarnway’s fiancée. Neistat, who has a degree in culinary arts and business management, has started a website, cookinginredsocks.com. She’s working at the bakery this spring.
* Among those sending birthday greetings to Michael Jordan on his 50th Sunday: Terry Francona. The former Sox manager had Jordan in Double-A when MJ made his foray into baseball. Jordan answered almost immediately, Francona told Cleveland ballwriters.
Jordan was 31 and hadn’t played baseball since high school when he abruptly left the Bulls and signed with the White Sox.
“The criticism he was getting bothered me,” Francona said. “He had so much respect for the game. He respected so much what we did. I’m pretty crazy about him.”
* Some former Lowell Spinners, including Jacoby Ellsbury, still call crack PR man Jon Shestakofsky by the nickname he picked up with the Spinners: Bristles. Shesta, as we call him, got the “Bristles” nickname because he was the guy who swept the bases with a broom midgame.
* A baseball official told me the Dodgers asked Carl Crawford if he wouldn’t mind holding off on a press conference following his trade from the Red Sox out of deference to Shane Victorino, who was the obviously odd man out in the Dodgers outfield after they got CC. Crawford readily assented.
* Victorino played about six weeks with Josh Beckett and Adrian Gonzalez after the deal.
“Hey, I’m a fan, I played against these guys, I know what kind of guys they are,’’ he said. “Beckett got the rap as a bad teammate. Dude, are you kidding me? He was totally opposite from what was portrayed. He was great. Great teammate. He came to my golf event in Hawaii. Awesome dude. That’s the thing. You get this rap, and it sticks with you sometimes. And that’s unfortunate. At the end of day, everyone’s going to have their uniform.
“Adrian was great. He was quiet, didn’t say much. Maybe I didn’t interact as much myself (since he’d just been traded). I was sitting back a little, trying to take it all in.’’
* One last bit of Shane. He’s not afraid to admit he still calls Mom at least every couple of days.
I know that drill.