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Sunday, February 24, 2013
Quick hits from Farrell

By Jeff Greer, Special to ESPNBoston.com

JUPITER, Fla. -- Red Sox manager John Farrell chatted with the media for more than 20 minutes ahead of Boston’s Sunday afternoon Grapefruit League game against the St. Louis Cardinals. Here are some of the highlights:

* Offseason acquisition Mike Napoli (hip) ran the bases Sunday at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers as the Red Sox traveling squad unpacked its bus in Jupiter. Prior to running on Sunday, Napoli could only take batting practice and perform fielding drills.

“Our time frame has been the latter portion of this week to get him A-game at-bats,” Farrell said. “We’re still well within our projection there.”

* David Ortiz is still about a week away from running the bases. He takes regular batting practice now, so the Red Sox aren’t overly worried about him getting on the base paths.

“He’s at least getting that baseline in,” Farrell said. “The sheer volume of swinging the bat and being able to track certain pitches, those repetitions are key for him. We’re not just pinned into our A-game schedule, either. We can use our minor-league games to get him five or six at-bats in one day.”

* Red Sox righthander Clay Buchholz will throw a simulated game again on Tuesday after a successful sim game on Saturday. He’ll throw 35 pitches, essentially two innings, in that setting.

Buchholz, who strained his hamstring nearly two weeks ago, will then throw a light side session on Tuesday and be ready to start Saturday against the Minnesota Twins in Fort Myers.

“He’s still going to get his six appearances,” Farrell said. “He’s still on pace for the 95-pitch target. You just don’t want to fall prey to a false sense of security that we have all the time in the world.”

* Pitchers Felix Doubront and Craig Breslow, who’ve both experienced shoulder discomfort in the early stages of spring training, are making slow-but-steady progress, Farrell said.

Doubront will throw live batting practice Monday and Wednesday and is projected to pitch in his first game on Monday.

Breslow is feeling better and more symptom-free, Farrell said, but the Red Sox would like to see more strength gains before they begin their pitching plan for Breslow.

* Farrell’s excited to see righthanded knuckleballer Steven Wright pitch against Toronto on Monday in Dunedin. Jarrod Saltalamacchia will catch Wright, 28, who’s been working with former Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield.

Wright’s biggest challenges, Farrell said, will be throwing the knuckler when he’s behind in the count and controlling the running game.

“It’s a pretty violent pitch for him,” Farrell said. “He’s a sharp guy. He’s got a pretty good understanding of the game. He’s more in tune with the check points he has to go through to throw that pitch.”

* Interesting note on Farrell’s philosophy on infield shifts: He’ll utilize them as much as he did in Toronto, though the Red Sox aren’t as comfortable with moving around third baseman Will Middlebrooks as the Blue Jays were with third baseman Brett Lawrie.

Farrell said he’d like to keep his third baseman away from having to turn double plays, and they’ll start the learning process with Middlebrooks in the coming weeks.