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Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Takeaways: Cards 15, Sox 4; It wasn't pretty

By Gordon Edes

Sox manager John Farrell's mitt
What's the deal with John Farrell's mitt? Read on ...
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Takeaways from the Fort, where the only thing worse than watching the 15-4 beating that a team of Cardinals second-liners put on a team of Red Sox second-liners Tuesday is having to read about it. So we’ll keep it mercifully short, and quickly turn to more entertaining topics, like the tale of John Farrell’s mitt.

* Ryan Dempster made his Sox debut and pitched two scoreless innings, striking out two. The rest of the Sox pitchers? “There were a lot of them," said Farrell, who used seven more arms against the Cardinals, who had 14 hits and 6 walks and scored 12 runs between the sixth and eighth innings.

Actually, Farrell did have encouraging words for nonroster invitee Anthony Carter, who had spent the previous seven seasons in the White Sox organization. Carter gave up three runs in his one inning of work, but they were all unearned, and Farrell said his slider was better than advertised. So you have that.

* The Red Sox aren’t the only team with a center-field phenom. The Cards showed off their top prospect, Oscar Taveras, who had three hits, scored twice, knocked in a run and ended the game with a nice running catch. Jackie Bradley Jr., meanwhile, singled off the glove of pitcher Jaime Garcia for his only hit in three trips, lowering his batting average to .556 and temporarily halting his admission to Cooperstown by acclamation.

* Former Sox third baseman Mike Lowell worked on a back field with Will Middlebrooks, who said it was all about taking better angles on ground balls, which should cut down on the in-between hops. Lowell expects to be around a couple of days on what Farrell said started out as a social visit (think Dustin Pedroia) and evolved into a tutorial. What Farrell liked most about the session? “Will was very engaged, and Mike was very willing," he said.

Tim Wakefield also was here to continue the work he began Monday in Dunedin with knuckleballer Steven Wright.

* Clay Buchholz threw a 35-pitch simulated game, in which his biggest challenge, Farrell said, was fighting the boredom that comes with pretending you have fielders when you don’t. That should change Saturday, when Buchholz is scheduled to make his first exhibition start, against the Twins.

* Mike Napoli is scheduled to run the bases in advance of his exhibition debut here Friday night against the Pirates. David Ortiz is still in the agility phase, and regardless of what anyone says, people should be concerned until Ortiz shows he can handle the pounding that baseball activity entails.

* Which, at long last, brings us to Farrell’s glove, a catcher’s mitt that he keeps on hand during workouts. Whose model does he wear?

“This is my kids’ glove, bought in a Walmart, one of those pre-oiled, off-the-shelf Mizunos," Farrell said. “I was packing up my stuff quick in Cleveland in 2006, before I came to the Red Sox, and realized at the last minute that I didn’t have a glove with me. I grabbed this one, and have kept it ever since.

“Lose it? I’ve left it everywhere, but nobody wants it so they keep sending it back to me."