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Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Morning report: 'Rotation' at DH sans Papi?

By Glenn Miller, Special to ESPNBoston.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- A few early takeaways from the Fort, on a cloudy morning when five players were shipped out of big-league camp and a sign with this warning was leaning against a wall by John Lackey’s locker: “Cowboy Parking Only, All Others Will Be Branded.”

The five players shipped out: Outfielder Alex Hassan and right-handed pitcher Steve Wright were optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket; first baseman/outfielder Mark Hamilton, outfielders Jeremy Hazelbaker and Juan Carlos Linares were reassigned to minor-league camp.

The Red Sox now have 52 players in big-league camp.

Manager John Farrell held court with the media and touched on a number of topics.

Of the most interest, perhaps, is who will DH if slugger David Ortiz is not be ready for Opening Day, as appears to be the case: “We don’t have another David Ortiz,” Farrell said.

So who will DH?

“We envision it being a little bit of a rotation,” Farrell said.

He praised young third baseman Will Middlebrooks: “Someone hungry for information.”

On first baseman Mike Napoli, who was hit on the left wrist by a pitch: “He’s OK.”

On catcher Ryan Lavarnway’s development: “He’s come into camp not only in good shape but he looks stronger.”

On Lavarnway’s improvement as a receiver behind the plate: “He looks quiet behind the plate.”

On shortstop Stephen Drew’s recovery from a concussion: “Each passing day improving.”

Today’s Red Sox lineup for the 1:35 p.m. game against the Toronto Blue Jays:

1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
2. Daniel Nava, RF
3. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
4. Mike Napoli, 1B
5. Will Middlebrooks, 3B
5. Ryan Sweeney, DH
6. Jonny Gomes, LF
7. Ryan Lavarnway, C
8. Pedroa Ciriaco, SS
SP -- Clay Buchholz, RHP

Wednesday is the team’s first of two off days of the spring. The other is March 26.

Pitcher Daniel Bard chatted by his locker early this morning with WBZ’s Johnny Miller and an ESPN Boston representative.

On the danger of thinking too much about mechanics on the mound:

“You ever hit a golf ball? It’s the same thing. Good golfers might have one thing they think about. Other than that it’s all athletic ability and coordination. And you got to let yourself let your natural ability play out. It’s the same with pitching. One or two keys to go off of during a game.”

On what he’s done to improve his mechanics: “Some minor tweak is all it was. Trying to get my hand a little more on top of the ball. It kind of affects arm slot too. Getting my hands on of the ball and out of my glove early. It’s just something I worked on last year. Like I said before I had so many bad habits.”