Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Boston Red Sox [Print without images]

Friday, March 29, 2013
Takeaways: Twins 8, Sox 3; Bradley waits

By Rick Weber

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Takeaways from the Fort, where Twins general manager Terry Ryan said “there’s no mystery” about his team’s roster, while the Red Sox have immersed camp sensation Jackie Bradley Jr. in a prolonged game of Clue.

Bradley said he’s not losing any sleep over the roster machinations. That's a good thing, because there’s nothing new since Farrell’s morning briefing with the media before his team's 8-3 loss to the Twins at Hammond Stadium.

The Red Sox on Thursday night told non-roster outfielder Ryan Sweeney that they were not purchasing his contract. Sweeney can trigger the opt-out clause by midnight tonight, and the Red Sox would have a 48-hour window in which to respond. Farrell said after the game that he still wasn’t sure if general manager Ben Cherington had talked to Sweeney’s agent today.

“I haven’t had a chance to talk to Ben, so I don’t know what developments have taken place today,” Farrell said.

He might not know where he’ll be on Sunday, but Bradley kept turning heads again Friday. He was retired in the third inning on a hard liner to right, then walked in the sixth and scored the team’s first run standing up on a single by Dustin Pedroia.

With one game left, he’s hitting. 433 with 26 hits, four doubles, one triple, two home runs, 12 RBIs, 10 walks, a .633 slugging percentage and .521 on-base percentage.

It appears the only thing he can’t do is predict the future.

“They haven’t given me any inclinations,” he said of the roster situation. “Just playing the waiting game.”

* Is Ryan Dempster ready for Yankee Stadium and the Bronx Bombers?

In his only appearance there -- Aug. 13, 2012, with the Texas Rangers -- he was rocked for nine hits and eight runs in six innings. In his career against the Yankees, he’s 0-4 with a 7.62 ERA.

On Friday, after giving up three hits and three runs in a four-inning stint, he pronounced himself ready for whatever he faces in Thursday’s start at Yankee Stadium.

“I’m ready to get the season started, so it’s exciting,” said Dempster, who finished spring training with a 3.74 ERA in 21 2/3 innings. “It’s been a really good camp, health-wise, getting through it really good. My pitches are coming together real nice. It’s been a lot of fun. A little long.”

Nobody has to tell him that the atmosphere will be dramatically different playing for the Red Sox -- as opposed to the Rangers -- in the Bronx caldron of cacophony and derision.

“It’s probably a really unique experience you don’t really experience playing for another team -- just that rivalry and things like that,” he said. “At the same time, you have just got to control those emotions and go out and treat it like any other game, even though I think the players are the only ones who do that. It’ll be a lot of fun.”

When manager John Farrell was told that Dempster seemed happy with his spring, he said: “And should be. Had a solid spring. Got through it healthy. Gained arm strength as the spring went along. And I thought today he used all his assortment of pitches, and to finish out with 70-plus pitches -- a designed little bit shorter outing with him -- I think he goes into Game 3 at the start of the year in good shape.”

* Designated hitter David Ortiz and shortstop Stephen Drew maintained their same workout schedules Friday.

“The consistency to that activity level is a positive, for sure,” Farrell said. “There have been no minor setbacks along the way.”

Drew has been placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list. He’ll stay in Florida because he’s close to returning for the start of extended spring training games Monday. Ortiz will travel with the team to New York for the season-opening series so that he can continue working with therapist Dan Dyrek, then return to Florida to play in some minor-league games.

* It’s a lonely life for outfielder Ryan Kalish, recovering from January surgery to repair a labrum tear in his right shoulder. In the long shadows of a cool early morning, he ran the steps at JetBlue Park. Kalish has been told his rehab will take four to six months.

* Some numbers Juan Nieves must love in his first year as a big-league pitching coach: Going into Friday’s action, Red Sox pitchers were first in the major leagues this spring in ERA (3.89), opponent batting average (.244), opponent OPS (.700), opponent OBP (.308) and WHIP (1.25); second in opponent slugging percentage (.391); and tied for third in strikeouts (251).

* The pitching matchups have been set for the opening series: Jon Lester vs. CC Sabathia, Clay Buchholz vs. Hiroki Kuroda, and Dempster vs. Andy Pettitte. Lester will be the first Red Sox pitcher to start three straight season-opening games since Pedro Martinez went seven straight (1998-2004) and the first lefty to do it since Mel Parnell (1952-54).

* Felix Doubront gets the start Saturday at JetBlue Park against the Twins as the Red Sox wrap up Grapefruit League action. Doubront has a 4.15 ERA in 13 innings, with 16 strikeouts (third on the team) and 14 hits allowed.