Thursday, January 2, 2014
The Fort beckons: 44 days to reporting date
By Gordon Edes
BOSTON -- Here’s today’s weather report: 82 degrees and partly cloudy.
That would be in Fort Myers, Fla., where the Red Sox pitchers and catchers are due to report in 44 days, on Feb. 15, with the equipment truck leaving on Feb. 8.
To get you in the mood, a few tidbits:
• The 40-man major league roster is full. There are 20 pitchers (5 left-handers), 5 catchers, 7 infielders, 7 outfielders, and 1 DH, though David Ortiz played enough first base last season (6 starts in the regular season, 3 in the World Series) to be listed as an infielder, too.
• The Sox have yet to announce their non-roster invitees to camp, though they have signed at least two minor-league agents: left-handed reliever Tommy Layne out of the Padres’ organization, and utilityman Mike McCoy out of the Blue Jays’ organization. An oddity about Layne: He went winless on the minor-league level in 2012 (0-10 with a 6.37 ERA), but was 2-0 with a 3.24 ERA for the Padres that season.
McCoy, meanwhile, has played seven different positions in the minors, including pitcher, missing only first base and catcher. Last year, for Triple-A Buffalo, he played 81 games in the infield and 29 in the outfield. McCoy has 170 games of big-league experience, including one pitching appearance, which came in the ninth inning of a 16-4 loss to the Red Sox on June 11, 2011. McCoy retired Carl Crawford, Marco Scutaro and J.D. Drew in order.
• This will be the first Red Sox camp for six big-leaguers on the roster: pitcher Jake Peavy, catcher A.J. Pierzynski, infielder Jonathan Herrera and three right-handed relievers: Burke Badenhop, Edward Mujica, and Brayan Villareal. Peavy was acquired last season at the trade deadline; Pierzynski and Mujica were signed as free agents; Herrera came from Colorado in the trade for Franklin Morales; Badenhop was acquired from Milwaukee for minor-league lefty Luis Ortega (rookie league) and Villareal came from Detroit at the trading deadline in the three-team deal that sent shortstop Jose Iglesias to the Tigers.
• This will be the first major-league camp for three Sox prospects added to the 40-man roster earlier this winter: right-handed pitcher Anthony Ranaudo, third baseman Garin Cecchini and outfielder Bryce Brentz. SoxProspects.com lists Cecchini No. 3, Ranaudo No. 6 and Brentz No. 18 among the team’s prospects. Cecchini began last season at Class-A Salem before being promoted early in the year to Double-A Portland, Ranaudo was promoted from Portland to Triple-A Pawtucket at the end of the season and Brentz spent all of 2013 with the Pawsox. Brentz was to have attended his first big-league camp last season, but suffered a gunshot wound in the leg, he said, while cleaning a gun.
• The Sox have 15 players 30 years or older on the 40-man roster. Closer Koji Uehara, who turns 39 on April 3, is the oldest, seven months older than Ortiz, who turns 39 on Nov. 18.
• The Sox have 11 players 25 years old or younger. The youngest player on the 40-man roster is Xander Bogaerts, who turned 21 on Oct. 1 and already has World Series experience. Bogaerts is expected to be the team’s starting shortstop, unless the Sox re-sign Stephen Drew, which remains a distinct possibility. A resolution involving Drew could take some time; another Scott Boras client, outfielder Michael Bourn, did not sign last year until Feb. 15, when he came to terms on a four-year, $48 million deal.