Boston Red Sox: Spring training

Takeaways from Fort: Day 1 of live BP

February, 26, 2015
Feb 26
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Takeaways from Day Seven of Red Sox camp:

New rules, no problem: Manager John Farrell indicated Thursday that he doesn't expect the new pace-of-play rules to be a major issue for David Ortiz, despite the spirited objections the slugger expressed the day before.

“I think he’ll adhere to the rules," Farrell said. “Any time we’re going through some subtle changes or some adjustments, the pace of game or replay, there’s going to be some growing pains. We fully anticipate that. I think it’s important we all give this a chance to come to fruition a little bit, see how it may or may not affect the flow of the game or an individual routine. I think that’s what’s important here. There’s a personal routine at the plate and on the mound that is part of the natural flow of the game. Some might consider that slow. I think that’s important that it’s preserved. That’s what puts a player in the right frame of mind to execute what he’s trying to get done.

“I don’t think [Ortiz] put a target on his back. He spoke his mind. That’s where we don’t want to make this too much of an issue. I think it will end up being a subtlety inside the game. But this is no different than when they had fines and potential suspensions for relievers coming out of the bullpen who took too long. We dealt with our guys who were slower than normal."

Step to the plate: This was the first day of pitchers throwing live batting practice. Most hitters chose to track pitches in their first sessions, meaning they did not take any swings but instead stood in the box and watched pitches. Mike Napoli, who stood in against Clay Buchholz along with Dustin Pedroia, spoke to Buchholz afterward. “He told me the ball looked like an Advil," Buchholz said.

[+] EnlargeXander Bogaerts, Dustin Pedroia
Michael Ivins/Boston Red Sox/Getty ImagesXander Bogaerts completes a double play after a dish from Dustin Pedroia during practice Thursday.
On Field 3, where Farrell was watching along with GM Ben Cherington, Buchholz and Rick Porcello threw to catcher Ryan Hanigan. Wade Miley, Eduardo Rodriguez and Anthony Varvaro threw to Blake Swihart.

“Pitch to contact," Farrell said when asked what he is looking for from his pitchers in their first live BP. “Every pitch that they throw should be with the idea of throwing a first strike, regardless of the type of pitch. Even though a hitter is going to see five pitches or take five swings (per round), we want the pitcher to think it’s the first pitch of the at-bat, where you’re executing first-pitch strikes.

“Strike-oriented. You’re using all your pitch mix for the first time seeing hitters. You’re seeing how hitters react to the stuff you’re throwing at the plate."

Shane switches it up: Shane Victorino, who tracked pitches from Varvaro, did so from the left-handed batter’s box.

Farrell confirmed what Victorino had indicated upon his arrival in camp last week that he intends to resume switch-hitting. Farrell said he has talked to Victorino about his return to batting from the left side against right-handers.

“It’s likely that he hits left-handed in games," Farrell said. “If you think back to ’13, late in the year, he switched solely to the right side because there were physical restrictions. With those freed up now, the left side of the plate comes back in play.

“What I would hate to see happen is that here’s a nine-year major-league veteran who switch-hit the entire time all of a sudden be solely one-sided. There was a reason why he hit left-handed to begin with, and that was to better attack right-handed pitching."

Pedey's one-liners: Dustin Pedroia delivered another clever comment regarding pace of play. Last week, it was, "My kids go to bed at 8, so I’m not in a rush. I don’t make the rules, I don’t break them. So that’s where I’m at."

Pedroia, asked again Thursday about pace of play in the wake of David Ortiz’s rant the day before, said: “Baseball isn’t a drive-thru."

Scouts in the house: The team’s pro scouts have assembled here for two days of meetings before they fan out to camps in Florida and Arizona. Let the trade speculation begin in earnest.

Brentz sits out: Outfielder Bryce Brentz, who has some soreness in his right knee, was held out of workouts for the second straight day. He was the only player unable to participate in Thursday’s work. On a social note, the newspaper in Murfreesboro, Tenn., where Brentz starred in baseball for Middle Tennessee State, recently ran a feature story announcing the engagement of MTSU’s “First Couple": Brentz and Anne Marie Lanning, who was picked the best high school basketball player in the state before scoring over 1,000 points at MTSU. The two are to be married at Lanning’s family farm on Nov. 20, the story said.

Pitchers get in the action: Among the drills the pitchers performed Thursday was something the team calls “The Juanchi," named after Sox pitching coach Juan Nieves, in which the pitchers play all of the infield positions.

“What we try to do is have every pitcher understand the responsibilities of defensive players at their position. We rotate guys through so they can anticipate game situations, what a player does at their respective positions, and it’s more just understanding a situation and anticipating it more."

Serious about bunting: Infield instructor Brian Butterfield, while conducting bunt drills, admonished the players when the execution became a bit sloppy. “This is a very serious business," he said. “This is the difference between winning and losing."

“That’s not the first time that’s been brought up in this camp," Farrell said. “Typically those situations arise late in a game, whether a tie game or one-run ballgame. What we don’t want to do is just be satisfied with just one out, which means we’d just take the out at first base. If we can execute and knock down a lead runner, and be a little more attentive with that out, that’s the way we’re drilling."

Moncada's snow day: Yoan Moncada arrived Wednesday night in Boston with the city in the grip of a deep freeze and piles of snow everywhere, and reacted the way you might expect a Cuban teenager who had never seen snow before.

“The first thing he did at the hotel last night was go out in the snow," said David Hastings, the Florida-based CPA who accompanied Moncada to Boston for the completion of his physical, having completed the first phase here Wednesday.
“And no, he didn’t change his mind [about signing with the Red Sox]. Everything is going well."

The Red Sox have yet to announce that they have struck an agreement with Moncada, who agreed Sunday to accept a record-setting $31.5 million bonus from the Sox. They may do so once the physical is completed, although a press conference has not been scheduled and may not come until next week, when Moncada is scheduled to report to the team’s minor-league camp.

BC-Sox game will honor Pete Frates

February, 26, 2015
Feb 26
The annual spring exhibition game the Boston College baseball team plays against the Boston Red Sox is always special for the Eagles.

But it will be a little more so this year, because when the teams take the field on Tuesday afternoon every player, amateur and professional alike, will be wearing the same number -- No. 3. And every Eagle will bear the same name on his back: Frates.

The Eagles and Red Sox are teaming up to honor Pete Frates, the former BC outfielder whose battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) at least partially inspired the Ice Bucket Challenge that swept the country this past summer.

More than $200 million was raised via that social media phenomenon.

On Tuesday, Boston College will wear replica uniforms designed to look like the jerseys Frates and his teammates wore during the 2007 season, when Frates served as senior captain. The Beverly, Massachusetts, native finished his BC career with 107 starts, a .228 average, 88 hits, 56 RBIs, 11 home runs and 34 stolen bases.

After the game, all the uniforms will be auctioned off to raise money for the Pete Frates No. 3 Fund, which was set up after his 2012 diagnosis to pay medical costs not covered by insurance and to raise awareness of and funds for the fight against ALS.

Jack McCluskey is an editor for and a frequent contributor to Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.

Explaining the holdup on Bradley promotion

March, 29, 2013
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- At this point, the only thing certain about the Boston Red Sox roster is that it won’t be finalized until Sunday afternoon.

Manager John Farrell confirmed Friday morning that outfielder Daniel Nava, first baseman/outfielder Mike Carp and reliever Clayton Mortensen are on the 25-man Opening Day roster, but would not make any definitive statement about outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr.

Why the holdup on Bradley? The Red Sox still must make a move on the 40-man roster to make room for the upstart outfielder. That would mean either pulling off a trade in the next 48 hours or designating someone for assignment.

Farrell said the scenario in which Bradley is not on the roster would be if the team recalls a player who already has been cut or “we look to do something different.”

“We’ve got to work through the roster to get to that point,” he said. “That’s why it’s not a given. It’s not an absolute that (Bradley is) in New York. We’ve got some things to work through. He’s done a great job. We’ve talked about it, and rightfully so, daily. But we’re not there to officially announce it.”

The Red Sox on Thursday night told non-roster outfielder Ryan Sweeney they were not purchasing his contract. Sweeney can trigger an opt-out clause by midnight tonight, and the Red Sox would have a 48-hour window in which to respond.

“That’s what we’re working through right now,” Farrell said.

He said the door is open for Sweeney if he’s willing to start the season in Triple-A Pawtucket. Farrell said he wasn’t sure if general manager Ben Cherington had talked to Sweeney’s agent Friday morning.

“We know that in this 24-hour period until midnight tonight, we’ll get some response, and after that we will counter accordingly,” Farrell said.

Other notes from Farrell’s morning meeting with the media:

* He said Carp’s ability to provide insurance at first base was the critical element in his making the team. “You could say it was the deciding factor -- the defensive versatility. Not to take anything away from Ryan Sweeney. He’s a very good player who can play all three of the outfield positions. We felt like the flexibility to go to first base was a key in this.”

* Outfielder Mitch Maier, who has been out with a sprained wrist, can opt out of his minor-league deal, but Farrell said it is the team’s understanding that he will remain and go to Pawtucket.

Today's Red Sox lineup

March, 29, 2013
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Here is the Red Sox lineup for today’s 1:05 p.m. Grapefruit League game at Hammond Stadium against the Twins. Could this be a preview of what we might see in a few days in the Bronx?

1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
2. Shane Victorino, RF
3. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
4. Mike Napoli, 1B
5. Will Middlebrooks, 3B
6. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
7. Jonny Gomes, DH
8. Jackie Bradley Jr., LF
9. Pedro Ciriaco, SS
SP -- Ryan Dempster, RHP

Carp makes Sox roster; Bradley still waiting

March, 29, 2013
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- First baseman/outfielder Mike Carp has been told he’s made the Red Sox roster. Jackie Bradley, meanwhile, is still in limbo.

Carp, acquired Feb. 20 in a trade with the Seattle Mariners, got the good news Friday morning.

“They just told me I’m on and told me what my role would be -- left field, first base, a backup role,” he said. “Get ready for the year. It’s going to be a fun year.

“It’s going to be little different. I’ve always gone in being an every-day type player -- try to get as many at-bats as possible. It’s definitely going to be an adjustment period as far as that goes, but it’s not anything I don’t think I can’t handle.”

With David Ortiz starting the year on the disabled list, there might also be opportunities as a designated hitter.

“As of right now, we don’t really have anybody, so a lot of guys are going to get at-bats in the DH role,” he said, “so hopefully I’m one of those guys too.”

Bradley, meanwhile, has one corner of the clubhouse all to himself. One open locker to the left, two to the right.

“They haven’t given me any inclinations,” he said. “Just playing the waiting game. I’ll be sitting right here in my lonely locker, just waiting.”

Schilling: Send Bradley to Triple-A

March, 27, 2013

You can count former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling among those on the Jackie Bradley Jr. bandwagon, but he’s the guy in back pumping the brakes and urging caution.

In an Hot Button video segment, Schilling made a case for why the Red Sox should start the soon-to-be-23-year-old Bradley at Triple-A instead of on the big league roster.

Schilling’s argument? Spring training success is not an indicator of major league readiness, no matter how impressive.


If you were running the Red Sox, where would you start Jackie Bradley Jr. this season?


Discuss (Total votes: 5,361)

“I can remember every single spring, somebody having a super spring,” Schilling said. “This is not a knock on Jackie Bradley because I think he’s going to be a very good big league player.”

Bradley has an on-base percentage better than .500 and 11 RBIs in 24 Grapefruit League games.

“It means nothing when you try to correlate it to having a great season; there’s just so many things going on in spring training from a pitcher’s perspective,” Schilling said. “You’re not seeing anybody’s plus-plus stuff. That doesn’t come out until Monday.”

How would Schilling handle Bradley, who looks in line to make the major league roster out of camp even though he has never had an official at-bat above the Double-A level?

“This is not the time and this is definitely not the market to experiment,” Schilling said. “He’s going to be ready for the big leagues, it might be May, it might be June. But let him be ready when he gets up there.

“And again, he’s had a monstrous spring. He’s done everything they’ve asked of him. This is not punishment; this is just a normal course of bringing a legitimate talent to the big leagues. Let him go to Triple-A. That’s a big step. That’s where you start to see big league pitchers, big league patterns. Spring training is not it. The last 10 days of camp is the only time, to me, you can judge a hitter versus a pitcher. ... The rest of it is eyewash."

Where would you like to see Bradley start the season? We’ll lay out the cases below.

* Start him on the major league roster: Bradley has given Red Sox fans something to get excited about this spring, and the injury to designated hitter David Ortiz opened up a starting spot for him in left field. The best possible Red Sox team includes him in the everyday lineup, at least until he shows he can’t cut it in the bigs just yet. If he struggles, the Red Sox can always demote him and ensure he doesn’t hit free agency until 2019.

* Start him at Triple-A Pawtucket: The reasoning here is twofold: (1) Starting him in the majors now could mean he becomes a free agent a season sooner (in 2018 as opposed to 2019) than if you keep him in the minors at the start of April; and (2) You risk stunting his progress if he falls flat at the major league level (remember Craig Hansen?). Will Middlebrooks started last season at Triple-A, and the Sox promoted him after he tore it up at Pawtucket. The Red Sox should put Bradley on that same course.

Vote in the poll above and share your thoughts in the comments section.

Ranking the Red Sox

March, 27, 2013
ESPN formed a panel to rank the top 500 players in the majors based on how they're expected to perform in 2013. The Red Sox did not fare well, with Dustin Pedroia as the top-ranked Sox player at No. 42.

What you'll find HERE is a slightly different exercise.'s Gordon Edes was tasked with ranking each player on the expected Red Sox roster based on their importance to the 2013 team.

Here is his ranking, 1-29 (including players expected to begin the season on the DL).

How would you rank them? Show us HERE.

Today's Red Sox lineup

March, 27, 2013
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Coming off a record low overnight temperature, it was 43 degrees when the lineup was posted for today’s 1:35 p.m. Grapefruit League game here. It might not get out of the 60s today when the Red Sox meet the Miami Marlins.

1. Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
2. Daniel Nava, RF
3. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
4. Mike Napoli, 1B
5. Will Middlebrooks, 3B
6. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
7. Jonny Gomes, DH
8. Mike Carp, LF
9. Jose Iglesias, SS
SP -- Jon Lester, LHP

Lackey: 'Moving forward'

March, 26, 2013
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- This is all you need to know about how John Lackey’s spring has gone: He said Tuesday he already has done some work preparing for the Toronto Blue Jays, the team the Red Sox will be playing next weekend in Rogers Centre.

What that means, of course, is that Lackey has passed every test to the satisfaction of the Red Sox, who at the start of spring training penciled him in to be the club’s No. 5 starter and have found no need for an eraser. He is healthy, his recovery from Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery having gone as well as anyone could have hoped, and appears prepared to take a regular turn in the rotation, his first coming in Toronto.

“I’ve still got one more to go,’’ Lackey said after throwing 101 pitches in a minor-league game here Tuesday while the rest of the big-league roster enjoyed a scheduled day off. “I’m not going to get too far ahead of us. But it’s gone pretty good, I’m pretty happy with where my stuff is.’’

While the rest of the team breaks camp on Saturday, Lackey will remain here in the Fort for one last abbreviated tuneup Sunday before flying up to join the club in time for the team’s April 1 opener in the Bronx against the New York Yankees. He is on track to start in Toronto on April 6, his first start since Sept. 25, 2011, a span of more than 18 months. He had Tommy John surgery five weeks later, on Nov. 1.

“I’m looking forward, man,’’ he said. “I’m not looking at elbow issues any more. Move forward and do the best I can from here on out.’’

Had he come to camp with doubts?

“Everybody who has surgery has doubts, for sure,’’ he said. “I got a big zipper in my arm for a reason.’’

But throwing two innings in an instructional game here last fall, followed by a normal offseason, had given him confidence that all the work he’d done in rehab would be rewarded.

Lackey retired 8 of the first 10 batters he faced Tuesday, 5 on strikeouts, throwing his breaking pitches for strikes. The last couple of innings he pumped mostly fastballs, in part just to get his pitch count up.

Of his last 30 pitches, he threw only 12 for strikes. He also gave up three extra-base hits in the fourth, when Tampa Bay’s Triple-A team scored three times off him. The fifth inning was cut short by two outs because he’d reached 85 pitches, but with Daniel Butler behind the plate for his entire outing, Lackey pitched one more inning, finishing with a called third strike.

The setting was a challenge.

“Honestly, to be on a back field on an off day, motivation was a little bit of an issue,’’ Lackey said.

It was even harder, he said, than it was for that instructional league outing last fall.

“The Cowboys were playing that day,’’ said Lackey, whose roots are in Abilene, his rooting NFL interest in Dallas. “I was trying to get it over quick. That was my main motivation: get people out, get out of there.’’

Still a Cowboys fan?

“Absolutely,’’ he said. “Not everybody jumps off bandwagons.’’

Lackey may have been making a subtle reference to his own time in Boston, where no bandwagon ever materialized, even though he won 11 games in 18 starts at Fenway in his first season with the Red Sox, 2010. By 2011, whatever support Lackey may have had was confined within the clubhouse walls.

Still, after his encouraging spring, and a greater awareness that he was damaged goods for the last two years, there is hope for Lackey yet. It all begins next weekend in Toronto. Blue Jays on the brain?

“Oh yeah, I’ve already checked out some things, for sure,’’ he said. “I’ve watched a few games.’’

Red Sox release Overbay

March, 26, 2013
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Boston Red Sox on Tuesday released first baseman Lyle Overbay, adding further clarity to the final bench spots on the Opening Day roster.

The Red Sox had a deadline of noon Tuesday under the collective bargaining agreement to tell Overbay whether he would make the 25-man roster. He is now a free agent.

The release of Overbay, who hit .220 with a double, two triples and seven RBIs in 19 spring training games with the Sox, gives first baseman/outfielder Mike Carp a better chance to make the team. Either Carp, who is on the roster, or outfielder Ryan Sweeney, who is not, will fill that final spot on the bench. Sweeney has an opt-out option Thursday if he is not added to the big league roster.

Assuming the Red Sox add Jackie Bradley Jr. to the roster and start him in left field, it looks like the bench will consist of catcher David Ross, utility infielder Pedro Ciriaco, outfielder/first baseman Daniel Nava and either Carp or Sweeney. Jonny Gomes projects as the team’s designated hitter with David Ortiz starting the season on the disabled list.

Takeaways: Bradley in LF turns heads

March, 22, 2013
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- A 1-0 loss by the Red Sox to the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday might not have produced much excitement, but a coaching move by Boston manager John Farrell provided plenty of drama moving forward. Without further ado, here are the takeaways from the contest in Dunedin:

* Jackie Bradley Jr.’s breakout has been the story of the spring for the Red Sox. It’s a tale that took yet another interesting twist Friday. Although Farrell has said he doesn’t see Bradley as a left fielder, the Red Sox skipper moved him from center to left in the seventh inning.

[+] EnlargeJackie Bradley
AP Photo/Kathy Willens "I just tried to do my best center field impression in left," said Bradley, who also went 1 for 4 with a double at the plate.
"We've had some discussions and we want to take a look at him in left field," Farrell said. "We reserve the right to change our minds and our plans. I wouldn't read anything into it other than getting him some exposure in left field in the event if certain things fall a given way, we want to be sure we cover all our bases."

The injury to David Ortiz has given the Red Sox a window to start the season with the 22-year-old prospect on the major league roster. The Sox could move outfielder Jonny Gomes to the designated hitter spot and use Bradley, a natural center fielder, to left field.

Before Friday, Bradley hadn't played left field since his high school days -- that is, in 2005, his freshman year at Prince George HS in Virginia.

"It felt different, but overall I felt good," said Bradley, who went 1 for 4 with a double at the plate. "I pretty much know the balls are going to go toward the line. I just tried to do my best center field impression in left."

Bradley had to make several plays in left -- this coming after he had already tracked down a few flyballs for outs while in center. He immediately was tested on a challenging drive by Adam Lind, which he recorded for an out in the seventh. He then caught a high pop-up in foul territory up against the fence in the eighth. He finished off his work in left with a nifty scenario in which he chased down a ball hit by Kevin Pillar and then threw a laser to the cutoff man to record an out at home on a player trying to score.

"He's a very good defensive outfielder, regardless of the position," Farrell said.

Farrell said Bradley, who is hitting a robust .429 this spring (21 for 49) with a 1.097 OPS, would see more time in left, possibly a few starts, over the final week of spring training so the Boston brass can make a decision.

"We'll take this final week and get him more exposure there," Farrell said.

Bradley said he wouldn't mind moving over to left if it meant being a part of the club.

"I'm up for any different position," said Bradley, who hasn't had any practice in left this spring. "Everyone works hard trying to get (to the Majors) and it would be special (to be on the Opening Day roster). I just want to play baseball."

When asked if he thought the possibility was there, Bradley conjured Kevin Garnett.

"Anything is possible," Bradley said.

* Alfredo Aceves made his third Grapefruit League start as the Red Sox look to stretch him out following his stint with Team Mexico in the World Baseball Classic.

Facing a Toronto lineup that resembled an Opening Day roster, Aceves held the Blue Jays scoreless over five innings while giving up just two hits and two walks.

"His versatility, his durability is invaluable," Farrell said. "He's a guy if he doesn't start for a while, you can call on him and he can give you four or five innings without being in a regular rotation and today he shows the ability to use his off-speed pitches behind in the count against some power lineups."

Aceves, who had 25 saves and appeared in 69 games last season, has pitched well this spring, with his best performance coming against the high-priced Blue Jays. Among his five strikeouts, he got Jose Bautista swinging and looking, and caught J.P. Arencibia looking twice.

Better yet, the 31-year-old right-hander eased his way out of trouble in the third. After allowing a lead-off double to Mark DeRosa and walking Jose Reyes with one out, Aceves forced Emilio Bonifacio into a fielder's choice before ending the inning with a flyout by Melky Cabrera.

"You can't underestimate the value of his versatility," Farrell said. "This is a guy who isn't afraid when he's on the mound. There's a calmness about him on the mound, even when he gets into tough situations, he's shown the ability to make a pitch."

Farrell can see Aceves having a similar year to his 2011 campaign, when he went 10-2 with a 2.61 ERA over 55 games and 114 innings. During that season, he started four contests, finished 15 games and had two saves while striking out 80 and walking 42, according to

"I think the most important thing for Alfredo is that as long as we can begin to map some things out for him and a role emerges so he's understanding and he can think along with us when his time in the game would be coming up, or when he'd be used in certain situations," Farrell said. "We know we have a guy who's a dependable strike-thrower and is very durable."

Farrell said Aceves -- who tossed 73 pitchs, 44 for strikes -- would get at least one more multiple-inning stint, possibly two, over the next week.

* Xander Bogaerts made his first Grapefruit League start since returning from his time with Team Netherlands at the World Baseball Classic. The 20-year-old infield prospect started at shortstop and went 0-for-2 with one strikeout at the plate.

* Outfield prospect Bryce Brentz collected his second hit with the big league club this spring -- a double to center off Toronto starter J.A. Happ. Brentz also reached on a walk.

Farrell quick hits: Taking it slow with Drew

March, 22, 2013
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Here are some notables from Red Sox manager John Farrell's morning get-together with the media before Boston's Grapefruit League contest against the Toronto Blue Jays:

* Stephen Drew will continue his regimen of baseball-related activities Friday as he makes his way back from his concussion. Farrell said Drew would stretch and throw with the team. He also will take batting practice in the cage. He will continue the routine Saturday if he feels comfortable. While Farrell said Drew's status for Opening Day is more dependent on how the 30-year-old feels, the Red Sox skipper also emphasized the need for Drew to get playing time over the last week of camp.

"With the time he's missed, we're going to have to go with how he feels," Farrell said. "When you get into the last eight days here, we want to be sure when that day he gets back into game activity, an appropriate number of at-bats are had and he feels comfortable. We haven't ruled anything out, but we have to be realistic. We're not going to put him on the field until all the symptoms are subsided completely. That's getting better by the day. We still have some time to work through this."

In the event the Sox deem it necessary to place Drew on the 7-day disabled list for players with concussion symptoms, they may keep him out of big league exhibition games next week, a procedural step that would allow them to place him on the DL Sunday, the earliest they would be allowed to do so. If the Sox take that step, Drew would miss only one game, the opener, before being eligible to return.

* Farrell said David Ortiz continues to make progress as he recovers from the inflammation in his heels. Ortiz took batting practice in the cage Thursday night and Friday morning back at the Fort.

* Farrell is excited about seeing Red Sox infield prospect Xander Bogaerts in action at shortstop Friday. The 20-year-old, who started at shortstop against the Blue Jays, spent most of the spring playing third base for the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic, batting 5-for-19 with two doubles and one RBI in seven games. He also went 4 for 6 with a double and two RBIs in two exhibition games with the Netherlands.

"We'll get a chance to see him at shortstop where he feels most comfortable defensively," Farrell said. "I'm definitely excited to see him on the field. He's very mature. He was very at-ease in (the WBC). He hasn't seemed to be in awe in any way. The WBC experience was tremendous. The players and teams he went up against. That was a very positive experience."

* Farrell said the Boston brass would use the next few days to sort out the final roster spots. Lyle Overbay, one of the players in question, started at first on Friday.

"We're going to take every day available to us to decide how our bench is going to round out," Farrell said. "He's a proven big leaguer and a very dependable major league player. In his case, there's a veteran presence. Ultimately, though, how the group on our bench complements each other is how it's going to settle."

Overbay entered Friday's contest batting .242 (8-for-33) with one double, two triples, and seven RBIs this spring.

Today's lineups

March, 22, 2013
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Starting lineups for today's Grapefruit League game between the Red Sox and Blue Jays (1 p.m.):

Red Sox
1. Brock Holt, 2B
2. Drew Sutton, 3B
3. Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
4. Ryan Lavarnway, C
5. Lyle Overbay, 1B
6. Mauro Gomez, DH
7. Mike Carp, LF
8. Bryce Brentz, CF
9. Xander Bogaerts, SS
SP -- Alfredo Aceves, RHP

* Also expected to pitch: RHP Jose De La Torre

Blue Jays
1. Jose Reyes, SS
2. Emilio Bonifacio, 2B
3. Melky Cabrera, LF
4. Jose Bautista, RF
5. Adam Lind, DH
6. J.P. Arencibia, C
7. Colby Rasmus, CF
8. Mark DeRosa, 1B
9. Maicer Itzuris, 3B
SP -- J.A. Happ, LHP

* Also expected to pitch: RHP Sergio Santos, RHP Esmil Rogers

Lineup: Overbay DHing vs. Twins

March, 14, 2013
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Here is the lineup for Thursday’s game against the Twins in Hammond Stadium:

1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
2. Daniel Nava, LF
3. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
4. Mike Napoli, 1B
5. Will Middlebrooks, 3B
6. Lyle Overbay, DH
7. Jonny Gomes, RF
8. David Ross, C
9. Jose Iglesias, SS
SP --Ryan Dempster, RHP

Also scheduled to pitch: Terry Doyle, Koji Uehara, Daniel Bard

Pitching plans going forward: Clayton Mortensen is scheduled to start the split-squad game against the Orioles in Sarasota Friday afternoon, with Felix Doubront scheduled to pitch Friday night in JetBlue Park against the Twins. Alfredo Aceves is scheduled to start Saturday against the Rays in Port Charlotte; John Lackey is scheduled to pitch in a minor-league game at the Fort. Jon Lester is scheduled to pitch Sunday in the Fort against the Rays; Clay Buchholz is scheduled on Monday in Bradenton against the Pirates. Dempster’s next turn is scheduled here Tuesday against the Orioles.

Interested in the kids? Rubby De La Rosa is scheduled to follow Lester on Sunday, Allen Webster is lined up to follow Buchholz on Monday.

BP's top defenders: Iglesias, Bradley

March, 13, 2013
Baseball Prospectus today named its top infield and outfield defenders in the minor leagues, and Red Sox prospects were tops in both.

Shortstop Jose Iglesias was named BP’s “Top Infield Defender in the Minor Leagues,” thanks to his “uncanny instincts,” “near flawless” footwork. BP described him an and “elite defender”: without peer anywhere in the minor leagues.

Center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr., who became the toast of the spring thanks to his bat (he’s hitting a Grapefruit League-leading .536), was dubbed BP’s “Top Outfield Defender in the Minor Leagues.” BP described watching Bradley play center field as a “breath-taking experience” and reads the ball off the bat like no one else. “He can go get it from gap to gap, has little trouble on balls hit over his head, and even excels charging in on balls.”

You can read the full article HERE (subscription required).