Top 5 of Spring Training
Published: Friday, March 1, 2013
Updated: Friday, March 1, 2013 14:03
In case you haven’t noticed (and I don’t blame you if you haven’t) the Boston Red Sox Spring Training camp is underway, and they have been playing games since this past Saturday. Not much has happened as of yet because, well, it’s Spring Training; that said I do have a top five list of highlights from the past few weeks, and key players to keep an eye on as the spring continues. The Sox have a lot to prove this year, and so far they are off to a great start.
Number 1: To top off our list is the fact that John Farrell is not Bobby Valentine. Many may remember Valentine’s antics during last spring: his preparing for the tour de France, his insistence on always bunting, his yelling at Mike Aviles… The list could go on for hours. Farrell has taken a very different approach though; he has a no-nonsense attitude that commands respect while making the players feel about ease. He’s not on the field pitching so why make it about him? Farrell is dedicated to getting the Sox in shape and ready to play in the 2013 season, it sure is good to have him back.
Number 2: You know who else is good to have back? Pedro Martinez. No Pedro is not making a comeback, but he is working with the Sox as a special coach and pitching instructor. Martinez has been very active so far in camp watching bullpen sessions and having some one-on-one conversations with the pitching staff. Pedro has been assigned to work with Doubront, the promising young lefty, to help him further his career and mature as a pitcher. Pedro may not be back on the mound firing fastballs and tossing that magical changeup of his, but it sure is good to have him back.
Number 3: John Lackey lost 20 pounds over the winter getting in shape for the season. Lackey showed up looking more like Buchholz than the chicken and beer ringleader we last saw in 2011. Lackey is a fierce competitor and you can bet that he set out this offseason to get ready for a season and prove something to the Fenway faithful. I say good luck and good work on the effort. It will be tough to convince the fans in Boston that he is worthy of cheers rather than boos, but given time I think he’ll prove himself to be a valuable addition to the rotation.
Number 4: Speaking of players who want to take it up a notch, Jose Iglesias wants to prove that he has
earned the starting job over
Stephen Drew. “Iggy” showed up to camp about 10 lbs. heavier haVing worked out hard over the winter to gain some muscle mass to add some more pop in his bat. He certainly seemed to have made the proper adjustments, he has looked great so far in BP and managed to launch a rocket over the faux Green Monster in his first at bat of Spring Training.
Number 5: Last on our list: the new kids are all right. Newcomers David Ross, Jonny Gomes, Stephen Drew, and Shane Victorino all have made a big impression on the media thus far. Gomes and Ross suited up like a pair of regular hicks and went “gator hunting” the other week, while Victorino seems to have a permanent smile wherever he goes. Drew continues to remind us how different he is than his brother J.D. which shows he’ll fit in just fine. Nothing of news concerning funny-man Ryan Dempster, but that could just be because he’s working on a Joe Castiglione impression for the fans.
Dishonorable mentions: Ortiz who injured his Achilles tendon last August has had a slow recovery and will take a while to get better after his injury. The official report has him taking BP with the team but he is not yet cleared to run the bases just yet. Relief pitcher Craig Breslow was experiencing shoulder pain early in Spring Training and has yet to be fully relieved of his symptoms. A recent MRI showed that the inflammation went down but he has not gotten back to a throwing program. Lastly, as good as this team is in terms of depth (they have three backup first basemen) they still need a backup third basemen. Middlebrooks is a solid player, but chances are he won’t play every 162 games this season, the problem is that the only backup the Sox have is Pedro Ciriaco who also plays short, second, and outfield.
That’s it for Spring Training updates, we’ll keep you posted throughout the remainder of the winter!