MLBPA chief Tony Clark (WEEI.com photo)

MLBPA chief Tony Clark (WEEI.com photo)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — While the head of the MLB Players Association, Tony Clark, will be visiting every major league camp this spring training, it is a pretty good bet that he won’t be getting the kind of question sent his way 19 minutes into his session with the Red Sox media.

The query came courtesy veteran WBZ reporter Jonny Miller:

“Tony, any concerns over the World Baseball Classic being played in South Korea with that idiot in North Korea with the button? Any concerns with playing in that area?”

After a quick smile and chuckle, Clark offered a succinct response.

“Well, I think where we’re at right now, we’re going to try to make the best of where we are. To the extent that they may have to be moved, I don’t believe we’re at that point yet based on where we are on the calendar. But should it ever need to be if something does happen that needs to be reflected in a full stop and an adjustment, then we would have to make that adjustment sooner rather than later.

“I think where we’re at right now we’re going to try to make the best of where we are. To the extent that they may have to be moved, I don’t believe we’re at that point yet based on where we are on the calendar. But should it ever need to be if something does happen that needs to be reflected in a full stop in an adjustment we would have to make that decision sooner rather than later.”

The Red Sox will be sending Xander Bogaerts to South Korea to participate with the Netherlands representative in the upcoming World Baseball Classic. The first round involving Pool A (Israel, Korea, Taiwan, Netherlands) kicks off in Seoul on March 6.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

FORT MYERS, Fla. — They are behind everybody else, but not enough to alter the conversation.

Drew Pomeranz (Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Photo)

Drew Pomeranz (Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Photo)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — They are behind everybody else, but not enough to alter the conversation.

Steven Wright (shoulder) and Drew Pomeranz (elbow) didn’t throw their first spring training bullpen session until Monday, with most of the other pitchers having already thrown to hitters in a batting practice setting. But, according to John Farrell, both starters are still expected to have enough time to be ready for the first time through the rotation come Opening Day.

“Yes, based on where they are right now, with the number of days left in spring training, provided there are no setbacks, we’ll have ample time to get them to the mound to build up their pitch counts with a typical spring training,” the Red Sox manager said.

Farrell noted that the duo — who will remain the same schedule — is slated to throw the next bullpen session Thursday.

– Farrell said the plan is for the Red Sox to go watch the movie “Patriot’s Day” as a team after Wednesday’s workout.

“A team building opportunity. ‘Patriot’s Day’ is the movie,” he said. “Opened up to the players and their families. To me, that’s a part of our recent history, a significant moment, and I think it’s us and the coaching staff and I think really Pedey [Dustin Pedroia] is the only player remaining from that day’s lineup in our organization. Still, it’s a big part of who we are in Boston and I think it will be important for our guys to understand what we’ve gone to.”

– With MLB Players Association chief Tony Clark in town, the topic of rule changes came up with Farrell. One note interest was the manager’s suggestion that a pitch clock is seemingly inevitable.

“The one thing that is, as we’re seeing as it relates to pace of game and so much emphasis on it, I wouldn’t be surprised if in a short period of time, I’m not saying this year, but we’re probably going to be looking at a pitch clock overall,” he said.

Farrell added, “I think we’ve done a good job of not trying to change too many things at once and there’s been incremental changes along the way. Just because we are talking strike zone, pace of play, clocks, I don’t think we’ll see five or six things change at once.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

There are two ways to interpret David Ortiz’s beach selfie from over the weekend: Either the slugger is enjoying his retirement, or he misses baseball de

David Ortiz retired from baseball last season after 14 years with the Red Sox. (Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports)

David Ortiz retired from baseball last season after 14 years with the Red Sox. (Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports)

There are two ways to interpret David Ortiz’s beach selfie from over the weekend: Either the slugger is enjoying his retirement, or he misses baseball dearly and wants affirmation that he made the right decision to walk away. Regardless, Ortiz will be around Fenway Park this season –– and may announce some of the action on the field as well.

In an interview with Boston Herald Radio Tuesday, Red Sox president Sam Kennedy said there’s a chance Ortiz will show up in the broadcast booth sometime in 2017.

“It’ll be fun to watch the next stage of his career,” Kennedy said. “He’s got a lot of different interests. Broadcasting is certainly one. It’d be interesting to see if he goes into national broadcasting. We’d certainly love to have him part of our local broadcast team on a limited basis. He wanted to dip his toe into that water.”

Ortiz has been a part of Fox’s postseason broadcasts in the past, most recently during the 2014 World Series. His former teammates, Pedro Martinez and Kevin Millar, have carved out lucrative television careers with the MLB Network and TBS, respectively. Earlier this year, Ortiz reportedly met with the Red Sox to discuss joining the NESN team.

The Red Sox will retire Ortiz’s No. 34 at an undisclosed date this season.

Blog Author: 
Alex Reimer

John Farrell joins us now! https://t.co/BuwxpSDKZ3 pic.twitter.com/wkzTbqqxYD

— Kirk and Callahan (@KirkAndCallahan) February 21, 2017

Baseball hats are the closest politics have come to the National Pastime in some circles. (Robert Deutsch/USA Today Sports)FORT MYERS, Fla.



FORT MYERS, Fla. — There was some eyebrow-raising going on at the beginning of spring training when it was determined Steven Wright was still easing his way back from his shoulder injury.

But Monday actually may have eased some fears that Wright wouldn’t be ready when the regular season rolled around.

Steven Wright (Jasen Winlove/USA Today Sports)

Steven Wright (Jasen Winlove/USA Today Sports)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — There was some eyebrow-raising going on at the beginning of spring training when it was determined Steven Wright was still easing his way back from his shoulder injury.

But Monday actually may have eased some fears that Wright wouldn’t be ready when the regular season rolled around.

Throwing off a mound since the Red Sox were in Cleveland for their two postseason games, Wright executed a split of fastballs and knuckleballs in his 25-pitch bullpen session. The result was along the lines of what the knuckleballer was looking for, with no pain or restrictions.

“Encouraging,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “I thought Steven Wright today was unrestricted. He was out over his front side with good extension. He was able to throw both his fastball and knuckleball today. He didn’t speak of any lingering issues with his shoulder. A very productive and positive day for Steven.”

“It felt good,” Wright said. “It felt a lot better than I thought it was. The ball was coming out good. It definitely gives me some injury to build off of and take it into the next one.”

Also throwing his first bullpen was Drew Pomeranz, who is being eased into things after receiving stem cell injections in his left elbow in the offseason.

Farrell noted that both Wright and Pomeranz, who have been throwing out to 120 feet, will remain on the same progression, with facing hitters in batting practice serving as the next step.

After the session, Pomeranz also supplied some further information regarding his offseason injection.

“It was pretty painful to be honest,” he noted. “I heard PRP [platelet rich plasma] is pretty painful too. The way they do it is they kind of scrape the tendon, the flexor, to create some bleeding I guess and then they shoot the stem cells on top so I guess your body knows to heal there. I was fine five minutes into it then about 20 minutes later I couldn’t bend my arm for like five days. I’ve heard some guys say PRP it’s like that for a few weeks, mine wasn’t that bad, probably just like five or six days.”

– Chris Sale threw his first live batting practice as a member of the Red Sox and was (surprise, surprise) good.

“He certainly gives an uncomfortable feel to the hitter in the box,” Farrell said. “And you combine it with stuff that seemingly moves all over the strike zone. We’re getting a first-hand look at why he’s been so successful and an elite pitcher.”

“You know, more importantly, just kind of competing against myself moreso than the batter that I’m facing,” said Sale, whose session amounted to throwing 30 pitches. “When you’re throwing a fastball away, you try to keep it down and try to see the movement and get some good work in. I know that a lot of people say that spring training is this and that, but this is my time to get ready for the season. It’s a long season, so I try to prepare my body and my mind as best I can.”

– It was a momentous day for Brandon Workman, who hadn’t thrown to major league hitters since the end of the 2015 spring training.

Workman, who underwent Tommy John surgery, showed some flashes of his old self when throwing to hitters Monday, but still has some work to do. The righty hasn’t pitched in a major league game since 2014.

“I was excited. It was good to be back out there and have batters in the box and just be part of the regular stuff,” Workman said. “I felt like it got there. Early I was just getting the feeling for it. Getting it going. Then I felt like I settled in pretty good and was locating pretty well. It was a good day, for sure.”

“I thought he got better throughout the session,” Farrell said. “He’s still going to need some innings coming off the surgery and the rehab. There were times where the ball showed the previous carry through the strike zone. You’re just kind of getting a gauge early on, and yet there’s still work to be done certainly before he gets back into games with any projected production on his part.”

– One of the more impressive feats this spring has already come from the return of Sam Travis.

The first base prospect, who wowed the Red Sox with a .469 batting average and 1.147 OPS in 18 Grapefruit League games last spring, has shown absolutely no ill-effects from the knee surgery which ended his 2016 last June.

“Hard-nosed player. a grinder type, a blue-collar player,” Farrell said of Travis. “The way he went through drill work the first couple of days, there’s no evidence of the ACL surgery that he had. He feels great. The work that he put in on the rehab is certainly paying off. But he impressed last year in his first camp with his ability to impact the baseball and just maybe the determination and the aggressiveness that he exudes when he’s on the field.”

– Farrell said once again that while nothing is set in stone, Sandy Leon currently has the upper-hand on the starting catching spot.

“I can’t say that it’s not without competition. But if we were to open up tomorrow, it’s likely Leon is behind the plate leading things off based on what that group of guys at the catching position did last year and the way Sandy has evolved in his own right,” said the manager. (He would not bite when asked which pitcher Leon might be catching if the season started tomorrow.)

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Robby Scott’s execution was flawless.

The Red Sox reliever decided it was time to ask his girlfriend, Chelsea Briche, to marry him. That was the easy part. How Scott executed his delivery last Friday night was the real feat.

With Chelsea coming into town Wednesday, Scott hatched a plan to not only document the moment he asked Briche to marry him, but also hide a collection of people around the corner from the event in Naples to celebrate the moment.

“I had a dinner set up on the beach. I told Chelsea I wanted to go down a little early and go for a walk on the beach,” Scott said. “I had met the photographer a couple of days before at the venue, had the spot picked out. So the photographer was hiding in the bushes. Once we got there, and as soon as we got on the beach, I was speed walking. Chelsea was like, ‘Why are you walking so fast?’ I was pretty nervous and the emotions and everything were telling me to get me to that spot pretty quick. But she didn’t have a clue up until that point.”

Perhaps the most difficult part of the equation was hitting the times mapped out by the photographer, with Scott scheduled to be at his spot by exactly 5:40 p.m.

But he managed, with friends, family, and a few teammates jumping out to celebrate the moment.

“Afterwards she was like, ‘No wonder why you were acting so weird,’ because I was stone-faced the whole car ride there. I just wanted to get there and not screw it up,” Scott said. “It worked out well.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford