LEDYARD, Conn. ‘ The Red Sox
tried something new this offseason, and the Red Sox players didn’t seem to mind it at all.
Hundreds of fans poured into Foxwoods Resort and Casino for the Sox’ first-ever Winter Weekend to participate in a variety of activities and events. One of the byproducts of the festivities was the opportunity for the majority of the Red Sox roster to gather together prior to heading to Fort Myers for the first official reporting date, Feb. 20.
Here are some of the takeaways from the player availability:
Joe Kelly offered the most pointed comment Saturday, proclaiming on WEEI, ‘I want your listeners to know, I’m going to win the Cy Young this year. Just letting everyone know so when I win it you heard it here first.’ (To listen to audio, click here.)
Kelly also offered some interesting insight when it came the topic of doctoring balls. Playing off the Patriots ‘Deflategate’ controversy, the Red Sox pitcher surmised that 95 percent of baseball pitchers use some sort of non-sanctioned substance to get a better grip on the ball.
“The hitters would say please do it. They don’t want to get hit with 98 [mph],” he explained, adding, “If it’s Bull Frog (sunscreen) and it’s sunny out, I don’t’ want skin cancer. I’ll put on sunscreen, there’s a rosin bag and I’ll throw rosin on my arm.”
– Dustin Pedroia proclaimed himself ready to go, suggesting he will be ready to play every game on the schedule.
“I plan on playing 162 [games},” he said. “I don’t look at it any different. I started 178 games [in 2013] with a torn thumb. Obviously I’m a human. The next year, you’re going to have a tough time. I’m back, like, my body’s back. I feel strong. I’m lifting everything. Right back to normal.”
Pedroia also touched on his disappointment when Jon Lester left via free agency.
“Yeah, it’s tough, it’s part of the business,” said the second baseman. ‘That’s the part you really don’t understand. It’s not fun. But yeah, I was his host on his recruiting trip at Arizona State. I’ve known him forever so it’s definitely tough. It’s going to be weird showing up for spring training not seeing him there.
“I’m his friend. I’m pretty involved in a lot of things. I’m a lot smarter than him. Let’s be honest. Wouldn’t you talk to somebody starter than you?”
The other notable action item for Pedroia? Playing Red Sox chairman Tom Werner in ping-pong.
“I played with him for a little bit and got my timing down a little bit and started spanking balls,” the infielder said.
– Allen Craig was optimistic regarding his offseason, offering a reminder that this time around is a lot different than a year ago when his preparation was sidetracked by his recovery from a foot injury.
“You know, I don’t ever like to make excuses for anything, because obviously you’re responsible for everything. But there are factors,” said Craig. “I think my foot injury definitely impacted my preparation for last year. My foot felt good, obviously, for the majority of the season. I think it just impacted some leg strength and this and that. You can talk about it all day, but the bottom line is I had time this offseason to feel good and get stronger and actually build towards something for this season. I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot. I had a good plan going into the offseason, and I feel like I’ve executed that pretty well. I feel like I’m in a good spot.”
Regarding his approach after what was a miserable 2014 season, Craig said, “Let’s see: I probably took three weeks to a month off from really thinking about baseball or anything, and then I kind of got back at it a little bit, just thinking about what I need to do to plan to get better. As far as last year goes, that’s in the past. Honestly, it is what it is. It was unfortunate, but you know, baseball’s a tough game and things happen and injuries happen and bad play happens. But I’m just looking forward to moving forward with my career and being the player that I am.”