Rick Porcello (Reinhold Matay/USA Today Sports)

Rick Porcello (Reinhold Matay/USA Today Sports)

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — For the first time in his life, Rick Porcello took the mound as the American League Cy Young Award winner, Friday. (At least the initial foray into pitching with the title in front of people who actually paid money to attend.)

Sure, the outing will never go down in the history books. Grapefruit League starts never do. But, nonetheless, Porcello’s three innings against the Braves did mark the beginning of his journey toward trying to become the first back-to-back winner of the A.L. Cy Young since Pedro Martinez in 1999 and 2000.

He didn’t disappoint. The right-hander allowed just two hits over his three innings, while striking out four.

“Felt pretty good,” Porcello said. “Arm is still attached. That’s always a bonus, first time out.”

The Red Sox had reeled in Porcello a bit this spring due to the World Baseball Classic-induced extended exhibition schedule. Prior to the outing against the Braves, the righty’s only action vs. hitters came in a two-inning simulated game at JetBlue Park.

“The more opportunities you get to get off the mound, to take things slow and work on the mechanical things you need to work on the better off you’re going to be,” he said. “Try to use that opportunity wisely and there were still some things that happened out there, delivery-wise, that were a little inconsistent. Just trying to get my bearings and my timing down. The last inning was a lot better. I think that time helped and I’ll continue using these opportunities to sharpen my delivery.”

While it was somewhat notable that Porcello made his spring training debut, the news of the day remained waiting on news from Indianapolis regarding David Price’s elbow. Even Friday’s Red Sox starting pitcher understood that.

“My heart goes out to him,” Porcello said of Price. “Not only is he a teammate and a huge part of our team but he’s a really good friend of mine. It’s a tough time for him right now and we’ll see what happens. Like anything else, like any other outside distraction, you have to compartmentalize. You still have a job to do. But he’s definitely in all our thoughts. Hopefully it’s nothing too serious and he’ll be back soon.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

If nothing else, David Price appears to be in good spirits.

The Red Sox left-hander, who left the team on Friday to seek a second opinion on his sore elbow from the renowned orthopedist, Dr. James Andrews, at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis, took to Twitter to joke about rejoining the Red Sox.

If nothing else, David Price appears to be in good spirits.

The Red Sox left-hander, who left the team on Friday to seek a second opinion on his sore elbow from the renowned orthopedist, Dr. James Andrews, at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis, took to Twitter to joke about rejoining the Red Sox.

Price leaves the biggest question of all — how he’s doing — unanswered, but judging from the tone of his message, perhaps the news he received from Andrews was positive.

Price visited the famed physician after complaining of soreness on Wednesday morning, one day after throwing 38 pitches in two simulated innings. He felt fine after his outing, but woke up sore the next day. The Red Sox gave him an MRI and thought the findings were concerning enough to seek out Andrews.

The Red Sox remain in a holding pattern for now, as John Farrell mentioned to reporters in Orlando this morning.

Perhaps Price’s jocular tweets will give them a reason to exhale.

Blog Author: 
John Tomase

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Tyler Thornburg has a pretty good idea what David Price is going through.

Tyler Thornburg (Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports)

Tyler Thornburg (Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports)

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Tyler Thornburg has a pretty good idea what David Price is going through.

When it comes to getting second opinions on elbows from Dr. James Andrews — which is what Price is experiencing in Indianapolis Friday — Thornburg has been there, done that. It’s an expertise that can be attributed to the reliever’s 2014 check-up after experiencing a season-ending elbow issue.

“I just wanted to get the opinion from the guy who knows the situation the best of anybody in the world,” Thornburg said.

“It was cool to go down there [to Andrews’ office in Pensacola, Fla.]. The second opinion is already a weird thing to talk about because you’re not saying you don’t trust the team doctor, but you want to get another opinion. It’s always a tough situation.”

As it turned out, the two-hour visit — which involved another MRI and a hands-on examination — was well worth it for Thornburg.

Dr. Andrews ultimately determined that Brewers’ medical staff had under-played the pitcher’s diagnosis. And while there would still be no surgery, Thornburg did receive a PRP injection with a much more cautious timeline.

“[Milwaukee] said that the tear in there was a previous wound that I had my freshman year of high school in 2004,” he remembered. “So when they sent me to Andrews, he said it was a high grade tear, leaking fluid and I should take 4-6 weeks and if it didn’t heal than to have surgery.”

And, as is often the case with those getting second opinions from Dr. Andrews, the biggest payoff might have been ultimate piece of mind.

“Yeah, just because you’re getting it from the guy who is the best at what he does,” Thornburg said when asked if there was a sense of relief after visiting the world-renowned orthopedist. “People go to him for a reason.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — It’s a good thing John Farrell is finding himself at the self-proclaimed “Happiest Place on Earth.” He might need every bit of good news he can find by the end of the day.

David Price. (NIck Churiaro/USA Today Sports)

David Price. (NIck Churiaro/USA Today Sports)

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — It’s a good thing John Farrell is finding himself at the self-proclaimed “Happiest Place on Earth.” He might need every bit of good news he can find by the end of the day.

Prior to playing the Braves at the Disney Wide World of Sports complex, the Red Sox manager reiterated that there was no news yet to be had when it came to David Price’s second opinion on the pitcher’s injured left elbow. Both Dr. James Andrews and Dr. Neal ElAttrache were slated to visit with Price in Indianapolis Friday afternoon at the NFL Scouting Combine.

“I don’t know that you’re ever saying it’s easier to deal with an injury, especially when it’s a core player. If there’s time to be missed, it’s felt. Hopefully the way he’s progressed the last couple days is encouraging news. Again, it’s hard to predict. Any time you’re going to miss time from a core player, that’s going to have an impact on your team.”

Farrell has first-hand experience when it comes to players who Dr. Andrews steer in a different direction than the original diagnosis, with his son, Luke, avoiding Tommy John surgery thanks to a visit to the orthopedist.

The manager did note that there were no warning signs in 2016 that any of this might be possible with Price.

“You would think after 230 innings if that was an issue there would be some ill-effects of that at some point during the year, which he never experienced,” Farrell said. “Most major league starters are never going to feel pristine every time they walk to the mound. You look at the number of innings he’s pitched over the course of his career, even the last three years, it’s the most in baseball. He’s been durable. This was unexpected.”

– The Red Sox aren’t anointing Pablo Sandoval their everyday third baseman yet, but, according to Farrell, the player has left a pretty powerful impression to this point.

“He’s shown more in the first week of games than he did all of last spring,” the manager said. “From plays he’s made defensively, the range he’s showing, the way he’s getting down the line. He’s not a base-stealer, we know that. He’s much more athletic. His at-bats have been much more consistent. This is like we have a much different player this year compared to last.”

Sandoval is 5-for-12 (.417) with an 1.000 OPS in his four Grapefruit League games so far, going 1-for-3 vs. lefties with a deep fly out to left field.

“The fact that he was searching for that right-handed swing before, now he feels like a more confident hitter overall and certainly from the right side,” Farrell said. “I think a lot has to do with just his body. It’s allowed the swing to be repeated. It’s more aggressive and the bat path is much more consistent.”

– While Hanley Ramirez said Thursday his right shoulder issue was more of an issue than last year, when he also eased into a throwing program, Farrell remains optimistic the ailment won’t curtail the plan to pay Ramirez at first base against left-handed starters come Opening Day.

“I would love to give a timeline, but I can’t,” Farrell said. “Based on all the testing in the training room, we feel like our medical staff is he will get over this. If there’s not marked improvement in the short run, I”m sure further tests will take place. But there’s nothing to say today that he’s not going to be ready at first base defensively for the plan outlined.”

– Steven Wright and Drew Pomeranz both threw live batting practice for the first time, Friday, back at JetBlue Park.

Pomeranz threw 27 pitches to catcher Blake Swihart, facing batters Dan Butler, Chris Young, and Josh Ockimey. Wright threw 31 pitches to catcher Christian Vazquez, facing batters Yoan Aybar, Michael Chavis, Kyri Washington, and Josh Ockimey.

– This was Andrew Benintendi’s first trip to Disney World.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

David Ortiz may not call Red Sox games after all this season.

David Ortiz is reportedly undecided about whether he wants to join NESN this season. (Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports)

David Ortiz is reportedly undecided about whether he wants to join NESN this season. (Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports)

David Ortiz may not call Red Sox games after all this season.

According to the Boston Globe’s Chad Finn, Ortiz is undecided about what he wants to pursue in broadcasting. In addition to NESN, Finn says Fox Sports has also expressed interest in his services. Ortiz was a part of the network’s 2014 World Series coverage.

In an interview with Herald Radio last month, Red Sox president Sam Kennedy floated the possibility of Big Papi joining the NESN team.

“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.”

In a follow up conversation with the Globe, Kennedy said nothing is imminent. Regardless, Ortiz will be around Fenway Park this season. The team will retire his No. 34 on June 23.

Blog Author: 
Alex Reimer

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Hanley Ramirez might not like it, but he just landed with the best-case scenario.

After talking to Moises Alou, the general manager of Team Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic, it was determined that Ramirez would be going to represent his country in the tournament due to the slugger’s lingering right shoulder stiffness.