FORT MYERS, Fla. — Koji Uehara has been through this hamstring thing before, although the reliever noted that this tweak of his left leg wasn’t as serious as his pull a few years back in Baltimore.

The closer did, however, note that this setback does add some uncertainty to his preparation.

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Koji Uehara has been through this hamstring thing before, although the reliever noted that this tweak of his left leg wasn’t as serious as his pull a few years back in Baltimore.

The closer did, however, note that this setback does add some uncertainty to his preparation.

“I feel that it might be a close call but I should be ready,” said Uehara through a translator when asked if he thought he would be ready for April 5.

Uehara, who has pitched three times this spring, said locking in on a return date was “nothing that I can predict right now.” And in regards to how many outings he might need to be ready for the regular season, the righty noted, “It’€™s something that the coaches will probably decide. I could probably be ready without even appearing in a game.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The initial reaction to John Farrell subtle suggestion that Matt Barnes would be working as a reliever going forward was that it might be a move executed in part because of Koji Uehara’s hamstring injury. (He remains day-to-day, according to Farrell.)

Not necessarily.

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The initial reaction to John Farrell subtle suggestion that Matt Barnes would be working as a reliever going forward was that it might be a move executed in part because of Koji Uehara’s hamstring injury. (He remains day-to-day, according to Farrell.)

Not necessarily.

The primary impetus for Barnes once again living the life as a reliever is because the Red Sox are searching for some velocity out of their ‘pen. It was one of the reasons Alexi Ogando was prioritized over someone like Burke Badenhop in the offseason, and is a pretty good explanation for drawing back on the UConn product’s work as a starter.

Brandon Workman could have been that guy, but he hasn’t rediscovered the velocity of 2013.

Farrell talked the other day about the change in offense approach due to powerful bullpen arms, with lineups not necessarily wanting to drive fading starters out of the game because of the heat waiting for them out of the ‘pen. Before the addition of Barnes, that sort of dynamic seemed somewhat lacking out of the Red Sox relievers.

According to Fangraphs.com, the Red Sox relief pitchers were dead last in average velocity, clocking in (for fastballs) at 91.4 mph.

Another less pressing concern for the Red Sox is the ability of Barnes to pitch more than one inning.

Right now it appears as though Tommy Layne is going to make this team, leaving him, Junichi Tazawa, Edward Mujica and Ogando as more-times-than-not one-inning guys. Anthony Varvaro and Craig Breslow have the capability to extend themselves, with Varvaro going beyond one inning six times last season, and Breslow doing it on 10 occasions.

With the wake-up call that Joe Kelly’s sore biceps gave the Red Sox earlier this week — (they won’t know if he will make his start Sunday until throwing off a mound Thursday) — it’s also probably a good time to see who would be first to fill in if rotation spots did start opening up.

First up would be Steven Wright, who not only offers a more veteran presence, but continues to impress as much as anybody. Right now, Brian Johnson would seem to get the edge over Eduardo Rodriguez for getting a crack at the big leagues.

While Johnson isn’t on the 40-man roster, he has impressed the Red Sox with his overall game presence and late-moving stuff. The lefty not only works extremely quick, but still doesn’t seem to let the game speed up on him. Rodriguez will most likely ultimately be the highest upside guy, but there is still some refinement to be done.

Henry Owens continues to impress, particularly with a curveball that has routinely frozen major league hitters. But there is a feeling he also could use a continued dose of Triple-A before taking the next step.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox on Wednesday trimmed their big league roster to 51 players by moving a half-dozen to the minor league camp.

Sean Coyle

Sean Coyle

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox on Wednesday trimmed their big league roster to 51 players by moving a half-dozen to the minor league camp.

Infielders Sean Coyle and Travis Shaw were optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket, while first baseman/outfielder Brian LaHair and right-handed pitchers Miguel Celestino, Keith Couch and Noe Ramirez were reassigned to minor league camp.

Of the 51 players remaining on the major league roster, 38 are from the 40-man roster and 13 are non-roster invitees.

The Red Sox continue Grapefruit League play Wednesday with a game at JetBlue Park against the crosstown rival Twins.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

 

Hanley Ramirez has made a good first impression on the Red Sox thus far. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)FORT MYERS, Fla. -- What should we make of Hanley Ramirez?



FORT MYERS, Fla.

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The story of the game played at JetBlue Park was a Red Sox team that made four errors, with their first three pitchers — Clay Buchholz, Matt Barnes and Brandon Workman — giving up 10 runs on the way to an 11-3 loss to Jonny Gomes’ Braves.

But it was before and after the contest that the real pertinent news surfaced …

– Koji Uehara, who was expected to pitch an inning Tuesday, was scratched after hurting his left hamstring prior to the game.

“He strained his left hamstring running this morning, that’s why we held him out,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “He’s day-to-day right now … Again, it’s going to be a few days before we test him again and before we get him back into a game.”

Uehara has pitched in three games, two of which he allowed runs.

– The Red Sox appear to be shifting their approach when it comes to Matt Barnes, who allowed two runs on two hits and a walk in his one inning of work.

Instead of continuing to stretch out Barnes as a starter, the righty will get more usage over the coming days in shorter stints in order to see his potential effectiveness as a reliever.

“I wanted to take a look at him earlier in the game against more of the ‘A’ type lineups as opposed to the first couple of times out and today was the first exposure to that,” Farrell said. “We’re still taking a look at him in shorter stints right now.”

The manager added, “I thought he was amped up a little bit, in particular the first couple of curveballs he threw, it looked like he overthrew them a couple of times. And I think there was some adrenaline in there. As we shift his role and talk a little bit more about more frequent outings, he probably looks into that a little bit. There’s some legitimate competition there. But we’re not making the final decision on the roster today.”

– Joe Kelly, who left Monday’s game with biceps soreness, came out of his throwing Tuesday in good shape. The pitcher told WEEI.com that his plan is to play catch again Wednesday before throwing off a mound Thursday.

“I feel good right now. Just a little sore, but not much going on there today,” he said. “It was a lot different [than Monday]. It died down. It wasn’t as aggravating. There was a little bit there, but nothing to be worried about.”

As for making his next scheduled start, Sunday, Kelley noted, “If it was up to me I would be doing it, but the medical staff and coaches want to see how I feel when I throw off the mound before we jump to any conclusions. … I’m not alarmed over it.”

– Rusney Castillo will return to action Wednesday, participating in minor league games for the next few days on the back fields at Fenway South.

– Christian Vazquez, who felt soreness in his right elbow Friday night after gunning down a basestealer, was hopeful that he would be returning to the Red Sox’ lineup Friday.

– Brandon Workman experienced a tough outing in his quest to earn a spot in the bullpen, giving up four runs on four hits in his inning.

“Until his velocity gets back to where he’s been at previously pitching out of the bullpen, he’s got to locate,” said Farrell of Workman, whose ERA stands at 12.00. “And when he didn’t today, we saw what happened.”

Hanley Ramirez made easily his best catch of the spring, sprinting in front of center fielder Mookie Betts in the fourth inning. “That was for Arnie [Beyeler],” said Ramirez after the game, referencing his outfield coach who has been working with the left fielder throughout camp.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

FORT MYERS, Fla. — It was only for 1 1/2 seasons, but few (if anyone) has played a better left field at Fenway Park at Jonny Gomes.

It wasn’t by accident, and it wasn’t just because he was afforded a head start with the left field wall at JetBlue Park.