FORT MYERS, Fla. — It was another long day for John Farrell, having brief meetings with every Red Sox position player.

Jackie Bradley Jr.

Jackie Bradley Jr.

FORT MYERS, Fla. — It was another long day for John Farrell, having brief meetings with every Red Sox position player. One of the more interesting get-togethers might have been the one with Jackie Bradley.

With all the talk of an outfield competition, along with Farrell’s recent proclamation that Shane Victorino (if healthy) would be the Sox’s starting right fielder, Bradley has become somewhat of the forgotten man.

(Hitting .198 in 127 games last season will do that.)

But Tuesday Farrell brought Bradley’s name back up to the surface with a vengeance.

“There are three prime candidates in that spot,” said Farrell when asked of the center field competition. “If you’€™re pinning those two positions on Hanley and Vic, what’€™s left over. That’€™s where Mookie [Betts], Rusney [Castillo] and Jackie come into play. Individual strength that vary to each person, each player. That’€™s what it begins to center around. And the durability and the dependability of the guys on the flanks will have some effect to the overall decision in the outfield.”

When asked if all three outfielders were starting on and even playing field heading into spring training, the manager responded, “I think every player is starting on an equal footing. But there are going to be some things that happen over the course of camp that we can’€™t turn away from. And there might be some things that are unforeseen at this point. We have all of camp to arrive at that initial Opening Day roster.”

Then, in case anybody didn’t realize, Farrell made it clear why Bradley is still in the mix.

“He’€™s working to establish himself more as an offensive player. In my mind, he’€™s the best center fielder in baseball and I’€™m not afraid of saying that,” the manager said. “He’€™s an extremely talented guy. There have been some offensive challenges, but don’€™t deny what he can do and he can play center field as good as anybody.”

And, now, in the organization’s collective mind, there have also been steps in the right direction in regards to Bradley’s issues with the bat. Having worked with assistant hitting coach Victor Rodriguez for the past few months at JetBlue Park, the outfielder has rediscovered a line-drive stroke that first put him on the big league map two seasons ago.

“Probably a question better directed at him,” Farrell said when asked about Bradley’s confidence level. “But I can tell you this: the BP that has been going on, it’€™s a more compact swing. He’€™s not looking to pull the ball or try and lift the ball as I might have seen last year. Jackie might disagree with that, but I saw a guy who looked to hit the ball in the air a little bit more. He’€™s back in the middle of the field, more of a line-drive approach. More to maybe his swing that’€™s natural to him.

“What we’€™ve looked to do is to streamline the message to him, as well, and eliminate the voices around him and have it come from one. That’€™s where [hitting coach] Chili [Davis] steps in, and be the conduit to be the one who is delivering the message so there is consistency there.”

Other notes from Farrell’s media session:

– Every position player will be ready for full participation when workouts officially begin Wednesday. David Ortiz was the last participant to arrive, taking batting practice with Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval.

– When asked if he had seen Dustin Pedroia hit yet, Farrell responded, “I’€™ve been getting video clips since November, so yeah.” He elaborated on the second baseman’s health, saying, “I think when a player speaks it’€™s a window as to how he feels physically. And when they speak with more conviction or when they speak with a little more confidence, it’€™s reflective of that.”

– Farrell also had high praise for starting pitcher Justin Masterson.

“A 200-inning starter that has been a dominate type of right-hander most recently as two years ago,” he said. “A guy who, in my estimation, has as much an ability to impact this team in a positive way as anybody in this clubhouse. He’€™s famiiar with Boston and he’€™s familiar with us. The potential to get back to that level of performance is well within reach in a short period.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

Anyone wondering why the Red Sox are in the process of signing 19-year-old Cuban shortstop Yoan Moncada to a record $31.5 million signing bonus (with matching $31.5 million penalty payment to Major League Baseball), owner John Henr

Anyone wondering why the Red Sox are in the process of signing 19-year-old Cuban shortstop Yoan Moncada to a record $31.5 million signing bonus (with matching $31.5 million penalty payment to Major League Baseball), owner John Henry has an answer.

In not so many words, Henry suggested Moncada is the equivalent of the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.

“We’ve never had a No. 1 pick, and this is our 14th spring training,” Henry said. “Would we pay up to get one? Yes.”

In today’s game, young players are more valuable than ever, and Henry makes no apologies over the Red Sox’ aggressiveness in targeting them.

“We do our best to quantify risk,” Henry said. “It’s difficult to do, because predicting the performance of baseball players is an imperfect science. But you do your analysis and look at all of the other factors. . . . I think we’re more discerning than ever, despite what people might write this week. High-ceiling players, you have to take risks on, but especially young players.”

Blog Author: 
John Tomase

Red Sox owner John Henry came out strong in defense of CEO Larry Lucchino on Tuesday, disputing reports that Lucchino is losing a power str

John Henry

John Henry

Red Sox owner John Henry came out strong in defense of CEO Larry Lucchino on Tuesday, disputing reports that Lucchino is losing a power struggle to part-owner Mike Gordon.

“There’s no doubt that Larry is in charge and continues to be in charge,” Henry said. “You can ask anybody on the Red Sox, and I’d be surprised if anyone would doubt that.”

There were rumblings of Lucchino’s role being reduced over the winter, and the Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy addressed them in a recent column. Henry said there’s nothing to the idea, especially since, as president of Fenway Sports Group, Gordon spends most of his time dealing with the Liverpool soccer club.

“I read those ridiculous stories –€“ or that ridiculous story that Dan wrote –€“ ridiculous in this sense, that there’s some sort of power struggle between Mike and Larry,” Henry said. “Nothing could be further from the truth. There’s never been, that I know of, a word spoken in that regard, within ownership, or by Larry. Mike is much, much, much more involved with Liverpool. He gets involved with the Red Sox with regard to the financial decisions, because he has a tremendous financial mind, but there’s no power struggle.”

Henry memorably said in a radio interview that, “Larry Lucchino runs the Red Sox.” He was asked if that sentiment remains true.

“If you were to ask anybody in the organization, including over the offseason, that has been and remains the case,” Henry said. “He’s a pedal to the metal guy. You can call him a micro-manager. He’s involved in every decision. Jack Welch once said to me that micro-managing is highly underrated as a management tool.”

Lucchino is expected to arrive in Fort Myers on Tuesday night and address the media on Wednesday.

Blog Author: 
John Tomase

Even more former Red Sox are joining the Cubs, this time as consultants.

Manny Ramirez is joining the Cubs as an hitting consultant. (Michael Zagaris/Getty Images)

Manny Ramirez is joining the Cubs as an hitting consultant. (Michael Zagaris/Getty Images)

Even more former Red Sox are joining the Cubs, this time as consultants.

The Cubs announced Tuesday morning they have hired Manny Ramirez as a hitting consultant and Kevin Youkillis as a scouting and player development consultant.

Ramirez joined the Cubs last season as a player-coach at Triple-A Iowa and will continue to work with the major and minor league hitters on the “fundamental and mental aspects of hitting.”

Youkilis, recently retired after an 11-year major league career with the Red Sox, White Sox and Yankees will assist the front office by scouting amateur and professional hitters in northern California and will work with hitters in the minor league system under the direction of the hitting coordinator.

On the Cubs 40-man roster, former Red Sox players include: Jon Lester, David Ross, Drake Britton, Felix Doubront, Anthony Rizzo and Ryan Sweeney. This is on top of front office members Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer.

For more Red Sox news, check out weei.com/redsox.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

FORT MYERS, Fla.

Hanley Ramirez, David Ortiz, now teammates talk at the 2010 Homerun Derby. (Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Hanley Ramirez, David Ortiz, now teammates talk at the 2010 Homerun Derby. (Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Aside from John Farrell, maybe the person happiest to see David Ortiz stroll into the clubhouse at 8 a.m. Tuesday morning was Hanley Ramirez.

Ramirez was just 21 when he made his Major League debut on Sept. 20, 2005 against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, entering the game as a defensive replacement in the bottom of the seventh, striking out in his first at-bat in the top of the eighth against Tim Corcoran.

He appeared in only one other game that season and struck out again. Those were his only previous games played as a teammate of Big Papi.

“I don’t know that guy,” Ramirez joked when asked Tuesday about being reunited with Ortiz.

But the truth is that Ramirez and Ortiz have kept a close relationship over the years and the two workout together in the offseason in the Dominican.

“He’s a like a brother to me. Everybody pretty much looks up to him because of the heart he’s got and the way he plays the game and how much love he has for the game. Everybody respects him.

“What can I say about Papi? Those who know Papi know he’s [respected] because of his heart. He does on the field and off the field so many good things. We love Papi. He’s the man.”

Ramirez, now 31, can learn a lot from Ortiz, eight years his elder.

“He’s got some tricks at the plate. When you get old, you have to find way to get hits. So, it’s nice when your ability starts going down a little bit, you have to start on working on little things. I was with him in the Dominican this past offseason and he was working every day. He doesn’t stop working. That’s the key for him.”

Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval were acquired this offseason for bigger protection behind the biggest bopper of them all in Boston.

“When you’ve got a guy like Papi in the lineup, it makes our job easier,” Ramirez said. “Not only that but now I’m hitting behind him. When I used to watch him and try to learn a lot of things from him. Now, you have to protect him in the lineup. It’s something that doesn’t come overnight. It takes work and it’s what I see Papi do every day. He always try to get better and better and better and he’s so competitive. He loves the game and he’s still playing.”

Ramirez indulged reporters who wanted to tease him and Ortiz about their age, joking with Ramirez that Ortiz is actually 55.

“He don’t look like 55 to me,” Ramirez said. “He’s still waking up early every day, and goes to the gym and then goes to the field. Usually, with a guy like him, [the message is] if he does it, why don’t you?”

Someone then asked Ramirez if he’s 54 years old. “No, 53.”

All kidding aside, many see the biggest issue for Ramirez as transitioning from shortstop to left field. But not to Ramirez himself.

“No. Just come in and keep working to get better every day,” Ramirez said. “I’m not trying to put that much pressure on me where I can go out there and just relax and keep working. Like I say, hopefully it’s not going to be that hard but I heard sometimes it’s the wind and when the ball hits the wall and those kind of ricochet and that’s what we’re working on right now.”

Ramirez was reminded of the heritage of left fielders at Fenway, starting with Ted Williams and continuing with Carl Yastrzemski, Jim Rice, Mike Greenwell and Manny Ramirez.

“I know, I know but what can I do? Maybe I can fill up half of that,” Ramirez said. “I pretty much do know that at first, at the beginning of my career, playing at Fenway was a little bit hard. But they work to be one of the best. That’s what I’m going to do right now.”

Asked whether he hopes this is final destination after stops in Miami and Los Angeles, Ramirez replied, “Hopefully but I’m just looking forward to these couple of years first, playing in what I can call my hometown. So, it’s going to be a great moment if I can end up my career here and I can work with the Red Sox in the future.”

Reporting time: Ortiz arrived just in time to receive hugs from several teammates, including Christian Vazquez, Xander Bogaerts and Ramirez. He unpacked his belongings and then got ready for his physical at 9 a.m. and his sit down with John Farrell an hour later. The same will take place with all position players on Tuesday. With Ortiz in camp, all players are accounted for on the eve of the club’s first full squad workout on Wednesday at JetBlue Park.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia