LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — With Friday’s starter Clay Buchholz in line to be the Opening Day starter in Philadelphia on April 6, the Red Sox still have to figure out his battery mate.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — With Friday’s starter Clay Buchholz in line to be the Opening Day starter in Philadelphia on April 6, the Red Sox still have to figure out his battery mate.

Christian Vazquez caught a minor league game back in Fort Myers on Friday morning and then was scheduled for a full exam, which would include an MRI on his right elbow. Manager John Farrell confirmed the plan while managing the major league team against the Braves in Disney.

“It was still planned to repeat what he did [Thursday],” Farrell said of Vazquez’s throwing program. “We’ll go through a full workup following. Then to determine if further imaging is needed or to answer questions that might be unanswered at this point and hopefully to give a little piece of mind to Christian himself.

“More lingering. There hasn’t been a setback. As a matter of fact, his throwing has increased. But because we’re in the eleventh or twelfth day and not back into game situations yet, just want to answer every possible question.”

Farrell said he still wasn’t ready to project any type of timetable for his return or whether he would be ready for the opener.

“Once we get all the information, we’ll have a better read on everything,” Farrell said. “We’re limiting him right now. He’s been catching. This is the third time he’s caught under the current conditions, just to keep his legs in shape and keep him as game-ready as possible despite the graduated throwing program we’ve got him on.”

If Vazquez isn’t ready to go, then Blake Swihart, Friday’s catcher for Clay Buchholz could certainly have a chance of making the squad when they break camp in a week.

“I think anybody in our uniform is always under consideration,” Farrell said. “We’ll see how things play out over the next eight, nine days.”

Elsewhere, David Ortiz did not make the trip to central Florida but Farrell said he and Mike Napoli made it through Thursday’s return to action without any issues. Farrell said Ortiz is scheduled to play against the Rays Saturday afternoon in Port Charlotte.

One of the pleasant revelations this spring for Farrell has been watching Hanley Ramirez. It’s not watching him hit or field that’s been surprising but rather the way he has handled his new environment and teammates.

“He’s been a pleasure. He’s been great,” Farrell said. “The attitude, the work ethic. He’s been fun to be around. I think he’s in a good place mentally with the work he’s done in left field to feel good about the position. He feels there’s a good support around him right now.

“He revealed some things to me even back when he was in for his press conference on how he best responds to communication, and that was helpful to me. He’s fit in very, very well.” [Not a surprise] but I appreciated his candidness. I came away from the conversation in a 45-minute sit-down get-to-know and it was almost like being with him for three months every day, and seeing him in different ways and how you can best handle an individual. You welcome that kind of communication. It says to me that he knows himself as a person and a player.”

Clearly, adding Ramirez to a mix that includes David Ortiz and Pablo Sandoval has given Ramirez an early feeling of stability in the clubhouse.

“I think anytime players get around veteran players that they respect how they go about their work, there’s always conversations that can be had to learn,” Farrell said. “I think anybody that gets a message from one of their peers, it probably resonates a little bit quicker because they’re dealing with some of the same challenges, successes or distractions. It’s a more applicable message when the guy is sitting right next to him, dressing in the locker next to him.

“Reputation and what you hear second-hand is that. You’ve got to find out for yourself. Ben’s history with him when he signed with the Red Sox as a 16-year-old had a lot of bearing on this. He knows Hanley as well as anyone and I think the way Hanley approached the whole recruiting and signing, he embraced everything that was going to be here for him, which included a position change. It’s been very good.”

With no update Friday on the status of Koji Uehara, the Red Sox bullpen remains a focal point as the team heads into the stretch run of spring training. Edward Mujica was touched for a run in an inning of work Thursday and has a 7.20 ERA. Junichi Tazawa figures to hold onto his set-up role. But another two faces could factor in as Alexi Ogando and Robbie Ross have emerged this spring. Tazawa earned the win Thursday with a perfect inning, including a strikeout. Ogando was also perfect.

“What there’s not to like? He’s brought the same stuff to the mound each time,” Farrell said of Ogando. “He’s pitched with one-day rest. He’s shown two well-above average pitches. I think the biggest thing is he feels free, he feels loose and he’s generating his normal velocity without coming out of his delivery to try to create more.

“He’s going to pitch in the late innings. There’s no doubt about it. Whether that’s seventh, eighth or ninth, he’s going to be in some high leverage situations.”

Then there’s the work of lefty Robbie Ross. He’s allowed six hits and two runs in four innings over four appearances. But it’s what Farrell has seen of Ross’ stuff that has made him think he could wind up with a role in the pen.

“He’s in competition for a spot. His last two outings, one in Bradenton, the other one in Jupiter the other day, there’s been increased velocity and finish to his pitches,” Farrell said. “He was nagged a little bit early in camp with the left knee, a little bit of swelling. He’s gotten past that now, physically. What we’re seeing is a guy returning to where he was pre-[starting] rotation in Texas, and that’s a left-hander with some power stuff.”

“Actually, if you look at his numbers, he’s been better against righties throughout the course of his career. There’s no hesitation on [facing] both sides of the plate.

“We’re comfortable. We’ve got Edward who’s closed a number of games and has been very successful in the ninth inning. We’ve got the ability to match up, if needed, depending on who’s available on a given day. We’re more than comfortable with who we have.”

Farrell also indicated he would consider Allen Craig ahead of Daniel Nava on the first-base depth chart. Last spring, Nava edged ahead of Mike Carp in that area, surprising some, and eventually leading to the trade of Carp.

As for Dustin Pedroia making the long trip to Disney, Farrell said it was an opportunity to get more spring at-bats, as he continues to show that he is all the way back from left thumb and wrist injuries of the last two seasons.

“We’ve seen right when the game game schedule started, you saw him with a much more free swing, better bat speed, the ability to pull the ball a little bit more consistently than the last couple of years,” Farrell said. “He’s going through normal timing and adjustment, as anyone would in spring training right now. The added at-bats here today are more just getting the reps and seeing pitches as opposed to work through something physically.

“He was still getting back to game speed a year ago.”

There was one other reason Farrell thought Pedroia wanted to make the trip.

“He’ll want to go check in on Mickey,” Farrell quipped.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Shane Victorino hopes to sprint out to right field virtually every night for the Red Sox this year.</p>
<div class=



David Ortiz took to Derek Jeter‘s website, The Players’ Tribune, to voice his thoughts on a number of different topics — the biggest being steroids.

David Ortiz took to Derek Jeter‘s website, The Players’ Tribune, to voice his thoughts on a number of different topics — the biggest being steroids.

In 2009 it came out that in 2003 Ortiz tested positive on a test to determine whether mandatory random drug testing was necessary in Major League Baseball. The results were supposed to remain anonymous, and it was also never revealed what exactly Ortiz tested positive for.

“Let me tell you something. Say whatever you want about me –€” love me, hate me. But I’€™m no bullshitter,” Ortiz wrote. “I never knowingly took any steroids. If I tested positive for anything, it was for something in pills I bought at the damn mall. If you think that ruins everything I have done in this game, there is nothing I can say to convince you different.”

Ortiz relayed a story of him being on vacation in the Dominican and having MLB reps show up at his door to test him for steroids. He says this is a common occurrence.

“In some people’€™s minds, I will always be considered a cheater. And that’€™s bullsh**,” he wrote. “Mark my words: Nobody in MLB history has been tested for PEDs more than me. You know how many times I’€™ve been tested since 2004? More than 80. They say these tests are random. If it’€™s really random, I should start playing the damn lottery. Some people still think the testing is a joke. It’€™s no joke. Ten times a season these guys come into the clubhouse or my home with their briefcases. I have never failed a single one of those tests and I never will.”

Most recently a major topic surrounding the designated hitter is whether or not he should be inducted to the Hall of Fame. Ortiz feels he should be.

“Hell yes I deserve to be in the Hall of Fame,” Ortiz wrote. “I’€™ve won three World Series since MLB introduced comprehensive drug testing. I’€™ve performed year after year after year. But if a bunch of writers who have never swung a bat want to tell me it’€™s all for nothing, OK. Why do they write my legacy?”

He added: “In 75 years, when I’€™m dead and gone, I won’€™t care if I’€™m in the Hall of Fame. I won’€™t care if a bunch of baseball writers know the truth about who I am in my soul and what I have done in this game. I care that my children know the truth.”

Click here to read the complete essay at The Players’ Tribune website.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Mut, Tomase, and Bradford kick things off talking about Shane Victorino taking offense to people reading into some comments he made about trading for Cole Hamels. They also discuss Blake Swihart and how soon he could be up if Christian Vazquez starts the season on the DL.

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Mut, Tomase, and Bradford kick things off talking about Shane Victorino taking offense to people reading into some comments he made about trading for Cole Hamels. They also discuss Blake Swihart and how soon he could be up if Christian Vazquez starts the season on the DL.

[0:00:13] ... going to be ready no word of Doby. A fist fight between Shane Victorino in the media between not now and then but here we do your job to Macias studio Jon good to see. I would tell you rob Bradford here but Robby is running late because of the weather here today I'm hopeful we'll open up a one turn your Mike around and turn it right toward being beautiful wonder why couldn't exit. There ago. It's better. It's not a lot better today let me restart out rob flew back from Fort Myers back as a warrior. Talked to Shane Victorino in the morning is racing over here now any cities list. Of good will than rob middle will afford his take on Shane Victorino he posted a story to that really was transcribing. On she invert trio is common. Odd to rob today or gonna talk about obligate our receive phone calls on Victor Reno John let's hear a little bit from Shane Victorino. What's your little different Shane Victorino then we'll get your take on give you my take on a get robbed steak on at this was Shane Victorino talked to the Philadelphia Inquirer. And a headline a couple days ago is Victor Reno would welcome Hamels to Boston in that story. He alluded to trading prospects that are on Noll and for known commodities and the speculation by guys like I'll be honest myself was. Shane Victorino was talking about players on his team like pets and to steal because he sees that that walls caving in on his ...
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[0:10:25] ... you said it before. You said you did agree that if healthy Shane Victorino and if not the best one of these 00 let it play out and right publicist and nobody is ultra okay so ...
[0:11:31] ... is the guy. But you set yourself if you have a healthy Shane Victorino that's the guy that you want in a lot of what is the best way to get that healthy Shane Victorino. Awful 2013. That like we will learn and well it's probably take this course of action especially. When you have the roster ...






FORT MYERS, Fla. — To listen to Christian Vazquez Thursday afternoon after his work on the back fields of JetBlue Park, Red Sox fans would feel confident in thinking their star young catcher has put his elbow issues in the past and will be back in time for the opening in Philadelphia April 6.

“I’m going to throw [Friday] but I don’t know if it’s going to be on the bases but I’m going to make my throwing program again [Friday],” the 24-year-old catcher said. “But it’s better every day and I’m happy with that. I’m going to ready to start the season, for sure. I feel better every day and I’m going to be fine.”

Was he nervous when the issue in his right elbow first presented itself earlier this month?

“I was a little bit nervous but it’s fine,” Vazquez said. “I trust my guy here and the medical staff here is great and I trust it.”

When will he back to games?

“Very soon, very soon, very soon. We have a great medical staff here and I’m going to be ready,” he said. “I threw to the bases today and I got to second base normal. I was fine and I’m going to be good.”

Then came the reality check from his manager John Farrell, who clearly appreciates the youthful enthusiasm but must err on the side of caution with such a golden arm to protect. Farrell repeated the message he delivered before the game that the team will perform more tests Friday before allowing Vazquez to progress to the next level.

“Encouraged by how he felt. To say that he’s game-ready, no, he’s not. But steps of progression are being had. Yeah, I was there when he threw. He’s going to go through a full work-up [Friday],” Farrell said. “I wouldn’t say he’s game-ready yet, but we’ll get further information upon the exam.”

And while Vazquez said he threw to second base Thursday with no issues, Farrell said it was not at 100 percent.

“No, not yet. And he was restricted by the intensity and that was the design of the throwing today,” Farrell said. “To turn him loose, we’re building up to that.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

FORT MYERS, Fla.

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The sight of David Ortiz‘s maple bat exploding violently is not what captured the attention of Red Sox manager John Farrell in the slugger’s second at-bat Thursday at JetBlue Park. It was the sight of him legging out a fielder’s choice that drove in Mookie Betts from third base.

The ball dribbled far enough out to the right of second baseman Eduardo Escobar that he flipped onto the shortstop to put out Dustin Pedroia. But Danny Santana’s throw was not in time to get Ortiz at first.

Testing his “wheels” — as Ortiz put it afterward — was a big test for the designated hitter to pass after missing the last 10 days due to general soreness and dehydration that had zapped so much strength from his legs. Ortiz was cautiously optimistic that Thursday’s 5-4 10-inning win over the Twins at JetBlue Park as a step in the right direction for him.

“It felt all right,” Ortiz said after going 0-for-3 with a strikeout. “I’m just trying to get that feeling of running.”

“Good to see them back in the lineup, for one,” Farrell said. “I thought David took some good swings, but we’ve got 10 days remaining and they’re going to get ample at-bats before we break here. The fact is the next step back after a little bit of downtime for both, and I think it’ll be good to get some continuity in our lineup.”

Ortiz wasn’t the only player returning as Mike Napoli batted in a game for the first time since an ankle injury shut him down on Mar. 18. Napoli also struck out in his first at-bat in the second inning but responded with a single in the third. Napoli finished 1-for-2.

“He got down the line well, kept from being doubled up,” Farrell said of Ortiz. “I think it was an indication that the soreness he’s been dealing with, he’s feeling better, and that was the case with some baserunning the last couple of days. So a productive day for both.”

Ortiz’s timing looked understandably off at the plate in his first at-bat of the day against lefty Tommy Milone as he struck out swinging. He would later pop out to short to end his day without a hit.

“That’s what the game is all about. But I’m really not worried about that right now,” Ortiz said of his swing. “I’m worried about making sure the wheels are what I want them to be. Those are the kind of tests you want to get through. It’s all right.”

So how is his swing?

“Like usual, horse[bleep] by now,” Ortiz said of his annual spring training warmup.

Ortiz was asked if there was a stopwatch on his sprint to first base in the third.

“Hopefully not but those the the things I want to get going so I’m good for the season and of course, face live pitching.

What’s the next step?

“We’ll see how I feel [Friday] and go from there.”

Ortiz, who has been staying behind and taking BP in Fort Myers, will not be making the trip to Orlando for Friday’s game against the Braves. Saturday in Port Charlotte is still up in the air.

Thursday’s game was won in the bottom of the tenth when Rusney Castillo, fighting with Shane Victorino and Daniel Nava for a spot in right field, homered with one out to end the contest. The ball barely cleared the red line atop the Monster and bounced back onto the field, tricking Castillo into sliding into the second base until the third base umpire circled his finger to end the game.

“Yeah, in fact, because that happened to me at the end of last season, where it was close and it ended up being a double,” Castillo said. “I actually slid in to second and it wasn’€™t until I got up from my slide that I noticed the guy had called it a homer.”

What impressed Farrell is that Castillo hit a breaking pitch to end the game.

“Even more exciting to see it was on a breaking ball where they expanded the zone on him with some sliders,” Farrell said. “But he was looking for that pitch on the first pitch of the at-bat, and it’s clear he’s got some power. Timely, nonetheless.”

“I’€™m glad I was able to make an adjustment,” Castillo said. “I had expanded a little bit and it felt good to be able to square up a breaking ball. I do like those situations. I’€™m always focused but it’€™s like I zone in a little more. I’€™ve always liked those situations. It’s definitely gratifying, especially given I came up a little short in the previous at-bat with the bases loaded. It was nice to kind of pick up my team and be able to have that at-bat be a home run, especially to decide the game.”

As for the battle with Nava and Victorino or an outfield spot of any kind, Farrell said Castillo’s impressive spring (.400/2 HRs in four games) won’t make his decision any more difficult.

“I don’t know that he’s making it a difficult decision,” Farrell said. “He’s a good player, we’ve got a number of good players, and we’ll take every day of spring training to settle on who our Opening Day roster is going to be.”

“I’€™ve been playing both center and right field in Cuba for a long time, so it’€™s not a new position to me,” said Castillo, who appeared to be a bit hung up on a fly to right field in the seventh that turned into a triple. “On that play, it was just one of those plays, I just didn’€™t grab it. But no, I’€™m not having any sort of difficulty adjusting to a new position or anything like that. at least not to this point.

“I think I’€™m pretty close to where I want to be, especially recently coming back from an [oblique] injury. What’€™s been helpful is to continue to have my disciplined routine and not just in the cages with the medical staff and everything. I feel pretty close to where I want to be.”

Other notes from Thursday:

  • John Farrell left the door open that Koji Uehara could possibly be back pitching in games as soon as this Monday if his training program and bullpen work goes well this weekend.

    “The plan is for him to get on the mound on Saturday,” Farrell said. “Today there was more intensity to his running, roughly 60-70 percent intensity. Following the off-day, today was a sizable step forward with Koji.”

  • One change to the rotation for this weekend: Rick Porcello will pitch Saturday in the minor league game in Fort Myers while, Steven Wright – a candidate to start the season as the fifth starter – will pitch on Saturday against the Rays in Port Charlotte.

    “To get one day removed from two others that are starting on Friday in Buchholz and Joe Kelly, and a chance to see Steven against another opponent in our division,” Farrell said.

  • Blog Author: 
    Mike Petraglia