FORT MYERS, Fla. — Four of the Red Sox
five starters had never experienced a spring training outside the organization they signed with prior to this year. Now, Clay Buchholz
stands alone as only knowing one club’s approach to preparing for the season.
So now, after a few days of immersing themselves in the Red Sox way, Joe Kelly, Rick Porcello and Wade Miley can take stock of the differences, and nuances of training in Southwest Florida.
For Kelly, the indoctrination to life in and around JetBlue Park was helped along the other night on Daniels Parkway (the road that leads to the Red Sox’ complex).
“Don’t speed,” Kelly said when asked about what he has learned in regards to his new surroundings.
“I got pulled over the other night with my dogs,” the pitcher said. “They thought I was drunk driving but I was telling them to sit down in the back and got pulled over. The cop asked for my license. I didn’t have my wallet or proof or insurance, and he let me go. So it was pretty cool.”
Was his escape hastened by dropping the name of his employer?
“No, I didn’t,” said Kelly when asked if he mentioned he played for the Red Sox. “He got called in for I think a robbery. He was like, ‘I got to go. Drive slow.'”
Other than the difference in speed traps along the roads of Fort Myers and Jupiter, where he previously trained, Kelly suggests the first-time switch in spring training surroundings hasn’t been all that awkward.
“No. It really isn’t. Not really at all, for me,” the Cardinals’ former third-round pick said in regards to the suggestion the new surroundings might seem bizarre. “Same drills. Same kind of way to go about your business. The only thing different are the faces.
“In St. Louis we did more hitting and running and stuff because it was the National League. It’s a little bit easier here because you don’t have to do as much from a pitching standpoint as you do in a National League camp, where you have to take swings every day.”
Rick Porcello, on the other hand, can identify a difference compared to what he came from with the Tigers, the team that drafted the righty with the 27th overall pick in 2007.
“It is different,” he said. “You’re working on the same stuff, but the way you go about it is a little bit different from where I came from. It’s been awesome. The intensity level is high. You get after it. It’s something you don’t see as consistently in other plays.
“It’s definitely more structured, more up-tempo. We’re going hard right from the get-go, right from Day 1. There’s not feeling it out or taking it easy. We’re pretty much going game-speed, making it as realistic as they can make it.”
Wade Miley, the Diamondbacks’ first-round pick in 2008, explained his biggest challenge in entering his new world.
“The hardest thing for me is putting names with faces,” he said. “I was in Arizona since I was drafted, to you know everybody. Now, even some of the players I haven’t gotten name to face yet.”