Rick Porcello apprenticed under some of baseball's most renowned aces in Detroit. (Getty Images)FORT MYERS, Fla. – Rick Porcello spent six years in Detroit enrolled in a master class.



Joe Kelly

Joe Kelly

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.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Much has been made of David Ortiz criticizing baseball for implementing a new rule preventing hitters from stepping out of the batter’s box in an attempt to shorten games.

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Much has been made of David Ortiz criticizing baseball for implementing a new rule preventing hitters from stepping out of the batter’s box in an attempt to shorten games.

But if not the MLB-mandated batter’s box regulation, then how would Ortiz shave time off these games? Appearing on the Hot Stove Show: Spring Training Edition Thursday night, the Red Sox‘ designated hitter offered one of his solutions.

“First thing I would do would be cancel the replay thing,” Ortiz said. “That takes a lot of time. When you have to review a play that just happened, man, sometimes that takes forever. If you call safe or out, they should just leave it right there like it used to be.

“It’€™s taking forever, and we’€™re talking about shortening up the time. It’€™s taking forever. They have to go review and make sure the guy from New York say whatever he has to say. Sometimes you’€™ll be like, ‘€˜Man, this is taking forever.’€™”

According to an MLB report in the middle of the 2014 season, the average time for a replay was 1:50. One adjustment made to the process for ’15 is the ability for managers to inform umpires they want to challenge a play without leaving the dugout.

Another solution offered by Ortiz to speed things up would be to limit pitching changes made by managers. According to FoxSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal, such an idea was floated by Cubs president Theo Epstein at the most recent GM Meetings.

Epstein’s idea was to make it mandatory that all relievers be forced to face at least two (and possibly as many as three) batters per appearance.

“How about every manager wants to match up every hitter after the fifth inning,” Ortiz said. “That takes forever, too. There’s games you see five or six guys pitching. That takes forever. So, if you’re talking about timing, it’s critical. The time you plan on saving, it’s not going to be saved.”

Also on the show, Ortiz reiterated his stance regarding the batter’s box rule.

To listen to the entire interview, click here.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford
David Ortiz takes a few minutes to talk with Mut, Bradford, and Tomase about some of his new teammates, who Pablo Sandoval reminds him of, and the rules aimed at speeding up the game of baseball.

[0:00:07] ... in Boston John Tomas here are broadcast Booth. WEEI dot com in Fort Myers and rob Bradford on a special assignment on the field a special guest rob go that. Yeah I'm standing underneath the the bowels of jetBlue I don't know if you can some in underneath the bowels of jetBlue park but that's what we're doing its rating out. We distributed David Ortiz so he's been nice enough to join us for a couple minutes and and that David you know. I'm I am a ...
[0:07:56] ... teammates you have guys that your friendly with Pablo sand of all Hanley Ramirez who was here. As a minor league or it's it it's a new looking team this year up of the new guys. ...
[0:08:52] ... Dave David the you know last year. We have a lot of Nelson Cruz talks right with the north this I don't think that you're going to be talking about what free agents can. Vivian Gatt ...
[0:09:25] ... you feel right. Now about this line. Well for subordinated debt hole Nelson Cruz talk was because we really talk about it when he was out there is free agent and you saw the damage that he did. He was the reason why Bork went to the playoffs. We've got if you would put a Nelson Cruz and we're lineup we might have been enough to. You don't say because we love starts a game by one run and ...






Mut, Bradford, and Tomase are talking Red Sox spring training. and talk with Red Sox DH David Ortiz about the rules aimed at speeding up the pace of the game

[0:07:20] ... giveaway up until last year. Guess what my we get fooled by Grady Sizemore last year today obviously go get a yeah no but but but but that's my point is it. You bet if it ...
[0:09:04] ... about the Al few big I. What's about to me was what Curt Schilling said yesterday with the NC and I know you guys have heard it by now. I'm curious what kind of reaction it ...
[0:10:34] ... buckled for tailored to guard. So it's OS I I don't think Curt Schilling Chile has. A lot of affection for buckled but but is he wrong all right guys rob is he wrong no no ...
[0:13:28] ... certainly not banked it. I think the guys if you talk about John Farrell and who he thinks is going to be amazed I think the guy who bear kind of maybe aren't verbalize it is ...






David Ortiz takes a few minutes to talk with Mut, Bradford, and Tomase about some of his new teammates, who Pablo Sandoval reminds him of, and the rules aimed at speeding up the game of baseball.

[0:00:07] ... in Boston John Tomas here our broadcast Booth. WEEI dot com in Fort Myers and rob Bradford on a special assignment on the field a special guest rob go that. Yeah I'm standing underneath the the bowels of jetBlue I don't know if you can some in underneath the bowels of jetBlue park but that's what we're doing it's raining out. We distributed David Ortiz so he's been nice enough to join us for a couple minutes in. And that David you know. I'm I am a ...
[0:07:56] ... new teammates you have guys that your friendly with Pablo Sandoval all Hanley Ramirez who was here. As a minor leaguer it's it it's a new looking team this year out of the new guys. If ...
[0:08:52] ... Dave David the you know last year. We had a lot of Nelson Cruz stuck right with the north this I don't think that you're going to be talking about what free agents can. Maybe in ...
[0:09:25] ... you feel right. Now about this line. Well for subordinated debt hole Nelson Cruz dog was because we really talk about it when he was out there as a free agent in you saw the damage that he did. He was the reason why Morton went to the playoffs. We got if you would put of Nelson Cruz in our lineup we might be in a playoff to. You don't say because we love starts a game by one run ...






Mut, Bradford, and Tomase are talking Red Sox spring training. and talk with Red Sox DH David Ortiz about the rules aimed at speeding up the pace of the game

[0:07:20] ... giveaway up until last year. Guess what my we get fooled by Grady Sizemore last year today obviously go get a yeah no but but but but that's my point is it. You bet if it ...
[0:09:04] ... about the -- few big I. What's about to me was what Curt Schilling said yesterday with the NC and I know you guys have heard of by now. I'm curious what kind of reaction it ...
[0:10:34] ... buckled for Taylor to guard. So it's OF I I don't think Curt Schilling Chile has. A lot of affection for buckled but but as you brawl guys rubs you wrong no no no but by ...
[0:13:28] ... certainly not bank it. I think the guys if you talk about John Farrell and who he thinks is going to be an ace I think the guy who bear kind of maybe aren't verbalize it ...






FORT MYERS, Fla. — There was some uncertainty if Shane Victorino would ever return to switch-hitting. Thursday, he offered some certainty.

FORT MYERS, Fla. — There was some uncertainty if Shane Victorino would ever return to switch-hitting. Thursday, he offered some certainty.

The Red Sox outfielder proclaimed after taking batting practice on the Fenway South fields that he would be hitting from both side of the plate this season. Victorino had abandoned hitting from the left side at the end of the 2013 season due to thumb and hamstring injuries.

“Yeah, absolutely,” the outfielder said when asked if he was looking forward to returning to life of a switch-hitter. “Everything feels great. It’€™s something I’€™ve been successful at and that I would like to go back to. The body feels good, and we’€™ll go from there. It’€™s a good thing to have in your back pocket, being able to switch-hit.

“I came into camp, I spoke to them about it and I told them I would like to try it again and they were all for it.”

Victorino did mix in three at-bats as a lefty hitter during the 2013 postseason, but the other 60 plate appearances came from the right side. He didn’t have any at-bats as a lefty in ’14.

“I feel awkward taking BP sometimes, and that’€™s the kind of things I want to work on,” he explained. “It’€™s about feel, it’€™s about path. But I have to get that feel. I’€™ve got to get that understanding of letting myself go. I have time. I’€™ve always been an aggressive hitter, but sometimes I can’€™t control my hands because it’€™s not natural so I have to slow everything down. I’€™m working on those kind of things. But it’€™s more about at-bats and seeing pitches. I feel great taking BP, but once that ball starts sinking, moving and changing speeds it’€™s a different ballgame. But I’€™ve been there before.”

Over his career, Victorino has better success from one side of the plate, excelling as a righty (.865 OPS) more then as a left-handed hitter (.724). His last two seasons (2012-13) as a full-time switch-hitter he had a combined .879 OPS as a right-handed hitter, and .655 OPS as a lefty.

New Red Sox hitting coach Chili Davis is optimistic about Victorino’s return to a practice he began back in 2005.

“From one year to the next, even if you’€™ve done it before, you come back to spring training and you try and refine it,” said Davis, who was also a switch-hitter. “He hasn’€™t forgotten anything. I think the thing with him is that it’€™s going to be such a pleasure to get back on that said and do the same things. All he’€™s doing is trying to retrain himself with the habits he had left-handed. He’€™s going about it the right way.

“I’€™m sure for him, you jump on the right side guys who didn’€™t throw that little slider, now they figure they can play with him differently. He feels good and he works at it. It’€™s probably going to come back quicker than he thinks.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford