FORT MYERS, Fla. — John Farrell took a fun swipe the constant questions about his roster Monday before the game with the Twins at JetBlue Park.
“We’ve got some short-term questions with health that are apparent that we’ve talked about a lot,” Farrell said with a smile.
But the Red Sox manager certainly understands the daily queries about his roster given the health of Koji Uehara, Joe Kelly and the loss of Christian Vazquez. Those three changes alone have exponentially increased the complexity of his roster decision in the last week of spring training.
But there are still quality cogs on the roster that Farrell think can be part of the offensive machine that carries his team. On top of that, Farrell beamed about what he’s seen from his projected rotation this spring, starting with Clay Buchholz and Rick Porcello. He’s also seen enough from Wade Miley and Justin Masterson.
He made it clear Monday that all four plus Kelly is what he projects heading into the season with as a starting staff.
“I like it. But I like our team,” Farrell said. “I think our rotation is going to pitch well, I really do. We’ve had some performances in spring training that, with guys in the bullpen, give us weapons to match up. Getting Koji back will certainly be a boost. We’re not a perfect team but I like our team.”
Farrell indicated that he was not inclined to keep an extra outfielder, even with the health questions of Uehara and Kelly.
What exactly does he like from the group?
“On the whole, they like to work quick, and I’m a big fan of that,” Farrell said.
“I don’t know that anything is a real surprise. Our goal was to make sure we have five guys healthy, and we’re dealing with one situation that we’ll bring along. But Joe will get to us in time. Whether that’s next week or beyond, that remains to be seen. What I like about it is there’s five guys that have been in the big leagues and they have track records that we get some sense of known commodity or dependability out of them, and we can work with that.”
“You see it little by little and in combination with understand and knowing the work that’s going on with Chili prior to BP, I think we all want adjustments to happen more readily but hey, things will happen in time and you can see the adjustments being attempted at the plate. A couple of balls the other day that find their way to base hits, gives him a chance to relax a little bit and let some of the work being done really start to gain some traction.”
While Farrell said all the outfielders on the current roster would remain in the organization on Opening Day, he admitted he has no idea how it will play out when the decisions are made this weekend.
“[It’s] not an issue,” Farrell said. “We have a roster decision to make that’s looming by the time we break on Saturday, and there’s nothing that’s been definitively made.”
If the Red Sox are indeed set on keeping all of their outfielders, that would likely mean Jackie Bradley Jr. and Rusney Castillo would be optioned to start the season, with Allen Craig and Daniel Nava still on the roster.
Barring any late injury or setback, Farrell reiterated Monday that Shane Victorino is the starting right fielder, meaning Nava and Craig are the backup outfielders.
Other notes from Monday: Farrell announced that reliever Matt Barnes, who last pitched Saturday in Port Charlotte against the Rays, would be out of commission for a day or two as he recovers from food poisoning.