FORT MYERS, Fla. — Edward Mujica was bad in his first two months with the Red Sox. Now we have an idea why.

Edward Mujica

Edward Mujica

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Edward Mujica was bad in his first two months with the Red Sox. Now we have an idea why.

Speaking prior to the Red Sox’ workout Friday morning, Mujica explained that besides adjusting to the American League, a probable cause for a subpar April and May was a neck issue.

According to the reliever, he was diagnosed with his C1 vertebrae being out of place by Red Sox medical personnel while taking his physical upon signing a two-year deal. Mujica insisted that it was an issue that wasn’t cleared up until midway through the 2014 season.

“My neck was bothering me when I got here, I got treatment and in spring training I felt good because of the weather,” said Mujica, who carried a 7.29 ERA after his first 22 appearances. “But then I felt sore in the neck because of the cold weather. I was also adjusting to the American League, all the teams have pretty good hitters 1-9. I just kept working every single day, watching videos, got that [physical] adjustment and got going in the second half.

“The figured it out in spring training. The CI was a little moved out of place, but they put it in the right place in spring training to get through the season. With treatment every single day it helped me a lot after the first two months.”

Mujica turned it around in the final three months, posting a 2.30 ERA in his final 34 outings. He also went 6-for-6 in save opportunities after assuming the closers role during Koji Uehara’s performance/injury-induced hiatus.

There was some thought prior to Uehara signing his deal, that Mujica might have crack at competing for the closers role. He will instead once again serve a set-up man to start ’15.

“Last year they gave me that opportunity at the end of the season and I did my job,” Mujica said. “It’€™s out of my hands. It’€™s their decision what they’€™re going to do. I’€™m going to be ready for whatever situation.

“Right now I feel pretty good. I don’€™t think about that. That’€™s their decision. I’€™m going to be out there working hard, trying to do my best when they call me to the mound. Same thing in the season. I’€™m going to be ready to go in whatever situation.”

Daniel Nava continues to work on hitting exclusively from the left side. ( photo)

Daniel Nava continues to work on hitting exclusively from the left side. ( photo)

- Daniel Nava isn’t officially leaving switch-hitting behind, but he is dabbling with the idea of batting left-handed against lefty pitching.

The approach was evident Thursday when Nava was put in a batting practice group that faced lefty pitchers, including southpaw reliever Dana Eveland.

“Right now he’s trying to figure out what he thinks is going to be difficult for him with a lefty-lefty matchup,” said Red Sox hitting coach Chili Davis. “The strike zone doesn’t change. It’s how you’re going to pick up the ball from a guy’s release point. You’re going to have to start reading pitches and seeing pitches.

“The beauty about Nav is that he’s a very patient hitter and if that carries over to what he’s doing this year, that’s going to be a benefit to him. He doesn’t swing at a lot of things. He’s not one of these guys who over-swings. I think in spring training we’re going to try and get him some at-bats against lefties, including some minor league lefties we can take him over to get work against.”

– The Red Sox posted their pitching rotation for the first few spring training games, with Clay Buchholz starting against Northeastern, with Rick Porcello coming in relief against the Huskies. Wade Miley is slated to start the nightcap vs. Boston College, followed by Steven Wright.

Joe Kelly will go against the Twins in the Red Sox’ Grapefruit League opener Thursday, with Justin Masterson likely to start Friday at JetBlue Park against the Marlins.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts stopped by the Dennis & Callahan show on Friday morning to talk about the upcoming season.

Mookie Betts

Mookie Betts

Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts stopped by the Dennis & Callahan show on Friday morning to talk about the upcoming season. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Up until last season when he made his debut with Boston, Betts had spent almost all of his time in the middle infield. He was needed in the outfield with the Red Sox, though, and so that’s where he went. However, the Sox since have added to their outfield depth, making his spot on the big league club no sure thing.

“I feel as if I’m just getting ready for the season,” Betts said. “Whether it’s in the big leagues, Triple-A, Double-A, wherever it is, I’m just getting ready for the season and not really focusing so much on making the big league team, just really just getting ready.”

And he’s willing to fill whatever role the team may need him in.

“Whatever [manager John] Farrell and [general manager Ben] Cherington, whatever they do is what’s going to be best for the Red Sox,” Betts said. “And if that’s me sitting and watching, that’s perfectly fine and I’ll just fill into my role.”

Betts hasn’t played a full season in the majors yet, but he said he’s learned a lot from his experience with the Red Sox, namely that much of succeeding in the game is mental.

“I know that it’s a long season,” he said, “and your body kind of wears down after a while, but when your body starts to wear down it’s important to become mentally strong, push your way all the way through until the end.”

Not everyone loves filling the leadoff spot in the lineup, but for Betts, it’s something that “gets him going.”

“I like taking pitches and letting everybody see, seeing everybody know what [the pitcher’s] got and how he’s going that day,” he said. “It’s also good to be in front of the guys who know how to thunder an at-bat and I can score from first, I don’t have to worry about stealing a whole bunch of bases and things.”

And though Betts is part of a large corps competing for a spot in the lineup, the 22-year-old said that doesn’t affect the way he gets along with his fellow outfielders, including Shane Victorino.

“Me and him, we talk pretty much every day because we all do our outfield work together and I’ve talked to him about a whole bunch of stuff,” he said. “I think we’re both looking at it as we’re just getting ready for the season and competing, not against each other, but the other team and whoever’s playing that day or whoever’s playing in general.”

Blog Author: 
Judy Cohen

Rick Porcello apprenticed under some of baseball's most renowned aces in Detroit. (Duane Burleson/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’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 ...