FORT MYERS, Fla. — Red Sox chairman Tom Werner made a name for himself in the ’80s and ’90s as a powerhouse producer of such cultural landmarks as Mork & Mindy, Taxi, and Roseanne. But the show he is most remembered for was one of the most important of that generation — The Cosby Show.

The sitcom’s reputation has been tarnished by allegations that star Bill Cosby serially and habitually drugged and raped dozens of women starting in the 1960s. Werner has not addressed the issue beyond a statement he and longtime collaborator Marcy Carsey released in November, but Wednesday at JetBlue Park, Werner touched on the subject.

“We made a statement about that, which I’m sure you saw, and beyond that, today, I really don’t want to be thinking about that,” Werner said after addressing the state of the Red Sox. “It’s a sad situation. I feel for everybody involved, but beyond that, I really don’t want to talk about it.”

Werner did, however, address the impact of the allegations on the show’s legacy. The Cosby Show was a touchstone for children of the ’80s, a program that brought family values into the living room every Thursday night at 8. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to view the show in that light now, but Werner hopes that changes.

“I do think it was a landmark show,” he said. “And I’m hoping that when people reflect on the show, that they can differentiate between this, and the joy and good feeling that that show brought to everybody. In the short run, it’s been tarnished. But the Cosby Show is more than just what’s going on right now.”

Blog Author: 
John Tomase

Red Sox manager John Farrell checked in with Dennis & Callahan from spring training in Fort Myers, Fla., on Wednesday morning to talk a

Red Sox manager John Farrell checked in with Dennis & Callahan from spring training in Fort Myers, Fla., on Wednesday morning to talk about the outlook for the team this season. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

The biggest question mark as spring training begins is the pitching staff, with the lack of a true No. 1 starter.

“We all know that there’s a label that certain pitchers have earned. But I tell you this: I feel very good about the five that are in the rotation,” Farrell said. “There’s talent. There’s some question with the bounce-back capability of Justin Masterson, with an injury late in 2013 that seemingly affected last year; Clay Buchholz‘s durability, consistency, comes to mind, but when he has been healthy he’s pitched equivalent to a No. 1; and, to me, Joe Kelly, who’s got the stuff to be that type of guy — we’ve got to extend his overall innings workload.”

Kelly’s name has been mentioned as perhaps the most likely candidate to be the team’s top starter.

“I think Joe Kelly’s got the ability to go I think a step up as he’s learning himself as a pitcher. He’s got the best stuff in our rotation,” Farrell said. “You’re looking at a guy who’s mid- to upper 90s with a very good breaking ball, a strong, competitive streak that we saw in the starts that he made for us last year. I’m going to talk optimistically, there’s no doubt about it, because I believe in and I like the talent that we have.”

ESPN analyst Curt Schilling appeared on D&C before Farrell and questioned Buchholz’s inner drive to succeed.

“I wouldn’t agree with that,” Farrell said. “Everyone certainly has the right to their own opinion. But having been with Clay for a number of years now, he loves to compete. He loves to be the best to his abilities. Now, there’s been some things that have held him back, and durability over the course of a career to date has come into play here a little bit. But I can tell you this: He’s driven and he’s got — as we all do — a lot of motivation coming off the year we just finished.”

The bullpen also has some issues after last year’s overhaul.

“There’s two spots that probably have five, six guys that are in competition for,” Farrell said. “To me, two guys have a chance to impact that bullpen as much as anyone. And that’s Alexi Ogando and Brandon Workman. Both have come in in good shape. We know what Alexi’s track record has been when he’s been healthy. He’s coming off a year in which he missed half the year because of injury. But through the due diligence, the physical, that checked out fine. His two bullpens so far have been very crisp. So good so far.”

The batting order has undergone a radical upgrade. Asked about who might lead off, Farrell said: “That’s a damn good question. I know we have three candidates right now. It’s Mookie [Betts], it’s Vic [Shane Victorino] and on certain days it’s going to be Brock Holt. But I will say this, that Mookie Betts was an impressive three visits to Boston last year. Each one, you saw some tangible change, some development, improvement. He’s got a chance to be a special player.”

Farrell has said that Victorino will start in right field if he’s healthy, leading to a question of where Betts would play.

“We’ve got some competition right in the middle of the diamond, and that’s in center field. That’s Mookie, that’s Rusney [Castillo],” Farrell said. “Spring training will give us all the information we need, particularly surrounding Vic and durability and how many days a week can he go out there and play. We want to keep him on the incline with getting back to baseball activity. He comes in unrestricted, but how many games a week? We have to find that out. That’s why so much focus is on this outfield group, and we’re here to determine that.”

Castillo played in a few games for the Sox last season, but the Cuban import has yet to show all he can do.

“This is an all-around player,” Farrell said. “He’s got some gap power, he’s got some occasional power to hit the ball out of the ballpark. What he’s learning from a baseball norm standpoint, the difference from Cuba to here is the information that is available on the baserunning. He’s got base-stealing capability, but he’s catching up to speed on all the information that we have to our disposal, how we implement it inside of a given game. But he’s a smart kid, and you know what, he’s a good defender. He’s probably a little bit ahead of Mookie as far as his outfield play just because of games played — he’s always been an outfielder, where Mookie is transitioning into that position.”

With the team coming off a last-place finish in 2014 and some players having had subpar seasons, Farrell acknowledged there’s a more intense attitude this year.

“There’d better be an edge,” Farrell said. “Because we know that there’s expectations that we have to deliver on each and every year. So if there’s a similar dynamic to that prior to 2013, yeah, I would say it’s similar. … You’ve got a number of guys that have come in here for the first time through free agency and trade, so there’s a newness and excitement around that group. So when you blend that together, it’s got a good vibe.

“I think guys looked around the clubhouse and said, ‘You know what? We’ve got a large group of really talented players. Our main thrust is that we’ve got to have a really good team, not just a group of individuals.’ ”

Despite the rough 2014 season, Farrell was given a contract extension by the Red Sox.

“I think it speaks to they’re at least comfortable with me,” Farrell said. “A lot of people are going to say you win a World Series one year and we finish last, as we did last year — Is it in between? Which one is it? I do know this, that we have an open line of communication, we know that we’ve got a very lofty goal of ours, and I appreciate the commitment, confidence by Ben [Cherington] and by John Henry, Tom Werner, Larry [Lucchino] and everyone in ownership.”

For more Red Sox news, visit the team page at weei.com/redsox.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar
Larry Lucchino (left) and Tom Werner meet with reporters Wednesday outside JetBlue Park. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Larry Lucchino (left) and Tom Werner meet with reporters Wednesday outside JetBlue Park. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — No one was more versatile in all of baseball in 2014 than Brock Holt. He started at seven different positions throughout the course of the season.

He was so versatile that he became an everyday player.

That dynamic has changed entering 2015 with the additions of Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez and the emergence of Mookie Betts.

“I think kind of similar spot as last year, move around, give guys days off when they need them but be ready to play all the time,” Holt said. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity to do that again and it’s something I enjoyed last year and something I’m looking forward to doing again.”

With a crowded outfield, Holt said he expects to used primarily in the infield.

“The majority of my [work] is probably going to be in the infield and then I’ll definitely go out in the outfield and do some stuff,” Holt said. “During [batting practice] it’s easy to go out there and get some reads during BP, too. I’ll probably spend most of my time in the infield but move around, depending on how I feel and how the day is going, move to do some outfield.”

Holt still has two gloves ready to go at all times.

“I’ve got all of them broken in right now. I’m waiting for some new ones to come in so I’ll have to do a little more work with those but I’ve got one infield glove for every position and then one outfield glove so it’s pretty easy,” he said.

Holt hit .281 with a .331 on-base percentage in 106 games last year, double his playing time over his previous two seasons combined.

“It was a lot of fun,” Holt said. “I was just happy I got an opportunity to play. Looking back on the season, obviously it didn’t go as we hoped as a team but for me to be able to get a chance to prove myself and be on the field was a huge thing for me. So, I’m looking forward to this year and the team we’ve got and we’re all ready to get going.”

“I don’t think I’m really looking at it as a battle at all. I think everyone is just going out there and trying to get their work done and hopefully everything takes care of itself. We’ve got a lot of good players in this locker room right now. Obviously, some things are going to have to be done but right now we’re in a good spot. The more good players you have the better.”

But Holt admits his mindset has to adjust to the fact that he may see his playing time decrease this season with the number of additions.

“It’s difficult,” Holt said of not knowing when he will start or not in 2015. “Last year, I played every day so this year is going to be a little different. Obviously John wants to write the same nine guys in the lineup and he’s got his nine probably in mind. I’m going to be ready to play. If I’m in there, great. If not, be ready to come in later in the game or be ready to go the next day.

“I finally got a chance to play last year and I don’t want to give that chance up,” Holt said. “No matter where I was at, I was just excited to play. I love playing baseball. Whatever position that might be, as long as I’m in the lineup, it doesn’t really matter to me.

“It’s not up to me. I let John and Ben and those guys make those decisions. I just go out and play as hard as I can and try to have fun.”

“We’ve got a lot of good players in this locker room and it’s a joy to be a part of it. Not many people can say they play for the Boston Red Sox. It’s one of the best jobs in the world and we’re all lucky to be here.”

Here’s more from Holt on Wednesday:

On being so anonymous in Boston: “I’m a pretty low-key guy. I don’t really go out and do a whole lot of stuff. But even if I did, I could probably walk around in my uniform and people still wouldn’t know who I was. It’s probably not a bad thing.”

On playing with and watching Xander Bogaerts: “Tremendous athlete. I think we saw what he’s capable of doing at the end of the year last year. He finished strong. I think everyone is kind of looking forward to watching him go this year because he’s a tremendous talent and he’s going to help us out a lot.”

On working with infield coach Brian Butterfield: “We’ve got the best infield coach in baseball in Butter. So to have him out there working with us and personally for me, he’s made me so much better of a defender. Just getting to work with him every day is going to help out a lot. I think Bogey is making the right strides.”

On getting to work on Wednesday, first full squad workout: “I think once we put this uniform on and it’s the first full day, I think everyone kind of gets a little bit antsy. It’s finally here. The previous days for us position players have been pretty chill. Just hit, BP, take ground balls but today the whole team is going to be out there. So, I think everyone is ready to go.”

Team meeting: John Farrell and Ben Cherington addressed the team Wednesday morning at 8:30, prior to their first full squad workout, with team chairman Tom Werner also offering some comments.

Moncada watch: Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada strolled into JetBlue Park just before 8 a.m., as he reported for his physical. Werner said the Moncada deal is still not official until he passes the physical so it’s not expected that Moncada will be on the field with the team anytime soon.

Lucchino in a sling: Team president and CEO Larry Lucchino, with his right arm in a sling and a splint on his left thumb, detailed his recent motorcycle accident in Northern California that resulted in a broken collarbone, several ribs being injured, a banged up knee and a sprained ankle. “Maybe the 30-day [disabled list] but I should be ready to go for the season,” Lucchino said. Lucchino reiterated what he told WEEI’s Dennis and Callahan earlier in the morning, that his basic job with the Red Sox hasn’t changed.

The Big Schill returns: Former ace Curt Schilling was back in Fort Myers Wednesday morning, as he teamed with partner Karl Ravech on the set of ESPN’s Baseball spring training caravan around Florida.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning to talk about the

Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning to talk about the American League East, pitching, the Red Sox and more. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

As it usually is in February, but more this year than others for Schilling, it’€™s tough to judge how good the American League East will be. There are question marks around many of the teams in the division, and different aspects of different clubs put them in position to fight for the first spot in the division or end up at the bottom.

“I don’t know that it’s terrible,” the ESPN analyst said. “The team that, to me, that could win by 15 games and I wouldn’t be shocked is Toronto.

“If you look around the division,” Schilling continued,”in Baltimore, they have by far one of the division’s best game managers and a roster that’s talented, but there are more talented rosters. I think if you look at Boston, you have a guy who’s a great communicator, probably not even, I don’t think anybody is the game manager that Buck Showalter is, and a very talented roster, but again, it’s February and there has never been a year for me more so than this year where they’re saying, ‘Hey, I want to see where they are at the end of camp.'”

Though the Red Sox have added some offense to the lineup, Schilling isn’t as enamored with the additions as some have been.

“I think it makes their lineup deeper,” he said. “As long as they’re healthy and David [Ortiz] is David and Pedey [Dustin Pedroia] is back. I don’t know, and maybe it’s personal, I never get overly emotional about offensive signings just because you can score as many runs as you want, but if you can’t stop them from scoring it doesn’t matter.”

Stopping the other team from scoring is up to both the defense and the pitching staff, which also got a bit of a makeover after the Sox did not sign Jon Lester, whose home now is Wrigley Field. Without Lester, Boston doesn’t have a clear ace, something that Schilling says doesn’t necessarily matter from April to September but becomes vital when making a run at October.

“You don’t have to have an ace to win,” he said. “April to September, you can build a 25-man roster that wins more games than other teams in your division, but who are you giving the ball to in a one-game play-in? And if you can’t immediately answer that question, then you need somebody to either step up and mature, which, to me, on this staff it’s Joe Kelly, or you need to find that guy at the break, the deadline.”

For Schilling, an ace is someone who can “make people swing and miss.” As many of the current Red Sox rotation are ground ball pitchers, the team doesn’t seem to have that one guy. For pitchers like that, it becomes imperative that the defense is sound so that the fielders can make plays when the ball comes their way. Schilling has noticed a trend in the MLB that supports this in that teams are “stockpiling position players.”

“Batting average and balls in play is a number, you don’t have a lot of control over it, but it’s a number that you can go extremes, and if you have a staff full of guys that are relying on your defense, that defense is not the same,” he said. “I think you’ve seen a lot of clubs do that. … I’ll get me seven infielders and five that can play shortstop, you can always move somebody from shortstop.”

Blog Author: 
Judy Cohen

Red Sox president/CEO Larry Lucchino stopped by for a visit with Dennis & Callahan from spring training in Fort Myers, Fla., on Wed

Red Sox president/CEO Larry Lucchino stopped by for a visit with Dennis & Callahan from spring training in Fort Myers, Fla., on Wednesday morning and downplayed reports that his power may have been diminished in the front office. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Red Sox minority owner Michael Gordon has increased his importance since purchasing more shares of the team, but Lucchino explained that Gordon’s role is more crucial with Fenway Sports Group than the day-to-day operations of the Red Sox.

“Mike plays a new and different role than he played the first few years since he acquired a much greater interest,” Lucchino acknowledged. “John addressed that yesterday. Very active in FSG matters, particularly Liverpool. But we use him as a consultant on Red Sox matters. He’s got a terrific financial mind.”

As for Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy questioning if Lucchino is “losing a power struggle at Fenway,” Lucchino brushed off that assertion.

“He may hear rumors that he believes. Believe me, I can’t explain Dan Shaughnessy’s machinations, nor do I try,” said Lucchino, who turns 70 in September. “I certainly am getting older, that’s a fact of life. At some point there will be some changes. But I don’t know what Dan’s sources are and where he’s getting that.”

Lucchino is one of the members of the group that purchased the Pawtucket Red Sox, adding to speculation that he might be looking for another venture as he eases out of his role with the parent club. He says that’s not the case.

“It’s pretty much been the same situation that we’ve had for 14 years except that Mike is more involved now, his role in FSG has expanded,” Lucchino said. “But no, my job is pretty much the same that it has always been. And even the new Pawtucket responsibilities will be more advisory and ballpark-oriented and will not change my day-to-day job.”

Lucchino said the PawSox venture, which includes plans to build a new park in Providence, is something he believes is a sound investment..

“There are a lot of good reasons for it,” Lucchino said. “One is baseball. It’s a great business to be in. I’ve been in it for most of my career. Doing something like this, putting a new ballpark in Providence for Rhode Island, would be a great undertaking, and I’d enjoy it. I’ve had plenty of experience doing ballparks over the years.

“Secondly, it’s a good business. I think it will be a good business for our investors and for ourselves. We think it’s a growing business. It’s been well run, certainly in Pawtucket they’ve got an experienced executive team there. But I think we can bring a few things from the Red Sox. The Red Sox are an owner of the club, one of the minority owners.”

Following are more highlights from the interview.

On John Henry saying Tuesday that the organization has “never been better”: “I think he’s talking bigger picture. I think he’s talking the internal governance, the depth of the team. We talk all the time about deep depth on the ball club, on the roster. We have that same kind of deep depth among the front office members. There are a lot of good people in important positions throughout the front office, and I think that’s what he’s talking about. And there’s a harmony and a familiarity that comes after all these years together as well. Of course, the situation with the manager and the general manager is stable and very positive. So I think that’s what he’s referring to, the front office organizational [situation].”

On manager John Farrell receiving a contract extension despite the team finishing last in 2014: “We do like stability, but we think John Farrell is a heck of a manager. And we didn’t make it easy for him on July 31st when we decided to do some other things to build for this year and the future. He’s a very solid manager and a terrific addition to this organization. It would be unfair in the extreme to blame last year’s poor performance on him.”

On the team not meeting the Cubs’ price for Jon Lester: “We made a judgment. This is an imperfect science, baseball talent evaluation. We made a judgment that we were going beyond where we were comfortable, how far beyond where we were comfortable would we go, would we be driven by other teams. We drew a line, and when it got past that we said that’s beyond what we thought was appropriate.”

On the 2015 season: “I am really eager for the season to begin, more so than I can remember. Maybe it just seems that way each spring. But there are so many questions about this team and so many interesting possibilities for this team, new players and young players. … So that makes this season I think really fascinating. I think there’s a bit of a buzz about this season going on back North as well. If I was a betting man, if you’re asking me to predict something, I think that Dustin Pedroia is finally going to be healthy, as he hasn’t been for the last two years, and I would bet on him returning to form.”

For more Red Sox news, visit the team page at weei.com/redsox.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar

FORT MYERS, Fla.

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Yoan Moncada arrived at Red Sox spring training Wednesday at 8:15 a.m., accompanied by a group that included his representative, David Hastings, and Red Sox assistant international scouting director Gus Quattlebaum.

Moncada was scheduled to take a physical in Fort Myers and then fly to Boston for a second round of medical testing.

The 19-year-old Cuban switch-hitting infielder agreed to a $31.5 million signing bonus with the Sox on Monday. After his physicals, he is slated to report to the team’s minor league camp March 2.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford