CLEARWATER, Fla. — Grady Sizemore may or may not be the starting center fielder for the Red Sox when they take the field on March 31 at Camden Yards in Baltimore. But John Farrell made it clear that at some point, likely early in the season, when he does start to play, he’ll be the starting center fielder to stay.
“We have every reason to believe at this point that he is a likely candidate to become an every day player, with durability on his side at some point,” Farrell said of the veteran outfielder who is batting .360 in eight games this spring.
Recovering from chronic knee and back ailments over the past two seasons, Sizemore came into camp not having played a competitive game since Sept. 2011. Sizemore, who’s also had a sports hernia and a bad elbow, has impressed coaches and fans alike with athletic plays in the field and a compact, efficient swing at the plate.
“There’s a progression we’re following to get to everyday play but the most encouraging thing is he has not hit the proverbial wall where we’ve bumped up against the limits and have to pull back,” Farrell said before Friday’s game against Philadelphia at Bright House Field. “We haven’t reached that yet, which is all extremely positive.”
Sizemore played in all nine innings for the first time Thursday against the Yankees and Farrell said he came through it very well and is on schedule to return to the field in a minor league game Saturday. He’ll play for the Red Sox again on Sunday and Monday and be evaluated on Tuesday morning to see how he handled the three straight games and five in six days.
“The medical exam, the medical information is guiding us with a progression. But every piece of feedback from the medical staff has been positive with the end thought that he’ll become an every day player,” Farrell said. “”There’s no template. That why we have experts in [Sports Medical Director] Dan Dyrek and our medical staff that give us that guidance.”
Despite the encouraging tone, Farrell still would not commit to Sizemore even heading north with the team when they break camp on Saturday.
“I don’t know that I would go to that point yet,” Farrell said. “I think we need to get through this coming week first.”
If Sizemore does indeed start every day in center, he will likely be the leadoff hitter as well. Thursday night, he batted first, followed by Shane Victorino, Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz and Mike Napoli. That is a scenario that could easily translate into the regular season.
“If we have Grady in the leadoff spot, it gives us another good player,” Farrell said. “The lineup we saw [Thursday] is one scenario, one version, right-handed, left-handed matchups that are there, rest requirements might be needed. I think you know who our guys are and roughly the spots they’re in the lineup. I think we showed early in the season and late in the season that we would make changes based on matchups or who’s swinging the bat a little bit better at a given time.”
More from John Farrell:Clay Buchholz will stay behind and throw a minor league game on Sunday, March 30, while the team is already in Baltimore. Buchholz, who’s already made four starts this spring, is in line to start April 5 against Milwaukee at Fenway. But as the No. 5 starter to begin the season, he will need to make two more starts in spring, with one coming Tuesday in Port Charlotte against the Rays and the second on March 30, likely in Fort Myers.
“I think it’s critically important that he doesn’t miss that last start,” Farrell said. “So that’s something we’ll sit down and we’ll talk about.”Craig Breslow continues to be in line for his first outing of spring Monday in Sarasota: “Twenty pitches of live BP today and came out of that fine. Good intensity and he’s on tap for Monday’s first game action.” In addition to making his fourth start of the spring Friday, Jon Lester got his first at-bat, thanks to the host Phillies and manager Ryne Sandberg not choosing to allow the DH rule in the spring game. Before his first at-bat, Lester asked catcher Wil Nieves something and proceeded to take three pitches for a strikeout: “These situations are exchanged early in camp, almost right at the beginning of the game schedule,” Farrell said before the game. “I think there was a willingness if Ortiz were on the trip but we weren’t going to make that concession. A manager will look at his own team and know what his needs are. We’re the visitors and we play by the rules.” The Braves will offer DH when the Red Sox visit Disney on Saturday. Farrell heard about the wicked line drive off the face of Cincinnati Reds closer Aroldis Chapman on Wednesday night. That’s all, frankly, he wanted or needed to know.
“I haven’t seen the replay and actually, I haven’t really sought it out to see it,” Farrell said of the line drive off the bat of Kansas City’s Salvador Perez. “I read the report, saw what happened. Scary.”
Scary is one way to put it. Chapman was actually lucky, by most accounts, that the liner hit him above the left eye and bridge of the nose and not lower. He needed nearly three hours of surgery and a metal plate to stabilize the facial fractures. Early estimates have him missing 6-8 weeks while he recovers from the fracture and the concussion. He won’t be able to actively exercise for a month while the healing process takes hold.
MLB has discussed offering some sort of protective padded cap to protect pitchers but those discussions are very preliminary.
“Honestly, I haven’t seen a prototype,” Farrell said. “It was talked about. I haven’t even seen any official announcement where these are an option. In this instance, I don’t know that there’s anything that can be done,” Farrell said. “I don’t know that any protective hat would have deflected the blow. Just hopefully, he can make a full recovery.”On the 2013 Red Sox being the closest knit team he’s been around in 30 years of baseball: “It starts with the people themselves and the selection of people, the backgrounds that we became aware of. The reputations that they had as not only people but good teammates and the combination of all that were brought in, in addition to the holdover players. It was just a group of guys that meshed extremely well. Some of the challenges that we faced as a team probably helped galvanize that a little bit more. The tangible thing is the people that are in it.”
Did he think of growing a beard? “No, no.”On instant replay being helpful in spring training: “It’s hard to say that because we’re dealing with half of a system right now. We have no ability to have it reviewed internally so while this is almost a dress rehearsal. You’re walking out and just asking an umpire, ‘Hey, review it.” And we’re missing the meat of the system, and that is what our people will review inside and how we relay that information and whether we challenge or not. I know that’s all we have to work with right now but you can say any manager could walk out and say, ‘Hey, challenge this play.’ I don’t think that takes a lot of rehearsal.
“It’s just that fact that we know that we have an added tool. To me, it’s going to be drastically different when the regular season opens up. We don’t have the system. We walked through it logistically, yes. We’ve walked through it, critically thought how a play would unfold, the rough amount of time we would need to have the information relayed to say yay or nay to a challenge but that’s all we have to go by right now.
“We’ve already gotten through meetings on the actual functionality of the system. What we haven’t been able to rehearse is the review of the video, the pick-up of the phone, the answering it and walk through that part of it. That’s where you appreciate the ability to use replay here but it’s going to be different.
“For instance, a game like [Thursday], if this is in Yankee Stadium or Fenway, there’s probably going to be up to 16 to 20 angles because you have three stations carrying it unlike a game elsewhere where there might not be the same amount of coverage and you’re not going to same number of angles. The system is standardized and it’s installed by MLB. All that is standardized equipment [in clubhouses].”On one more clarification of the new “Buster Posey” sliding rule at home plate between runner and catcher: “Really, boil it all down, if the runner deviates his base path, that’s where the player can be ejected. But if the catcher is standing at home plate, that catcher can be run over. If he’s without the ball, then he’s automatically safe. But you can still run him over. So basically, it’s the runner, if he deviates off his established base line. Basically, there eliminating the runner going out of the line where Posey got hit.”
Pete talks with The Senator, Phil Perry about the Patriots trading for Dwayne Allen, ruling out a return to New England for Martellus Bennett. They also talk about the potential future of Patriots backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo and some of the big names in NFL free agency
Pete, Thornton and Price give their final thoughts and predictions for the Super Bowl.
Gabe calls the boys to handicap one of the biggest gambling days of the year - Super Bowl 51! Gabe has all the point spread info down and gets to all of the major prop bets that interest him.
Kirk, Gerry, and Alex Reimer discuss whether or not Isaiah Thomas will win a title in Boston.
Gerry, Kirk, and Trenni react to the Celtics loss against the Suns.
The NBA trade rumor mill is beginning to swirl as the deadline approaches and Picard is ready to go! He talks about the possibility of Jimmy Butler coming to Boston, why Isaiah Thomas is not getting enough respect and the future of the Celtics.
Rob Bradford is joined by Drew Pomeranz, the Red Sox pitcher who so many are wondering if he will be able to live up the value placed on him by the Red Sox when trading away top pitching prospect Anderson Espinoza last July. Pomeranz goes into detail regarding his injury last season, the stem cell treatment he underwent in the offseason, and how he thinks things stand heading into the 2017 campaign.
Rob Bradford is joined by Tom Caron, the man responsible for guiding the ship when it comes to Red Sox pregame and postgame shows, along with various other important duties with the New England Sports Network, including offering the play-by-play for both TV and radio throughout spring training. Tom and Rob discuss a variety of topics, such as nickname conundrums, radio vs. television, criticizing the team, behind-the-scenes for the broadcasts and where the industry is going.
Rob Bradford is joined by two-time All-Star outfielder Carlos Quentin, who is attempting a comeback with the Red Sox this spring. Quentin's path back to baseball involves almost quitting the game less than a year ago, losing 40 pounds and trying to sell himself to general managers all over Major League Baseball. Quentin explains his journey, which has led him to the back fields at JetBlue Park.
Hour 4. Joe Sullivan didn’t want to appear on K&C. Instead, he appeared on Brand X. Drellich thinks working the beat is just as hard as when Gerry did it. Gerry likes Fences.
Hour 3. Drellich thinks Trump is a pathological liar while Gerry thinks Trump doesn’t lie as much as Obama. Kirk is sick of show promos and says K&C will no longer participate. Drellich says everyone did steroids just like everyone deflates balls.
Hour 2. Evan Drellich defends Michael Che, saying that it’s possible to say Boston is racist if you are black. Gerry and Kirk battle with Drellich, defending the city against Michael Che’s allegations. In headlines, the guys revisit the Maison family.
HOUR 4 - How many big-games does Tuukka Rask have to miss before guys like Bergeron and Marchand call him out for it? Also, Belichick skips the coach's breakfast, the Raiders are headed to Las Vegas, Kirk rips "The Baseball Show" and Dale, Holley and Keefe rip the Whiner Line.
HOUR 3 - LaVar Ball joined ESPN's "First Take" again on Monday, and brought his NBA-bound son, Lonzo, with him. Unlike his father, Lonzo says all the right things, and is good at basketball. The guys also discuss Lonzo Ball's poor performance against Kentucky, and wonder if that will affect his draft status or his general perception by fans. Also, Dino is selling that house we heard so much about, at Miromar Lakes.
HOUR 2 - The Celtics are tied with Cleveland for 1st place in the East (although Cleveland has 2 games in hand) and are poised for a top 3 pick in the draft. "FiveThirtyEight" says the Celtics have a better chance than the Cavs of winning a championship. Also, the guys discuss Devin Booker's 70 point game, and how some of the Celtics players were chirping him about it.
We finish the show with the best sound clips of the day.
People are unsure if Tuukka can be trusted in net in these big spots coming up and if the Celtics even stand a chance against Cleveland so Dale, Holley, and Keefe discuss.
Dale, Holley, and Keefe sort through Robert Kraft's comments at the owners' meeting regarding key Patriots players.
Kirk Minihane, future radio hall of famer, sits down with current radio hall of famer Howie Carr. Kirk and Howie talk about Howie's latest book Kennedy Babylon. If you like famous people engaging in sex scandals, hard drug taking, and murder this is the podcast for you. Its a fascinating look at Boston's most famous family and the problems that took the family down.
Kirk Minihane, host and overlord of the morning show, brings Gerry Callahan and producers Chris and Ken into the studio to hear his show proposal. Kirk is thinking about making some changes to the morning show and wants to hear his crew's opinion.
SI's Richard Deitsch returns to the podcast to talk with Kirk about the K&C casting couch, how ESPN wimps out when they are called out for slander, what's going on with Bill Simmons, and the rise of podcasting.
Christian Fauria and Dr Gill go over the difficulties of staying healthy through the long grind of the playoffs in the NBA and in the NHL.
Ken Laird and Chris Curtis recap an Evan Drellich revival edition of the K&C Show on a Monday
Ben, Russ, and Alex discuss the USMNT victory over Honduras, Christian Pulisic's development for club and country, and Bastian Schweinsteiger's move to the Chicago Fire.
Hour 1. Evan Drellich makes his casting couch return. Over the weekend, Michael Che affirmed that he believes Boston is “the most racist city” he has ever been to.More from this show
Hour 2. Evan Drellich defends Michael Che, saying that it’s possible to say Boston is racist if you are black. Gerry and Kirk battle with Drellich, defending the city against Michael Che’s allegations. In headlines, the guys revisit the Maison family.More from this show
Hour 4. Joe Sullivan didn’t want to appear on K&C. Instead, he appeared on Brand X. Drellich thinks working the beat is just as hard as when Gerry did it. Gerry likes Fences.More from this show
Hour 3. Drellich thinks Trump is a pathological liar while Gerry thinks Trump doesn’t lie as much as Obama. Kirk is sick of show promos and says K&C will no longer participate. Drellich says everyone did steroids just like everyone deflates balls.More from this show
Kirk Minihane, future radio hall of famer, sits down with current radio hall of famer Howie Carr. Kirk and Howie talk about Howie's latest book Kennedy Babylon. If you like famous people engaging in sex scandals, hard drug taking, and murder this is the podcast for you. Its a fascinating look at Boston's most famous family and the problems that took the family down.More from this show