FORT MYERS, Fla. — The plan seemed like a feasible one.

Against left-handed starting pitchers, Hanley Ramirez would move to first base with Chris Young sliding into the designated hitter spot. Considering how Young typically tortures southpaws — finishing last season with a .999 OPS — it made sense.

But, as we sit here, the blueprint is murky.

FORT MYERS, Fla. — First you saw the video of Andrew Benintendi spending the offseason lifting chains. Then came the image of his newly-crafted arms while playing on a baseball field.

Andrew Benintendi (Steve Mitchell/USA Today Sports)

Andrew Benintendi (Steve Mitchell/USA Today Sports)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — First you saw the video of Andrew Benintendi spending the offseason lifting chains. Then came the image of his newly-crafted arms while playing on a baseball field.

The 22-year-old outfielder had made it a point to gain muscle, and he did, heading into camp at 186 pounds. News flash: With just a few days before the regular season, Benintendi has lost a pound.

It’s good news for the Red Sox and their left fielder.

Benintendi has managed to keep on the weight throughout the rigors of spring training, something he struggled with a year ago while residing close to 170 pounds. The reshaped body has worked just as planned, with the lefty hitter totaling three home runs, six doubles and an OPS of .980 in 61 Grapefruit League at-bats.

“Overall, I feel better. I feel stronger,” Benintendi said. “I think this time last year my body was kind of worn out, being in the heat all the time and playing every day. Right now I feel good. I feel fresh and I’m ready to roll.

“I put in a lot of work this offseason and it’s translated well so far. Hopefully it holds up for the last few days.”

What will be interesting to see when the regular season rolls around is not only if Benintendi’s production will carry over, but how he grades out at the plate, on the basepaths and in the field with the new StatCast system.

“I feel like my exit speed is there, hitting it harder,” said Benintendi, whose hardest hit ball was 104.1 mph, coming on a double off Dylan Bundy on Sept. 19. “I just feel like I can drive the ball more. The ball is going farther and I’m hitting it harder. I also feel more powerful running. I don’t know if I’m faster, but maybe quicker.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

Andrew Benintendi (Steve Mitchell/USA Today Sports)

Andrew Benintendi (Steve Mitchell/USA Today Sports)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — First you saw the video of Andrew Benintendi spending the offseason lifting chains. Then came the image of his newly-crafted arms while playing on a baseball field.

The 22-year-old outfielder had made it a point to gain muscle, and he did, heading into camp at 186 pounds. News flash: With just a few days before the regular season, Benintendi has lost a pound.

It’s good news for the Red Sox and their left fielder.

Benintendi has managed to keep on the weight throughout the rigors of spring training, something he struggled with a year ago while residing close to 170 pounds. The reshaped body has worked just as planned, with the lefty hitter totaling three home runs, six doubles and an OPS of .980 in 61 Grapefruit League at-bats.

“Overall, I feel better. I feel stronger,” Benintendi said. “I think this time last year my body was kind of worn out, being in the heat all the time and playing every day. Right now I feel good. I feel fresh and I’m ready to roll.

“I put in a lot of work this offseason and it’s translated well so far. Hopefully it holds up for the last few days.”

What will be interesting to see when the regular season rolls around is not only if Benintendi’s production will carry over, but how he grades out at the plate, on the basepaths and in the field with the new StatCast system.

“I feel like my exit speed is there, hitting it harder,” said Benintendi, whose hardest hit ball was 104.1 mph, coming on a double off Dylan Bundy on Sept. 19. “I just feel like I can drive the ball more. The ball is going farther and I’m hitting it harder. I also feel more powerful running. I don’t know if I’m faster, but maybe quicker.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

Chris Young (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Chris Young (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The plan seemed like a feasible one.

Against left-handed starting pitchers, Hanley Ramirez would move to first base with Chris Young sliding into the designated hitter spot. Considering how Young typically tortures southpaws — finishing last season with a .999 OPS — it made sense.

But, as we sit here, the blueprint is murky.

Ramirez still hasn’t played in the field due to an ailing right shoulder, and it is unclear if he will be able to man first when the regular season rolls around next week. That would leave the righty hitter in the DH spot on a full-time basis, putting Mitch Moreland at first on a more regular basis, or allowing Josh Rutledge to get some action at the position.

Where it has left Young is with a whole lot of uncertainty.

“You think about it, for sure,” said Young regarding the possibility that Ramirez remains at DH due to his shoulder. “But you have no control over it. I can control what I can control. That’s all I try and focus on. I try and stay ready and be prepared for whatever situation comes my way, which is the same thing I did last year. Last year I didn’t know how things would fall into place, and they fell into place alright. Unfortunately I got hurt and that kind of changed the plan, but before that I was able to earn my way into the lineup. My goal is to earn my way and to show I can help the team in whatever aspects they need and stay ready.”

If the DH spot doesn’t open up, that would leave Young having to serve as a sub for an outfield that wouldn’t appear to need much turnover. The days Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts might need a down day would seem to be few and far between.

It would seemingly put Young in a similar spot as he found himself last April, when he got just five starts in the entire month.

There is always the strong likelihood that something changes as the schedule unfolds, as Young remembered happening last season. There ended up being 10 starts in May, and then 17 in May before he was sidelined for two months with a hamstring injury.

“That’s all you can do, is to continue to prepare every day like you’re playing that day and continue to show up ready to take advantage of any opportunity that comes,” he said. “If you let off, or sulk, or let too much from the outside influence your head, when that opportunity does come your way you’re not prepared for it. I choose not to go that route. I choose to go the route of being prepared all the time.”

And then there is the adjustment he will have to make if Ramirez actually does start playing the field. For his entire career, Young has only hit out of the designated hitter spot in for 35 plate appearances, going 4-for-29. Last year he managed just two at-bats as a DH.

“It will be different, but players have to make adjustments every year,” Young said. “I’ve always had to make adjustments. Even when I was playing every day I had to continue to make adjustments in my game. That work never stops. I’ll stay ready for whatever.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

Chris Young (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Chris Young (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The plan seemed like a feasible one.

Against left-handed starting pitchers, Hanley Ramirez would move to first base with Chris Young sliding into the designated hitter spot. Considering how Young typically tortures southpaws — finishing last season with a .999 OPS — it made sense.

But, as we sit here, the blueprint is murky.

Ramirez still hasn’t played in the field due to an ailing right shoulder, and it is unclear if he will be able to man first when the regular season rolls around next week. That would leave the righty hitter in the DH spot on a full-time basis, putting Mitch Moreland at first on a more regular basis, or allowing Josh Rutledge to get some action at the position.

Where it has left Young is with a whole lot of uncertainty.

“You think about it, for sure,” said Young regarding the possibility that Ramirez remains at DH due to his shoulder. “But you have no control over it. I can control what I can control. That’s all I try and focus on. I try and stay ready and be prepared for whatever situation comes my way, which is the same thing I did last year. Last year I didn’t know how things would fall into place, and they fell into place alright. Unfortunately I got hurt and that kind of changed the plan, but before that I was able to earn my way into the lineup. My goal is to earn my way and to show I can help the team in whatever aspects they need and stay ready.”

If the DH spot doesn’t open up, that would leave Young having to serve as a sub for an outfield that wouldn’t appear to need much turnover. The days Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts might need a down day would seem to be few and far between.

It would seemingly put Young in a similar spot as he found himself last April, when he got just five starts in the entire month.

There is always the strong likelihood that something changes as the schedule unfolds, as Young remembered happening last season. There ended up being 10 starts in May, and then 17 in May before he was sidelined for two months with a hamstring injury.

“That’s all you can do, is to continue to prepare every day like you’re playing that day and continue to show up ready to take advantage of any opportunity that comes,” he said. “If you let off, or sulk, or let too much from the outside influence your head, when that opportunity does come your way you’re not prepared for it. I choose not to go that route. I choose to go the route of being prepared all the time.”

And then there is the adjustment he will have to make if Ramirez actually does start playing the field. For his entire career, Young has only hit out of the designated hitter spot in for 35 plate appearances, going 4-for-29. Last year he managed just two at-bats as a DH.

“It will be different, but players have to make adjustments every year,” Young said. “I’ve always had to make adjustments. Even when I was playing every day I had to continue to make adjustments in my game. That work never stops. I’ll stay ready for whatever.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

The Red Sox announced on Tuesday that right-hander Kyle Kendrick has been reassigned to minor-league camp.

How long he stays there is another question entirely.

Kyle Kendrick

Kyle Kendrick

The Red Sox announced on Tuesday that right-hander Kyle Kendrick has been reassigned to minor-league camp.

How long he stays there is another question entirely.

Kendrick, 32, has impressed this spring, going 3-0 with a 2.17 ERA and 26 strikeouts vs. just four walks in 29 innings. The veteran right-hander hasn’t appeared in the big leagues since going 7-13 with the Rockies in 2015. He made 20 starts in the Angels system last year.

Kendrick has vaulted atop the organizational depth chart with his strong spring, making him the probable first line of defense if there’s an injury to a member of the rotation.

His chance could come sooner than later, with left-hander Drew Pomeranz getting a late start because of a sore elbow and then leaving one outing because of a sore triceps. Pomeranz owns a 9.00 ERA in three starts this Grapefruit League season and will be monitored closely as the season approaches.

The Red Sox are already down a starter because of David Price’s elbow injury, which means if Pomeranz can’t go, the Sox will be dipping into the minors for a starter, and Kendrick has put himself in a position to answer that call.

The nine-year vet is 81-81 lifetime between the Phillies and Rockies. He will remain with the Red Sox through his start against the Nationals on Thursday. The Red Sox now have 36 players in camp, including five non-roster invitees.

 

Blog Author: 
John Tomase

Tyler Thorburg hasn't pitched for the Red Sox since March 1.</p>
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SARASOTA, Fla. — Another year, another key bullpen acquisition seemingly headed to the disabled list before Opening Day.

Last year, it was right-hander Carson Smith, who was hurt early in spring training and ended up undergoing Tommy John surgery. The Red Sox hope he’s ready to return this June.