Sean Coyle

Sean Coyle

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox on Wednesday trimmed their big league roster to 51 players by moving a half-dozen to the minor league camp.

Infielders Sean Coyle and Travis Shaw were optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket, while first baseman/outfielder Brian LaHair and right-handed pitchers Miguel Celestino, Keith Couch and Noe Ramirez were reassigned to minor league camp.

Of the 51 players remaining on the major league roster, 38 are from the 40-man roster and 13 are non-roster invitees.

The Red Sox continue Grapefruit League play Wednesday with a game at JetBlue Park against the crosstown rival Twins.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford


Hanley Ramirez has made a good first impression on the Red Sox thus far. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)FORT MYERS, Fla. -- What should we make of Hanley Ramirez?


FORT MYERS, Fla. — The story of the game played at JetBlue Park was a Red Sox team that made four errors, with their first three pitchers — Clay Buchholz, Matt Barnes and Brandon Workman — giving up 10 runs on the way to an 11-3 loss to Jonny Gomes’ Braves.

But it was before and after the contest that the real pertinent news surfaced …

– Koji Uehara, who was expected to pitch an inning Tuesday, was scratched after hurting his left hamstring prior to the game.

“He strained his left hamstring running this morning, that’s why we held him out,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “He’s day-to-day right now … Again, it’s going to be a few days before we test him again and before we get him back into a game.”

Uehara has pitched in three games, two of which he allowed runs.

– The Red Sox appear to be shifting their approach when it comes to Matt Barnes, who allowed two runs on two hits and a walk in his one inning of work.

Instead of continuing to stretch out Barnes as a starter, the righty will get more usage over the coming days in shorter stints in order to see his potential effectiveness as a reliever.

“I wanted to take a look at him earlier in the game against more of the ‘A’ type lineups as opposed to the first couple of times out and today was the first exposure to that,” Farrell said. “We’re still taking a look at him in shorter stints right now.”

The manager added, “I thought he was amped up a little bit, in particular the first couple of curveballs he threw, it looked like he overthrew them a couple of times. And I think there was some adrenaline in there. As we shift his role and talk a little bit more about more frequent outings, he probably looks into that a little bit. There’s some legitimate competition there. But we’re not making the final decision on the roster today.”

– Joe Kelly, who left Monday’s game with biceps soreness, came out of his throwing Tuesday in good shape. The pitcher told that his plan is to play catch again Wednesday before throwing off a mound Thursday.

“I feel good right now. Just a little sore, but not much going on there today,” he said. “It was a lot different [than Monday]. It died down. It wasn’t as aggravating. There was a little bit there, but nothing to be worried about.”

As for making his next scheduled start, Sunday, Kelley noted, “If it was up to me I would be doing it, but the medical staff and coaches want to see how I feel when I throw off the mound before we jump to any conclusions. … I’m not alarmed over it.”

– Rusney Castillo will return to action Wednesday, participating in minor league games for the next few days on the back fields at Fenway South.

– Christian Vazquez, who felt soreness in his right elbow Friday night after gunning down a basestealer, was hopeful that he would be returning to the Red Sox’ lineup Friday.

– Brandon Workman experienced a tough outing in his quest to earn a spot in the bullpen, giving up four runs on four hits in his inning.

“Until his velocity gets back to where he’s been at previously pitching out of the bullpen, he’s got to locate,” said Farrell of Workman, whose ERA stands at 12.00. “And when he didn’t today, we saw what happened.”

Hanley Ramirez made easily his best catch of the spring, sprinting in front of center fielder Mookie Betts in the fourth inning. “That was for Arnie [Beyeler],” said Ramirez after the game, referencing his outfield coach who has been working with the left fielder throughout camp.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

FORT MYERS, Fla. — It was only for 1 1/2 seasons, but few (if anyone) has played a better left field at Fenway Park at Jonny Gomes.

It wasn’t by accident, and it wasn’t just because he was afforded a head start with the left field wall at JetBlue Park.

Jonny Gomes (Getty Images)

Jonny Gomes (Getty Images)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — It was only for 1 1/2 seasons, but few have managed the left field wall at Fenway Park as well as Jonny Gomes.

It wasn’t by accident, and it wasn’t just because he was afforded a head start with the left field wall at JetBlue Park.

“Well, I wouldn’€™t call myself an ambassador by any means,” said Gomes, now an outfielder for the Braves. “I think I played that wall pretty well. But I think the cat is out of the bag that that wall is way different. From the padding to the net, the dimensions, feet-wise, are the same. I wouldn’€™t be in any hurry to master JetBlue’€™s wall for Fenway’€™s wall, but I guess it’€™s a good starting point.”

So, what would be his recommendation to the Red Sox‘ new left fielder, Hanley Ramirez?

“I wouldn’€™t say experience as much as being extremely open and having the work ethic to learn it,” Gomes said. “That wall hasn’€™t moved in 100-plus years and balls are bouncing off that wall pretty similarly to the way they did 100 years ago. At the same time, it’€™s so foreign from anywhere else. It’€™s not like grabbing a wall and throwing a ball off it. There’€™s a lot to be learned off that wall.”

Gomes, who was hitting third for the Braves‘ visit to JetBlue Tuesday, was not only good at playing the Fenway wall, but in some ways he was an innovator.

Through working on the wall throughout his first spring training, Gomes incorporated a strategy never seen before from Red Sox left fielders — catching balls directly off the wall instead of letting them bounce.

The thinking behind the ploy was that little harm can be done if the ball is missed and gets away in front of the fielder. It would usually be a double, anyway.

It’s one of the many aspects of playing left field that outfield/first base coach Arnie Beyeler has been working with Ramirez on throughout the exhibition season. (Although the new left fielder hasn’t truly been tested too many times thus far.)

“He was very creative out there, catching the ball off the wall,” Beyeler said of Gomes. “He started working on that, practicing that. That’s something that if you don’t play enough games out there you’ll waste your time trying to do it and you create more problems. He sure opened an awareness of how you can control the game a little better.”

Now, it’s Gomes’ legacy that Beyeler is currently trying to pass on to Ramirez.

“The biggest thing that stands out to me is catching a ball off the wall, but you have to work on it,” the coach said. “You can’t go out there and do it, and then you still have to know speed of the runners, situations and if you get caught in between on a ball you change your risk/return on when you do something like that. He was really smart about that and had all kind of game awareness from that standpoint.

“It’s going to take time. It may take two or three years of getting to know all that stuff out there because you just don’t get a lot of those balls out there to you. That’s why we hit all those crazy balls out there to him, so it doesn’t seem all that different and you can let your ability take over and react instead of thinking about it.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

It wasn’t quite Carl Hubbell at the 1934 All-Star Game, but Tommy Layne will never forget his first win.

Tommy Layne

Tommy Layne

It wasn’t quite Carl Hubbell at the 1934 All-Star Game, but Tommy Layne will never forget his first win.

The left-hander, who’s battling Brandon Workman for the final spot in the Red Sox bullpen, earned his first victory with the Padres in September of 2012, and it wasn’t a gimme.

Called upon to pitch for the eighth time in 10 days, Layne faced the Murderer’s Row of the Dodgers lineup in the 10th inning of a tie game: Adrian Gonzalez, Matt Kemp, and Hanley Ramirez.

Three strikeouts later, Lane was back in the dugout. The Padres then scored three in the 11th to take the 6-3 win and get Layne in the record book.

“I remember them all,” Layne said recently. “Going into that day, I think I was going on six straight days of pitching, so (manager) Buddy Black had  told me before the day even started, ‘We’re going to try to stay away from you if we can.’ So it wasn’t like I was checked out, but when we got to the ninth and I still hadn’t gotten into the game, I figured I wasn’t going to get into the game.”

Black needed to burn four relievers just to reach the 10th, however, so Layne got the call.

First up, the batter Layne considers his nemesis: Gonzalez.

“They’re all great, but Adrian is by far my toughest out,” Layne said. “It doesn’t matter where I throw it. In, out, up, down, he gets a piece of it. He’ll foul me off and stay alive. I ended up striking him out on a cutter that I made a slider over the middle of the plate. I went back and watched the video. His hole is down over the plate that he swings and misses. Instead of throwing a cutter away, I basically made my cutter look bigger and threw a slider down the middle.”

Gonzalez (1 for 4 against Layne lifetime) swung through it. “That was cool,” Layne said. “Once I got past him, I felt like, ‘OK, I can get through this inning.'”

He punched out Kemp swinging on a high fastball, and then set up Ramirez to look for something inside before freezing him with a backdoor slider for strike three.

Layne has since added three more wins ‘€“ they’re hard to come by for left-handed specialists ‘€“ but he’ll never forget his first.

“I didn’t have much,” Layne said, “but I threw it up there and ended up getting them. Adrian, Kemp, Hanley. It was the meat of the order. It was awesome.”

Blog Author: 
John Tomase

FORT MYERS, Fla. — So far, the Red Sox have gotten the news they were looking for in regards to Joe Kelly.

Joe Kelly

Joe Kelly

FORT MYERS, Fla. — So far, the Red Sox have gotten the news they were looking for in regards to Joe Kelly.

The Sox starter, who left his outing Monday with stiffness in his right biceps, came to JetBlue Park feeling better. While it is still uncertain if Kelly will make his scheduled start Sunday, Tuesday’s check-up suggested no MRI would be needed at the current time.

“He comes in and feels improved over yesterday,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “There’€™s still a little bit of soreness there but we’€™re going to get his arm moving with some light catch. He went through a full workup here today. There’€™s no imaging at this point recommended or required. So what this means in terms of his next turn is yet to be determined.”

Farrell added: “The next couple of days will determine where he’€™s going to be in terms of rotation. He’€™s scheduled to start on Sunday. We will get him off the mound prior to the next time he gets into a game. There will probably be a couple of days of some rest, some rehab and maybe some light throwing. If that extends him out the sixth day, that’€™s possible. But we’€™ll know more in the coming days.”

While Kelly’s injury was for all to see, the one Christian Vazquez has been dealing with had been kept quiet until Farrell’s media session Tuesday.

Vazquez hasn’t played since feeling some soreness in his throwing elbow after gunning down a baserunner in the Red Sox’ meeting with the Yankees Friday night.

The catcher did feel well enough to throw some Monday, but still isn’t at the point where he is comfortable re-entering games. Vazquez will get at-bats on the Fenway South back fields in the coming days.

“He’€™s got a little bit of soreness in his elbow so we backed him out of games,” the manager noted. “He’€™s going to get some at-bats over on the minor league side tomorrow and Thursday. But with almost three weeks still remaining in camp we don’€™t want to push this by any means and give this a chance to calm down.

“He threw yesterday but not to where he’€™s without thought, where he’€™s really cutting it loose. As well as he throws and as valuable as his arm is to him as a player and to us behind the plate, we’€™re just backing him down a couple of days.”

Farrell also was optimistic that Rusney Castillo — who hasn’t played since injuring his left oblique during the Red Sox’ game against Boston College — might be in the lineup Wednesday. Castillo told Monday he did feel 100 percent.

“He’€™s going to go through a full workout today, including throwing to the bases and I’€™ll get a chance to meet with him when he comes out of that,” Farrell said. “But we’€™re still targeting tomorrow.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford