Bradford checks in from spring training to give us all the media dirt he can dig up...oh, and talk some baseball too.
Rob Bradford is joined by Lou Merloni to talk life in spring training, his toiletries, sleeping arrangements, and facing off with Red Sox personnel that he might have been critical of. Rob and Lou also get into the dynamic of electronic and print media when it comes to ripping the Red Sox.

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Time is of the essence for any baseball family. So, with a brief window to take advantage of the availability of spring training, Dustin Pedroia carved out a few days to reunite with his wife, Kelli, and his three young sons, Dylan, Cole and Brooks.

Kelli and the kids flew from Arizona for the weekend before having to head back for school, leaving the family apart for more than a month.

So, with the Pedroias all in attendance — with the sons ranging in age from 7 years old to 2 years old — it was tough to miss their presence.

FORT MYERS, FL- FEBRUARY 18: Dustin Pedroia #15 of the Boston Red Sox takes a break from practice to talk to his sons Dylan, 7, Cole, 4, and Brooks, 2,  on February 18, 2017 at jetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Florida.   (Photo by Michael Ivins/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

FORT MYERS, FL- FEBRUARY 18: Dustin Pedroia #15 of the Boston Red Sox takes a break from practice to talk to his sons Dylan, 7, Cole, 4, and Brooks, 2, on February 18, 2017 at jetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Florida. (Photo by Michael Ivins/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

FORT MYERS, FL- FEBRUARY 18:  Dustin Pedroia #15 of the Boston Red Sox gets a hug from his son Cole, 4, during a break in practice on February 18, 2017 at jetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Florida.   (Photo by Michael Ivins/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

FORT MYERS, FL- FEBRUARY 18: Dustin Pedroia #15 of the Boston Red Sox gets a hug from his son Cole, 4, during a break in practice on February 18, 2017 at jetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Florida. (Photo by Michael Ivins/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Red Sox chairman Tom Werner dropped a little Patriots and Tom Brady reference on his team Friday morning during the organization’s kick off to spring training get-together.

“Different sport, but I guess he was trying to use it as some motivation,” said Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr.

Jackie Bradley Jr. (Winslow Townsend/USA Today Sports)

Jackie Bradley Jr. (Winslow Townsend/USA Today Sports)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Red Sox chairman Tom Werner dropped a little Patriots and Tom Brady reference on his team Friday morning during the organization’s kick off to spring training get-together.

“Different sport, but I guess he was trying to use it as some motivation,” said Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr.

So, while we’re talking Patriots …

With more than a handful of Pats either flat-out saying, or at least suggesting, they will be skipping the team’s trip to the White House, presumably due to the policies of current President Donald Trump, the topic came up in the Red Sox’ clubhouse.

So, if there is another Red Sox championship, and the opportunity to visit the White House presents itself, would Bradley Jr. go?

“If my team is going, yes, I’m going,” he said.

The Red Sox outfielder, who clarifies, “I don’t like politics, not even a little bit,” has already been to the White House twice. The first time came when he went with the national champion South Carolina baseball team. The second, of course, was in 2013 with the Red Sox.

From Bradley Jr.’s point of view, even though enjoyed meeting Barack Obama twice, it wouldn’t be about who is hosting. The motivation for attending, he explained, is to celebrate how the team got to that point.

“The reason why we’re going there is because we did something together as a team. The White House is cool,” he said. “I’m with my team.

“How many people can say they’ve been to the White House? That alone. There is a lot history there, and I’m a big fan of architecture. I think the whole thing is unique.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Not a lot of people were around to witness the uncomfortable bullpen session Thursday.

But for those who were there, they saw Blake Swihart show an inability to accurately throw the ball back to Rick Porcello on too many occasions. Pitching coach Carl Willis saw it, as did manager John Farrell and catching instructor/bullpen coach Dana LeVangie.

The Boston Red Sox began spring training in Fort Myers this week. Check out photos from spring training here.

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Chris Sale throws in his first spring training with the Red Sox (Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports)

Blog Author: 
Marisa Ingemi

Blake Swihart (Nick Turchiaro/USA Today Sports)

Blake Swihart (Nick Turchiaro/USA Today Sports)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Not a lot of people were around to witness the uncomfortable bullpen session Thursday.

But for those who were there, they saw Blake Swihart show an inability to accurately throw the ball back to Rick Porcello on too many occasions. Pitching coach Carl Willis saw it, as did manager John Farrell and catching instructor/bullpen coach Dana LeVangie.

Friday rolled around and while the problems weren’t as dramatic, the inconsistency in Swihart’s throws continued, leading to a collection of media gathered around the catcher to ask him about the issues before he left JetBlue Park for the day.

“I”m not concerned. I’m going back to catching. In the outfield you have a longer arm swing, a longer arm movement. I’m just trying to shorten it back up. They are misfiring, but I’m not too worried about it,” Swihart said. “It’s just a different arm movement. But I’m working every day to shorten it up, get it short and still have good velocity on my ball. … It’s more me just feeling bad for the pitcher that I’m throwing to.”

And then, as the reporters peeled off, Swihart offered one more proclamation.

“You guys shouldn’t be worried about me,” he said.

LeVangie wasn’t about to suggest there was nothing to see over the last few days, even saying when asked that Swihart’s problems were “out of the blue” when appearing Thursday.

But the catching coach did offer some optimism after working with Swihart Friday and then seeing the slow transformation from an outfielder’s arm motion to that of a catcher.

“There were a couple of bad throws today, but to be honest with you we talked about some things and he got better at doing it,” LeVangie said. “It’s still not finished, but there are signs he can get better from it. We were just looking at spin, how it was coming out of his hand. At times he throws a little rotational, and at times he’s allowing his glove to dictate where his arm path should be going. We want his glove front side to dictate more of back to front motion so his arm path stays on line better.

“We want him to throw more like a catcher rather than middle infielder, a shortstop or an outfielder. I saw far more better throws today than I saw yesterday. He’s going to learn how to throw as a catcher. That’s what we’re working on.”

Swihart reiterated that the 11 months between the last time he lived life as a catcher and jumping back into it this week was the cause for the throwing hiccup.

“The last time I caught was, what? The first six games of the season last year,” he said, referencing his move to outfield. Swihart added, “I feel fine. I’m not worried and you guys shouldn’t be worried either. I’m working on my craft and I promise the ball is going to get there.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

FORT MYERS, Fla. — It’s an annual rite of passage. One that John Henry admitted maybe has been a bit too ambitious (and often times uncomfortable).

Fifteen seasons as owners of the Red Sox, and 15 spring training media sessions where Henry and usually Tom Werner brief the spring training gathering on the state of the organization.

John Henry, Tom Werner met with the media Friday morning (WEEI.com photo)

John Henry, Tom Werner met with the media Friday morning (WEEI.com photo)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — It’s an annual rite of passage. One that John Henry admitted maybe has been a bit too ambitious (and often times uncomfortable).

Fifteen seasons as owners of the Red Sox, and 15 spring training media sessions where Henry and usually Tom Werner brief the spring training gathering on the state of the organization.

“We might not have started doing this every year,” said the Red Sox principal owner, Henry, when talking about the good and bad decisions made during this ownership group’s run.

Immediately after Werner addressed the entire team, the pair came out and discussed a variety of topics. David Ortiz. Fenway Park. Luxury tax. The Chris Sale trade. Dave Dombrowski. John Farrell. And also the topic of whether or not these two will be hanging on to their pieces of the Red Sox.

“We hope to be healthy and focused for a long, long time. We know nothing is forever. Hopefully we’ll be having these conversations in 10 or 15 more years,” said Werner.

Added Henry, “After 15 years together, and most of us have been together for 15 years, there’s nothing about this … There are a few things we don’t … Almost every day we talk about how fortunate we feel to be part of this organization. It’s a tremendous organization that has accomplished tremendous things. From our perspective it’s a meaningful, wonderful experience to come here every year, to start over every year. We really are focused on that fourth ring as much as we are focused on the first. Anything short of that I would say is a limited success. I know every few years we have swat down rumors that we’re perhaps sellers, but we talk about how long we can do this, not when should we stop.”

Here were some of the takeaways from the 20-meeting briefing …

MEETING WITH THE TEAM

Henry: “We had a great meeting this morning. And we’re all really happy to be back. We didn’t finish our business last year. It was a disappointing way to end the season. There’s a lot to accomplish the team.”

Werner: “I just started out by thanking them for what they accomplished last year. There’s a lot to be proud of. The team had the best offense in all of baseball. We had a Cy Young winner and two MVP candidates, and the team played beautifully all season. But obviously all of us were disappointed at the abrupt ending. I just thanked them, made a reference to Tom Brady and the Patriots and what we could take from that in terms of hard work and practice. We wished them good luck.”

DAVID ORTIZ’S ROLE

Werner: “That remains to be defined, but I know David expects to have a role going forward. I think he feels like it’s probably good to have spring training start and not be a presence. I would hope that at some point he would come here and address the team about leadership. We are talking with him frequently and I would expect he would have a role that he will principally define, but will be important. … He said he’s retired. I think all of you know that he played last year in quite a bit of pain.”

Henry: “Actually I don’t think they know quite how pain he was in last year. Maybe. Not just last year.”

FENWAY PARK RENOVATIONS

Henry: “I’m not sure we need to go too much further with Fenway Park. There’s been 15 years of tender-loving care going in on an annual basis. It’s been sort of built to last for the next 30 years, if not the next 50 years. I don’t think we see a lot of changes. … I think we have some thoughts outside the ballpark in that area, we own property in that area and I think we should look to develop in a way that’s meaningful for the three million-plus fans that come every year. I think you’ll see probably more changes outside the ballpark than inside.”

LUXURY TAX THRESHOLD

Henry: “As far as the threshold is concerned, there have been years we’ve been over and years we’ve been under. I think that will be the case with the new CBA and CBT this year. We want to be under. Frankly, revenue sharing is a bigger issue than the CBT. We spend a lot of money. There are a lot of money that spend a lot of money. Big, big numbers. … I don’t see a big change.”

PACE OF GAME

Werner: “We’re trying to push the game to under three hours. There are a lot of experiments going on, and I’m for experiments.”

HENRY’S PROCLAMATION LAST YEAR THAT RED SOX WERE TOO RELIANT ON ANALYTICS

Henry: “I think ever since I made that statement I’ve been saying it’s overblown. Because I only talk once a year, maybe twice a year, somethings … I think that was blown out of proportion. We are still heavily analytics based. I don’t think you can function in 2017 as a baseball organization without top drawer analytics.”

PABLO SANDOVAL

Werner: “I think he has a lot he wants to prove. I heard he talked to the media yesterday and was very articulate. He’s an All-Star player and we have a lot of confidence he’s going to have a good year.”

DAVE DOMBROWSKI

Henry: “I think he has done a tremendous job. All of us in the organization believe he has done a tremendous job. Very hands on.”

CHRIS SALE TRADE

Henry: “We still have a lot of prospects. With David leaving I think there was a feeling we should do something. I think our offense has been strong, and will be strong this year. When this opportunity came about it was tough to give up two of the best prospects in baseball. I think we all agreed this was a rare opportunity. … It was important to us that the core of our team was not broken up.”

DREW POMERANZ SAGA

“I don’t know if we want to re-open that discussion. All the facts of that, a lot of the facts, were a little bit different that were generally spoken about. We really don’t want to open that back up again. We’re really glad to have Drew here.”

JOHN FARELL

“He’s an outstanding leader. There’s a lot of facets to being a great manager and I think he fits all of that. not only that, but I think we all know he overcame personal health issues last year and he’s the right guy to be our leader this year and for the future.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford