Live from Fort Myers

Yes, I am officially here. It is time to start another season, my seventh covering the Red Sox. I got down mid-afternoon yesterday and went grocery shopping and unpacked and admired the warm weather. A good first day.

Today, it was time to get to work. The interesting story today was Craig Hansen speaking to the media about his sleep apnea problem, which he took care of this winter with surgery. Hansen was noticeably more outgoing with the media than he had been in past years, and frankly, he just seemed like a different person.

I think you will see a much more energized pitcher this year. Hansen estimates that he was getting about two real hours of sleep a night with the apnea, and that his friends told him he was snoring like "a 500-pound fat man".

Pitching coach John Farrell feels that Hansen will be a key part of this spring for the Red Sox.

Manny Delcarmen and Javy Lopez were a couple of other notables who worked out for the first time today. Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Okajima took the field for the third straight day.

Incidentally, Dice-K has integrated an Americanized approach to his training this year, throwing a football. You see Major League pitchers do that all the time, but Matsuzaka didn’t do it last year. He told the Japanese media that he sometimes throws spirals, but it’s a work in progress. Matsuzaka also has a mullet that would make Kevin Millar proud.

Ace Josh Beckett is also in the house, but hasn’t met with the media yet. That will probably occur in the next couple of days.

John Farrell said that in light of Schilling’s injury, the obvious top two candidates for the fifth spot in the rotation are Clay Buchholz and Julian Tavarez.

I’ll be back with more updates on Wednesday, when manager Terry Francona is expected to address the media for the first time this spring.

Talk to you later,

Ian.

7 Comments

I read about Hansen’s story in the Herald today.

I expect Hansen to start the year in AAA but sometime during the year get called up to the majors. A year ago Delcarmen started the year in AAA and was called up for good sometime during the 2007 season. Similar story I think, obviously different cicumstances.

Hansen could have a very solid year in 2008. He was obviously rushed to the big leagues in 2005. Red Sox were very patient with him a year ago and I think that will pay dividends this season.

I remember Tom House ( the guy who caught Hank Aaron’s H.R. ) would have his pitchers throw a football. He was the pitching coach of the Texas Rangers back in the late 1980’s or early 1990’s.

Spring training is right around the corner, you gotta love it!!!

I agree, you have to figure Hansen will play a significant role in the bullpen this year before it’s all said and done. His stuff is just too electric. Plus Okajima is going to need a lighter workload after he became fatigued at the end of last year. Ditto for Timlin considering he is getting up there in age.

Even when he was getting lit up in stints in ’05 and ’06 with the Sox, he was still throwing 96 mph heat. Unfortunately, he didn’t have that wicked slider which he was known for so hitters could just sit on the fastball.

Hansen and Delcarmen were two names you always heard in trade rumors, hopefully Theo’s patience will pay off and these two will become key members of the Boston bullpen for many years.

How’s everyone doing?

As for Hansen, one of relatives also has sleep apena, I understand fully why Hansen struggled so much.

As of now the bench looks like so:

Ellsbury/Crisp (depends on who starts)

Casey

Cora

Mirabelli

Brown

IMO, its not very pontent. Casey has lost his power, and everyone else besides Ellsbury is a F- hitter.

On the rotation, Kyle Lohse is the only option left. Hernadez has benn signed by the Twins and Benson by the Phillies. However it would be unique to have the only two Native American in MLB on the same team ie. Lohse and Ellsbury.

Forgot about Chamberlian.

RSJones, since Coco Crisp will most likely be traded, the bench will actually feature:

Sean Casey

Bobby Kielty

Alex Cora

Doug Mirabelli

There is only room for bench players if the Sox carry seven relievers, which they likely will.

Casey is a solid contact hitter who sprays line drives to all fields. He is a huge upgrade over Hinske. Kielty is a .300 hitter against right-handers. Cora is an average hitter, and though Mirabelli has some occasional pop in his bat, he is below average at the plate. Overall, I like the Sox bench. I think it will be productive.

I like the idea of dealing Crisp to the Cubs for Jason Marquis. All the Sox need is a back-of-the-rotation starter as insurance since they have Tavarez (who produced several quality spot starts last season), Hansack (who showed he is durable from last season’s Triple-A numbers), Michael Tejera and Justin Masterson offer more insurance. Kyle Snyder is said to be in great shape, so he could contribute with spot starts as well.

Lohse is not the only option left. There is Colon, Josh Fogg and Freddy Garcia as well as undesirables like Jeff Weaver, Odalis Perez, Rodrigo Lopez, John Thomson, Russ Ortiz and Byung- Hyun Kim.

I sincerely hope the Sox acquire a starter via trade, or sign Colon, Fogg or Garcia (if their medical records check out). Of course, I think they can stay in-house for the time being as long as Wakefield is healthy.

Jeff

http://www.soxandpinstripes.com

I meant there is only room for four bench players if the Sox carry seven relievers…….

It’s not my day for typing. I also meant that Kielty is a .300 hitter against left-handers…….

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