February 2010

Cameron injury minor; Sctuaro earns rave reviews

Red Sox center fielder Mike Cameron came off the field early in Sunday’s workout with tightness in his left groin, but it is the definition of a nagging Spring Training injury.

“Because we were getting pretty active with the relays, I told him to come in and get treatment,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. “I don’t think it’s anything. He tested it out, his strength was good, his range of motion was good. But it’s not something we want to make worse now.”

Though Cameron, pictured below by photographer Brita Meng Outzen conferring with trainers, might not be back in time for game action on Wednesday, when the Sox open their exhibition slate with a day-night doubleheader against Northeastern and Boston College, he had no concern whatsoever.

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“I’ll be fine. If I had to play a game, I could play a game,” said Cameron. “I just didn’t want to push it you know with the body just starting to get shocked and starting to do a lot, didn’t want to get too far behind and get tired and really hurt something. It’s precautionary, we jumped on things quickly. It’s kind of good to sit back and let the body catch up with the mind and listen to it for a change.”

One player who seems to be winning everyone over early in camp is diminutive shortstop Marco Scutaro. Yes, you can already count Dustin Pedroia as a huge fan of his new double-play partner. Here they are below walking off the field together today.

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“He’s real steady over there. He’s a baseball player. He makes all the plays. He’s going to make my job real easy,” said Pedroia. “Everyone I’ve talked to who I’ve asked about Marco, they say the same thing. What a great teammate he is, great guy. So we’re excited to have him. I can see why everyone loves him. He works hard. He’s going to be a huge help to this team.”

Pedroia also had some praise for top prospect Casey Kelly, who he faced during batting practice.

“The command, his presence, he’s got a real good idea of what he wants to do and you never really see that at that age,” said Pedroia. “There’s a reason why he’s talked about a lot. A lot of teams want him. He’s got good stuff.”

In other newws, Daisuke Matsuzaka played catch at about 150 feet. Still no precise word on wehther he will ramp up to a bullpen session. I wouldn’t be surprised if it is Tuesday or Wednesday.

Lowell works out at first

For the second time in three days, Mike Lowell, a career third baseman, spent time at first base during Boston’s workouts.

Lowell is trying to gain comfort at first this spring, which could help his market value and also make him more viable to the Red Sox if he stays with the club.

Manager Terry Francona said that Lowell seemed to make the transition to the other side of the diamond “pretty good”. Here he is taking a grounder down the line, in a photo by Brita Meng Outzen.
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“For everybody, it’s different,” Francona said. “From my standpoint, you’re seeing the ball off the bat from a completely different angle. It’s like left field, right field. I think as you get comfortable, if you can play third, you’re going to be able to catch the ball at first. But when it’s not to you at third, you can stand there. When it’s not hit to you at first, you better get to first. It’s just different real estate. But once you get comfortable over there, then the natural instincts take over.”

The Red Sox managed to get all their work in on Saturday, despite a downpour that started almost immediately when they came off the field.

“Everything, which was very fortunate,” Francona said. “Right when Pap took the mound, the groundskeeper came out and said, ‘you’ve got 10 more minutes’ which would have been a little different. But no, we got everything in. It wasn’t the best day ever but we got everything in. Guys got their throwing in, guys got their hitting and we’re OK.”

Daisuke Matsuzaka continues to climb back to full health in his recovery from a minor back injury.

“Dice-K today, he threw off the mound — just tossed off the mound. Today was kind of his down day because tomorrow is going to be 150 feet,” Francona said. “But he did it off the mound so he could at least be at that angle. He wasn’t throwing hard but just so he could get the feel of that angle because you can’t do that off the flatground. Tomorrow will be a pretty aggressive day, probably out to 140 or 150.”

Matuzaka should have a full-out bullpen session by early next week, perhaps Tuesday.

In case you missed it, the here is how the pitching lines up for the exhibition games.

Wednesday vs. Northeastern and Boston College — Casey Kelly and Boof Bonser.

Thursday at home vs. the Twins. Josh Beckett; Friday at the Twins complex. Jon Lester, piggybacked by Tim Wakefield. Saturday split squad at home vs. the Twins. John Lackey. Saturday on the road split squad. Felix Doubront; Sunday at Sarasota vs. the Orioles. Clay Buchholz.

Pitching practice

Yes, it is, for some reason, referred to as live batting practice. But that’s hardly what was taking place on Friday morning, as John Lackey, Jon Lester, Tim Wakefield and Clay Buchholz all took turns devouring most of the hitters that stood in the box against them. It was the first round of live BP for all of Boston’s starting pitchers with the exception of Daisuke Matsuzaka, who will likely get off the mound early next week.

Let the record show that the first batter John Lackey faced while wearing a Red Sox uniform was Jed Lowrie. The first pitch was a strike on the outside corner.

“Incrementally, it was another step, increase in intensity,” said Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell. “I thought he threw the ball with good downhill angle. His two-seamer had very good life to his arm side. He spun some curveballs for strikes which at this point in camp that’s what we’re looking for. We’re not looking for the swing-and-miss type, the putaway. It’s getting a feel for a hitter in the box and how they’re reacting to the stuff that each one of our guys is delivering to the plate. The amount of volume picks up a little bit more today with a full eight or 10 minute bullpen, in addition to the 40 pitches of BP. He’s handling the volume well and executing from pitch to pitch thus far.”

Lackey is the type of professional who doesn’t need much hands-on supervision during Spring Training.

“He has a clear understanding of what Spring Training is about and what he’ll need to get ready for games,” said Farrell. “Certainly there’s been a lot fo dialogue, but we’re trying to get an idea of what he likes, what his preferecnes are. We’ll get more of that when games begin. There’s an internal clock there you can see at work. He’s taking a very solid approach to getting ready for games. The last couple of springs have probalby given him some information on when to pick it up a notch. He’s going about it the absolute right way.”

Wakefield continues to impress and shows no ill effects from back surgery. David Ortiz did not enjoy the experience of trying to hit Wakefield’s knuckleball. As a matter of fact, Ortiz was demonstrative in his disbelief of how much some of Wakefield’s knucklers moved.

“We’re all encouraged,” Farrell said of Wakefield. “These first 10 days on the Minor League complex, there’s a lot of volume guys are going through. Not just the bullpens, but all the other activity we’re going through. And he’s respnoded each day, and each day he’ gone out a  little more refined and with more arm strength, which was evident with the quality of pitches through the length of a typical bullpen session.”

Putting the brakes on theft

How bad were the Red Sox at controlling the running game last year? Very bad. They gave up 151 stolen bases, 19 more than any other team in the Majors. Opponents were safe against the Red Sox in 90.4 percent of stolen base attempts, another league high.

It is something the Red Sox are seriously trying to correct this spring, as manager Terry Francona points out that there has been extra time spent in early drills on pitchers holding runners.

“Well, our first two days have been on picks. Both days.,” Francona said. “There’s a fine line there, where you’re trying to do things correctly, but you’re not doing it at the expense of something else. There are going to be times when Pap comes in and gives up a stolen base. He’s a closer, there’s times you need to execute a pitch as opposed to giving up a two-run homer. We always feel that way. At the same time, we didn’t do a good enough job. So we need to improve. You always evaluate what you’ve done and not done in the offseason and try to do it better. That’s certainly an area we want to improve on.”

Jason Varitek and Victor Martinez took a lot of blame for all the steals, but the first line of defense is from the pitchers varying times and making good moves to the plate.

Martinez, pictured below by Brita Meng Outzen, said Thursday that he understands how it can be difficult for pitchers to hold runners, and if people want to blame him, he’ll be glad to be held accountable.
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bviously that’s another big part of the game, but at the same time, everybody has to know that the pitchers have a really tough job. They have to worry about making a pitch, throwing it in a location. Thinking about making a quality pitch, plus on top of that, controlling the running game. that’s a lot. The last thing you want is for a pitcher to think too much on the mound. As a catcher, you want them to worry about just being focused on the hitters.”

“You know what, I take the blame,” Martinez said. “I don’t mind. Our job is to make things easier for the pitcher. It’s 162 games. You want to be perfect but you’re not. The pitchers have a really tough job to do. There’s always room to improve and always room to get better. We’ll see what happens. We have a great pitching staff.”

Some other nuggets from the day: Third baseman Adrian Beltre rolled his ankle on Wednesday and was limited during Thursday’s workout. The injury is not belived to be serious in any way, shape or form.

“He stepped on a ball… he actually kind of twisted his ankle,” Francona said. “He went through all his stuff yesterday and extra. Today, we decided to tell him, go in the cage, he did some running in the cage and hitting. I’d be very surprised if he wasn’t back out there tomorrow.”

Thursday marked the first day pitchers threw live BP. It was the relievers’ day to throw, so Jonathan Papelbon, Manny Delcarmen and Daniel Bard were among those who faced hitters.

Bard looked particularly dominant.

“John Farrell said he was explosive, used all three pitches, used a good changeup – he’s really trying to throw his changeup, get a feel for that, let it be a weapon, especially against left handers, and it sounds like he had a real good day,” Francona said.

And Papelbon was uninhibited by a sore back that troubled him earlier in the week.

“I agree with that, there wasn’t a lot of effort when the ball came out of his hand,” Francona said. “You’re always looking for positives. But it was nice to watch him throw, and not have a lot of effort.”

The Red Sox will take the field a half hour earlier than normal on Friday because of their annual Spring Training golf tournament for charity. They will come out at 9 instead of 9:30.

Spring Training, meet boot camp

This wasn’t one of the most glamorous days for Red Sox position players, but it was a necessary part of camp, as they all went through conditioning drills, which included the shuttle relay, among other activities.

David Ortiz walked off the field, claiming kiddingly, “I was the champ out there!”.

All kidding aside, manager Terry Francona appreciated Ortiz going through the drills like a professional.

“That’s a lot of body,” said Francona. “I got tired watching those guys. I laugh at them, but he did it. I don’t know how many players of his stature [would do that] – but that’s a lot of body to move twice 300 yards and he did it and I know his teammates probably really appreciate it. It means something. It’s not the end all. It doesn’t mean he’s going to hit home runs. It doesn’t mean he’s not. But it’s part of being a team going in one direction and that’s important.”

It wasn’t all business for Ortiz, who had some fun on the field with his little buddy Dustin Pedroia, as captured in this photo by Brita Meng Outzen.
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Pedroia, who works out fanatically during the winter, got to put his supreme shape on display in the drills. Here he is, setting the pace with teammates Marco Scutaro and Jed Lowrie.
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Back when Red Sox manager Terry Francona was a player, these type of tests did not occur during Spring Training.

“We were just happy to get BP. I do agree with it though,” Francona said. “[Strength coach] Dave Page [suggested it] a few years back, because we’re always worried about ‘let’s get on the field, let’s throw, pitch, let’s hit, let’s take groudners.’ It’s really a good day. It gives us baseline testing for where everybody is. It’s just really important and our guys do a good job with it. no [whining] and moaning, they go out and do it. I would not enjoy doing it. but they do it and we appreciate it.”

Wednesday will mark the first full-squad workout for the Sox. Red Sox manager Terry Francona will hold his annual team meeting before the workout. General manager Theo Epstein will also appreciate, and so will the ownership trio of John W. Henry, Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino.

Lowell in limbo, but not worried

Erstwhile Red Sox starting third baseman Mike Lowell reported to camp on Tuesday with, well, the Red Sox.

Adrian Beltre is obviously the team’s starting third baseman, leaving Lowell in a strange spot. But Lowell is as practical as any player in the Majors, and has no bitterness about his situation. As pictured below by photographer Brita Meng Outzen, Lowell is taking his situation in stride.
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Is it a “dicey” situation, asked intrepid radio reporter Jonny Miller of WBZ Radio? “

“Dicey as your articles want to be, I guess. It’s strange in the sense that I thought I was going to Texas, yeah that was a little different. I think I’ve been in some rumors before and I think when you’re going on a plane going to Texas it’s a little closer than most times. I realize I really can’t control that so I really haven’t sweated it that much. I was really concentrating on the health aspect. I’m looking at this spring basically like I’ve done the last 14 years. I hang my hat on [the fact] that I’m healthier at this point in the spring than I was last year and I felt I did a pretty good job when I was in there. I felt last year was the struggle. I think trying to overcome a lot when I basically hadn’t even jogged one time by the time I reported last year. Yeah, it’s definitely weird when you might be going somewhere else and all of that doesn’t pan out, but I guess that’s the way it goes.”

His approach overall: “I’m getting ready for a season. I think I’m pretty intelligent in the sense that there’s no real playing time for me here barring a major injury and I’m not really in the business of hoping somebody gets hurt just so I can get at-bats. For me I’m feeling like I’m more prepared and ready for a full season more than I was last year so why shouldn’t I play more than I did last year whether it’s here or somewhere else. I really can’t control that. I have to separate two things, I think there’s the baseball aspect of it and I think there’s the real-life aspect of it. I’m very comfortable in where I am in my real life. I feel like I’m in a tremendously privileged situation. Nobody needs to feel sorry for me in life. Is my baseball situation not ideal? Yeah, it’s not ideal. I don’t want to diminish the baseball fact, but you never know what can happen. When I left the Marlins I was disappointed and it turned out to be a really good transition for me. We’ll see. You never know what’s going to happen.”

Expect to be traded? “To some degree, absolutely. If I was on the trading block before I can’t imagine that all of a sudden I’m not now. I think my health is obviously something I need to show not only the Red Sox but every other team. If that opens the door to something else, I’ll go wherever I go or stay wherever I stay.”

The intrepid Miller asks Lowell to give a retrospective on his time in Boston: “I’m not dead Jonny. I have a lot of good memories but that doesn’t mean it’s over.”
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Meeting with Theo at camp?  “It was very status quo. We basically could have gone without the meeting and I think I pretty much knew where I stood and knew the way I feel.”

Bench role? “I’ve never been approached to say that’s in their plans. Like I said, if I’m definitely healthier at this point than I was last year I don’t see why I should have less at-bats.”

Open to playing first? “I don’t think it hurts to show the fact I can play another position. I don’t think that ever hurts. Whether that means I’m more versatile here in Boston or somewhere else … I can’t say Hey, I want to stay, Hey I want to play, or Hey, I want to go. None of those three things are really a factor so I leave it to those people who make those decisions and you guys will question if it’s a good decision or not.”

Disappointed team doesn’t want him back as starting 3B? “I don’t think it matters what I feel about that. I know they’re trying to go in a direction where they think the team is better. The player always take a back seat to those decisions. I don’t really feel like I win out in any way saying, what a great decision that was, or this was a poor decision. I’m highly motivated to show that I can play. Where that takes me, I don’t know. I really don’t. we’ll see. There’s some type of curiosity that I have – I’m anxious to see what happens.”

Regret not going to the Phillies for a four year deal after ’08? “No, no. I might have signed with Philadelphia and gone on a spelunking trip and gotten hurt and that’s against our contracts, so they might have voided the last three years. You never know. They have great caves in Philly so, no, I don’t. I enjoyed Boston. At that point, I was delighted to sign back. We had a competitive team and came within a game of going to the World Series the next year. How could you say that was a bad decision?” — BTW, that was classic Lowell about the spelunking. This guy just gets it.

State of the hip? “Yeah, there’s some discomfort when I run. I don’t feel any pain when I take those first few steps. I think defensively I would feel very comfortable moving around. I felt like I lost a little explosion on the first step, especially going to my left. That’s kind of where I push off with my right hip. But again, I think last offseason, I didn’t have any time to get strength. I think I basically played the whole year in a weakened state, because of the surgery obviously, I think I’ve gone to a point beyond that where that’s not an issue for me right now. is it like I was in ’07? No, there’s still some discomfort running. I’m not Jacoby. I don’t think the running aspect has really been a major issue to any baseball evaluator.”
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When will he be game ready? “Our first game is March 3, which is about a week away – I think if I had to play in that game, I could do it easily. But I think we’ll probably take it slow. So that’s why I say I might be four or five days behind. There was a struggle to swing the bat, when the doc said, hey, just start feeling it. I could feel the tightness and still the swelling in my thumb, and I don’t feel that now. So I think now it’s just increasing the strength a little bit to be able to handle the impact of a ball hitting it. I’ve only done tee work so It’ll be a progression of the toss, and then it’ll be batting practice outside, and once you can do batting practice outside, I don’t view the game as a major step. I actually almost want to get jammed to test it out, but I don’t know how you practice that.”

How disppointed was he when the Texas deal didn’t go down? “I looked at the Texas thing, honestly when I was on the plane flying to Texas as a pretty good challenge. I thought that team did a lot of good things last year. they were in it basically until the end. It was more, the way at least I viewed it, is I would probably DH a lot and play first a lot and if Michael Young needed a DH, I would probably play third for just a hand full of games so I didn’t have a problem with that. I didn’t see that as a bad situation. I thought that was a place where I could fit in the lineup there and I thought I could put up some numbers on a team I thought was going to be competitive so I wasn’t ashamed of going over there. I wasn’t disappointed that might be a possibility of where I landed. It didn’t go through, I was like, alright, it didn’t go through. I want to stress that I wasn’t stressed. I
really wasn’t. I think I get the grand scheme of things for me, like what I value and what I don’t. not that I don’t value baseball but I’m pretty confident I’m going to be in the big leagues this year somewhere and I still view that as a privilege to me. Like I said, no one needs to feel sorry for me for the situation of my life right now.”

Does Lowell expect to be with the Red Sox on Opening Day? “I have no idea. I really don’t.”

Has he thought about other teams that might need him?  “Absolutely. I think that’s only human nature. Am I going to share that with you? Probably not.” 

Field Day

So the first official workout isn’t until Wednesday, I will grant you that. But today sure felt like an official workout. The only players who didn’t participate? J.D. Drew, who showed up in the late morning, Mike Lowell who unpacked his belongings in the early afternoon, and Marco Scutaro, who will make his first appearance in camp for physicals on Tuesday.

There was clearly a surge in energy with the arrival of David Ortiz. Big Papi showed up with a smile, eager to turn the page from a tough 2010.
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Mike Cameron and Adrian Beltre, two key newcomers, were also full of enthusiasm in their first day at the office with their new team. The biggest challenge for poor Cameron was finding the workout fields. He first drove to City of Palms Park, only to find that it was completely empty. Cameron also forgot his batting gloves, but he had an old friend in Bill Hall to borrow some from.
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It didn’t take Beltre long to put on a show during infield drills, as he smoothly picked just about everything that came his way.

Meanwhile, Kevin Youkilis was among the first to arrive in camp, and he was clearly having himself a good time today. Check out the leap action here, as showcased by photographer Brita Meng Outzen.
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Lowell will hold his press conference on Tuesday. It is obviously an awkward position for Mike, but if anyone is professional enough to handle the situation of being in complete limbo, it is Lowell.

And Daisuke Matsuzaka resumed throwing, playing catch between 60 and 90 feet, further proof that his back injury isn’t really much of an injury. He should be off a mound by early next week.

Hall aboard

A day before position players were due to arrive in Fort Myers, Fla., there was just one new player to hit camp. That was Bill Hall, the super-utilityman who could help in a variety of ways this season, particularly if he can rediscover that stroke that led to 35 homers for the 2006 Brewers.

Hall is excited about the chance to play all over the infield and the outfield, and perhaps even get some reps at short again, which used to be his main position, albeit one he hasn’t played since 2006.

 
Bill_Hall.jpg“I grew up as a shortstop,” said Hall. “That just comes naturally to me. I’ve played it my whole life. Take away three years of my career, that’s the only time I didn’t play shortstop full time. Hopefully it will be a really easy transition to get back to game speed.”

He hasn’t lost any love for the position since he stopped playing it. Yes, shortstop is still Hall’s favorite

“I mean, my favorite player growing up was Ozzie Smith. Been loving it playing it since I was old enough to pick up a baseball,” Hall said.

So what happened to Hall’s once-dangerous offense? An ankle injury suffered in July of 2007, while playing center field, led to the development of bad habits.

“The injury hurt me the worst,” said Hall. “In ’07 when I hurt my ankle I came back way too fast, had to change the way I swung. It was my backside ankle and I couldn’t rotate down into the ball anymore like I could before I was injured.  ou ingrain something into your head on a siwng, and it kept getting worse and worse. This offseason, I went back to the drawing board, simplified my swing and started using my backside again.”

Among other things, Hall is rediscovering the art of hitting the ball to the opposite field.

“I haven’t hit the ball to right field like I can in almost two and a half a years. Now I’m driving the ball to right field and hitting the ball out to center again. When you can stay on the ball longer and guys are throwing sliders and things like that, it’s going to keep me on the ball longer and not lose the power I had.”

The question regarding Hall is how much playing time he will get. Considering his versatility, Hall could see quite a few at-bats, particularly if he hits.

“I don’t want to put a number on it,” Hall said. “Obviously like I said the utility guy last year Nick Green obviously had a lot of at-bats and played a lot of shortstop last year. I don’t want to put a number on it. He just promised me plenty of at-bats and opportunities to prove I could be the player I want to be. That revolves around hitting. Everybody knows I can play some defense and everyone knows I can hit. I’ve just had some unfortunate incidents in the last couple of years and I feel like I’m pretty close back to where I used to be.”

I’ll be back with more blogging on Monday. Position players technically don’t have to come to the complex until Tuesday, when they undergo physicals and go through conditioning drills. 

At some point over the next couple of days, we will see David Ortiz, Mike Lowell, Adrian Beltre, Marco Scutaro and Mike Cameron for the first time this spring. I’m guessing at least one from that group will arrive Monday.

The first workout

There were about 900 fans there — and surely many more watching the live coverage at home on NESN — for Saturday’s first official Red Sox workout of Spring Training.

Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Tim Wakefield and Jon Lester threw on the side at the same time. Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury and Jed Lowrie took some hacks.  Terry Francona pelted line drives at his pitchers — called the rag ball drill — to make sure the reflexes were sharp.

And after that, there were press conferences galore. Wakefield and Jason Varitek talked about their expectations this spring. Francona and Theo Epstein gave their state of camp address, as captured below by photographer Brita Meng Outzen.

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The offense? Don’t worry about the offense, urges Epstein. Look at the big picture, he says.

“I think we still have a chance to be a really good offensive club,” said Epstein. “I think there’s been a lot of skepticism out there about our offense. I think we still feel like we can be one of the top handful of offenses in the league. What we’re really striving for is balance.

“We want to do be one of the best pitching teams in the league. We want to be one of the best defensive clubs in the league. We want to be one of the best offensive clubs in the league. The years that we’ve accomplished that are the years that we tend to do better. 2004, by the end of the year, we had accomplished that. 2007 we had accomplished that. We’re really looking to be well rounded. Looking back at last year’s club, we were one of the better pitching clubs, we were one of the better offensive clubs. We were sub-par defensively. The goal this year is for us to achieve better balance.”

Two of the players who figure most prominently in this year’s offense? Ellsbury and Pedroia, shown here by Brita from today’s workout.

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The pitching? Yes, that looks loaded. But Epstein preaches caution.

“Ask that in about eight months,” Epstein said. “On paper, I think we have a chance to be as solid a 1-5 pitching staff as we’ve been here and a chance to be pretty top heavy too if things go right. You’ll have guys vying to be called the number one on this staff, some pretty talented pitchers. It’s all theoretical this time of year. It doesn’t’ really matter how it looks on paper until we go out and do it.

“Just keeping a single pitcher healthy and effective from this point through September and hopefully through October in the American League East is a chore, let alone doing it with five guys or 11 or 12 on the pitching staff so we know we have our work cut out for us. Certainly there are some guys here who’ve had very effective seasons before in this league and if we can have them all do that at the same time, we could go pretty far.”

One pitcher who will be one of those five at some point, probably within a couple of years, is phenom Casey Kelly, who is experiencing his first spring at Major League camp.

“I’d actually like to be a little bit guarded in that,” Francona said. “The reason I say that, he just turned 20 years old. This kid is in a major league camp and we don’t want him to try to do more than he needs to. What we really want him to be is a sponge and soak up everything he can. He’s got a great feel for a young kid. Watch the way Beckett and Lester and those guys do things and just soak up as much as he can. He needs to prepare for his year, wherever that ends up being. Just have a real good experience and see how we do things here in our Major League camp.”

Daily Dice-K update? The righty is doing just fine, and his back injury is anything but significant. Matsuzaka will start playing catch again on Saturday.

“Dice will start playing catch tomorrow. Sixty feet,” Francona said. “Again, now, because of some of the downtime, we need build a base as we’re going to do with everybody. He was looked at by Dr. Gill, we got a very productive report through that, so now we’re going to start back up again and get him strong.”

The boys are back in town

Sure, it was cool by Florida standards, as the temperature hovered in the low 50s for John Lackey’s first side session with the Sox.

But baseball was in the air. In the morning, it was all about Lackey, who participated in his first workout with his new team and then spoke to the media. Lackey reeled off about 40 pitches — all heaters — and MLB.com’s own Brita Meng Outzen was there to capture the action.

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For a while, Dice-K took the stage, speaking openly about how it wasn’t all that wise of him to conceal injuries last year. Then, Victor Martinez, embarking on his first full season in Boston, held court with a small group of reporters.

Here are some snippets from pitchers and catchers reporting day.

Dice-K on his increased comfort with the Sox:

“I think I’m able to approach the season and come to work here just as I was able to do in Japan, so I think that I’ve definitely gotten used to things over here. With each passing year, as I’ve become more and more accustomed to how things work, I think I look forward to the season just that much more every year,” Matsuzaka said.

Lackey on the competition that could build among Boston’s packed starting rotation:

“I think I’ll fit in good. [Beckett’s]  a competitor,” said Lackey. “He gets after it on the mound. I’ve got a little bit of that in me too. I think if we all get rolling a little bit, you can kind of have a healthy competition between starters and it turns into kind of a relay race kind of thing. You don’t want to drop the baton from the next guy. It’s fun when you get into that sort of situation.”

Victor Martinez on whether he’d like to stay with the Red Sox after his current contract expires following the season:

“Obviously,” Martinez said. “Who wouldn’t want to be here in the long term? This is the organization, this is the team that everybody wishes to play here, especially a team that is always in the race, always in the playoffs. As a baseball player, that’s what you want. That’s what you work for. You work really hard to make it to the playoffs and get a ring.” 

Those were the main storylines today. Tomorrow, all pitchers and catchers will undergo physicals. Saturday is the first full-squad workout.

That’s all for now.

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