Say hello to the Early Birds
Sorry about the delay between blog posts. There’s been a whole lot of nothing going on with the Red Sox of late, so there hasn’t been a whole lot to post about. It’s just that time of year.
I must confess that several Red Sox players have beaten me to Fort Myers. Jon Lester, Kevin Youkilis, Manny Delcarmen and Jonathan Papelbon have all been cited on the premises this week. The official reporting date is Feb. 18, and that’s just for pitchers and catchers.
My good friend Jonny Miller of WBZ-Radio AM caught up with some of these guys this week and here is a sampling.
Delcarmen on his poor finish last year: “A little disappointed. I felt like I was a little banged up and probably should have said something earlier. I just want to go out there and get the ball all the time and Tito knows that. For the most part, I’m excited to come down here early and get ready for the season because I definitely want to start off and finish stronger than I did last year.”
He looks a little leaner this year.
“I lost a little weight. A lot more cardio than last offseason. So I just wanted to come to Florida and show that I was ready.”
Without a doubt, the way last year ended was a bitter pill for the Red Sox to swallow.
“It was tough,” Youkilis said. “Walking away from the season like that. We had a good season. Won 95 games. We made the playoffs nad came up short and got beat by a team that was better than us at the time. For us, this year, I think we have a pretty good team and hopefully we can get to the playoffs again and go further than the first round.”
That said, Jon Lester said it was best not to let the loss fester for too long.
“I thought about it for a day,” said Lester. “Your offseason comes around and you move on. You can’t sit there and wallow in it and say, ‘pitiful me, we got swept.’ You get in the offseason and you get home and you move on, you watch a couple of playoff games and a couple of world series games and see who wins. I really didn’t think about it at all. I think this team is pretty much determined every year to come in and win a World Series. I don’t think our goals are any less than that. We’re going to work hard in Spring Training to get to that goal.”
The players are not minimizing the loss of Jason Bay.
“Jason, we’re going to miss him for his personality and his overall character. He’s a great guy, a great teammate,” Youkilis said. “He really loved Boston. It was very sad that it had to go the way it did. Baseball, it’s a business in a lot of senses. It’s a sad thing sometimes but it is a business. Guys come and go. It’s one of those things where you stay in touch and wish them the best but you also have to accept another guy coming in Mike Cameron that will try to help this team win a World Series. We’re excited to see Mike. I hear he’s a great guy, a great teammate. That’s all you ask for, for guys to give 100 percent on the field.”
Meanwhile, Mike Lowell, who remains in limbo, figures to be a topic of conversation as long as he is still with the Red Sox.
“He’s a great ballplayer,” Youkilis said. “His numbers and accolades speak for themselves. He’s probably one of the best third basemen defensively to play the game. He’s on this team right now. I don’t know if he’s going to be traded or on this team for the year. You never know. If there’s a place for him to play every day, they’re going to try to do that for him. If he’s healthy, he’s a guy that can help a team out.”