January 2014

Farrell on Sizemore

Red Sox manager John Farrell knows Grady Sizemore rather well, considering they overlapped together in the Indians organization for several years when Farrell was farm director.

“We had a brief conversation, but it was more about getting a comfort level with what he’s come off of with the knee injury and surgery, the opportunity and the need to create further depth with our roster. Knowing who he is as a person and a player, yeah, that certainly aided our comfort level. Comfort level being he’s going to do whatever’s in his power to come back from what he’s gone through physically. We’re certainly excited to have Grady in the mix.

“We added Grady because one, he’s available and two, it provides some competition. And yet we have to see once we get to spring training, Grady’s tolerance physically and what the — we don’t have a projected number of games that we look at that he might be available for. We have to gradually build that up, build his endurance up. That’s how spring training will be spent with him.

“I know he’s running right now. Whether there’s been a lot of work with change of direction, I think that’s the next step in his progression. But straight away speed, it feels like he’s at 90, 90-plus percent. He’s swinging the bat every day, he’s thrown.”

“The one thing he hasn’t done in a couple of years has been on the field for any length of time, or reps had in center field or at the plate. We feel like he’s making good progress health-wise, otherwise we wouldn’t have signed him to the deal we did.

“Yeah, I think what we have to do is get a read on where he’s at from a baseball standpoint, does that project to be ready Opening Day, is more time needed. Those are things we’ll adjust to as we get into spring training, particularly the games.”

“Uh, it doesn’t take Jackie out of the mix at all. There’s questions that we have to answer in spring training with our roster. So the fact of Grady signing and being added to our roster doesn’t remove Jackie from [consideration]. I think one of the things that Ben and all of us have set out to [do] in these final weeks before spring training is add to the depth of our team, and Grady certainly does that right now.”

“We’ve gotten enough of a comfort level with Grady’s physical condition to move forward and sign him to a contract. This is an All-Star caliber player when he was healthy, and yet over the last couple of years there have been some physical ailments that he’s had to endure. But we feel like he’s making very good progress, and he adds to the depth of this team as we stand today.”

“Well one, we’ve got a lot of history with the person, he was — as a member of the Indians when I was there — we understand who he is as a person. He fits what we value in a player in terms of he’s strong, he’s tough, he’s got character.”

“But we also know we’ve got to get him back on the field, and to what level of tolerance and consistent games played is a question we still have to answer. But all the due diligence and the background that we’ve done on him with respect to his knee has given us that confidence and the comfort level that he’s going to regain a level of performance that will make us better.”

Take it slow for Spring Training?

“He will, and we’ll get a read on that once we start everyday workouts — what his tolerance is and how he recovers from added volume. We’re fully expecting that to be, I want to say give-and-take, but we’ll adjust accordingly. Everything points to him getting back on the field as a Major League player.”

Hot Stove, Cool Music tix available

Though Theo Epstein left the Red Sox for the Cubs a couple of years ago, he continues to maintain roots in his hometown. Epstein is coming back to Boston play guitar with Peter Gammons and the Hot Stove All-Stars (featuring Bill Janovitz of Buffalo Tom, Tanya Donelly of Belly, Paul Barrere of Little Feat, Cubs play-by-play guy Len Kasper and Seth Justman of J Geils Band) for his annual Hot Stove/Cool Music concert on January 11 at the Paradise on Commonwealth Avenue.

Other performers include The Baseball Project, which features Mike Mills of REM, as well as Fenway organist Josh Kantor. Also on the bill are Trigger Hippy (featuring Joan Osborne and members of the Black Crowes), Howie Day, Kingsley Flood and Kay Hanley.

All of the proceeds benefit the Foundation To Be Named Later, which supports local non-profits that assist at-risk kids, such as Horizons for Homeless Children, BELL and the Home For Little Wanderers.

Tix are $40 and doors open at 6 p.m. To purchase tickets, click here: http://hscm.tickets.musictoday.com/HotStoveCoolMusic/calendar.aspx

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