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Game 2 in Philly

After a glorious weather day on Opening Day, the Red Sox and Phillies are playing under dreary and raw conditions tonight.

It was somewhat interesting that Shane Victorino was not in the lineup for Game 2, after a day off on Tuesday. But Daniel Nava is going to get his share of starts also, and the same goes for Allen Craig. John Farrell has a lot of depth to manage.

Farrell said that part of the reason Victorino was sitting was the weather. No use risking an injury for someone coming off back surgery.

Victorino was 9-for-27 lifetime vs. Harang entering this one. Nava was 1-for-2.

This was the first time we’ve had a chance to speak with John Farrell since Rick Porcello signed his new contract. Here is what Farrell had to say about it.

“We’re talking about a free agent to be at 26 years old who’s pitched 200 innings, that’s evolving in his own right to be an upper echelon type of starter. It’s clearly a commitment on our ownership’s part. It’s also betting on a guy that we’ve grown to have a pretty good understanding in the two months that he’s been here, even though he hasn’t thrown a pitch yet,” Farrell said before Porcello took the mound against the Phillies. “You bet on the individual when you make these kind of investments. Rick is very detail-oriented and he’s committed to his own personal routine to prepare each and every day. And the fact he’s going to be pitching this season at 26 years of age, the five years we’re going to get him ideally at the prime of his major league career given the age and what all information would suggest with guys of that age group.”

March 12: Red Sox at Pirates

Hello from sunny Bradenton, where the red-hot Red Sox (six straight wins) brought a bus that included nearly all of their best players.

Opponent: Pirates (4-3).

TV/Radio: None. So make sure to follow closely on twitter (@ianmbrowne) and redsox.com.

Today’s lineup: Victorino RF, Pedroia 2B, Ortiz DH, Ramirez LF, Sandoval 3B, Napoli 1B, Bogaerts SS, Bradley CF, Swihart C.

Starting matchup: Buchholz vs. Burnett.

Available out of the bullpen: Ogando, Hembree, Couch, Celestino, Scott, Rodriguez, McCarthy, Younginger.

Recent stories of interest on redsox.com:

Mookie looks ready to take over the leadoff spot. http://m.redsox.mlb.com/news/article/112199708/mookie-betts-looks-ready-to-take-over-leadoff-spot-for-red-sox

Kelly improving plan of attack: http://m.redsox.mlb.com/news/article/112198978/red-sox-right-hander-joe-kelly-kelly-displays-improved-command-against-yankees

Andrew Miller credits Red Sox for making a strong run at him in offseason. http://m.redsox.mlb.com/news/article/112199706/left-hander-andrew-miller-contemplated-return-to-red-sox-in-offseason

March 10: Rays at Red Sox

Back home at beautiful JetBlue Park today after a lengthy sojourn to the East Coast, the Red Sox are ready for the Rays today and Shane Victorino is back in the lineup.

Opponent: Tampa Bay Rays (1-3).

TV/Radio: None. So that means you need to follow me on Twitter (@ianmbrowne) and redsox.com for any and all updates today.

Today’s lineup: Victorino RF, Pedroia 2B, Ortiz DH, Ramirez LF, Sandoval 3B, Napoli 1B, Bogaerts SS, Bradley CF, Hanigan C.

Starting matchup: Masterson vs. Andriese.

Available out of the bullpen: Owens, Uehara, Eveland, Spruill, Varvaro, Hinojosa.

Recent stories of interest on redsox.com:

Cecchini has an attitude everyone can learn from: http://m.redsox.mlb.com/news/article/111904400/red-sox-prospect-garin-cecchini-stays-positive-despite-uncertain-future

Finding playing time for Allen Craig might be the toughest thing about John Farrell’s job: http://m.redsox.mlb.com/news/article/111922460/allen-craig-in-line-for-reserve-role-with-boston-red-sox

Barnes displaying premium stuff in camp: http://m.redsox.mlb.com/news/article/111924676/pitcher-matt-barnes-showing-premium-stuff-early-in-red-sox-camp

 

 

March 9: Red Sox at Cardinals

Allen Craig and the Red Sox are here in Jupiter today to face the Cardinals, completing a two-day road trip on the East Coast of Florida.

Opponent: Carrdinals (3-1).

TV/radio:  None, so make sure to stay updated at redsox.com and mlb.com and follow me on twitter: (@ianmbrowne).

Today’s lineup: Betts CF; Holt 2B; Cecchini 3B; Craig LF; Shaw 1B; Montz DH; Vazquez C; Ramos RF; Marrero SS.

Starting matchup: Miley vs. Wacha.

Available out of the bullpen: Barnes, Ogando, Mujica, Tazawa, Hembree, Paulino.

Recent stories of interest on redsox.com.

Solid debut for Porcello: http://m.redsox.mlb.com/news/article/111769902/red-sox-rick-porcello-pleased-with-location-in-first-spring-start

Bogaerts off to hot start: http://m.redsox.mlb.com/news/article/111813296/xander-bogaerts-bat-stays-hot-shane-victorino-to-return-tuesday

Injury update: Shane Victorino (general soreness) is expected to be back in the lineup for Tuesday’s home game.

March 7: Split squads vs. Twins, Orioles

Today is the first split squad game of the Grapefruit League for the Red Sox, with the regulars playing at home against the Twins, and the reserves hitting Sarasota to play the Orioles.

Opponents: Home vs. Twins (1-1), 1:05 p.m. ET; Away vs. Orioles (2-3), 1:05 p.m. ET.

TV/radio: Home game on 93.7, WEEI, and of course, also available here: http://boston.redsox.mlb.com/mediacenter/index.jsp?c_id=bos&affiliateId=clubMENU#date=3/7/2015

Today’s home lineup: Betts CF, Pedroia 2B, Ortiz DH, Ramirez LF, Sandoval 3B, Napoli 1B, Nava RF, Bogaerts SS, Hanigan C.

Today’s road lineup: Bradley, Jr. CF, Weeks 2B, Craig LF, LaHair DH, Swihart C, Cecchini 3B, Brentz RF, Shaw 1B, Bianchi SS.

Starting matchups: Home, Buchholz vs. Hughes. Away, Wright vs. Norris.

Available out of the bullpen: Home, Breslow, Workman, Eveland, Varvaro, Boggs, Ramirez. Road, Rodriguez, Escobar, Spruill, Hinojosa, Celestino.

Recent stories of interest on redsox.com:

Castillo injury not as bad as originally feared: http://m.redsox.mlb.com/news/article/111543916/oblique-improving-castillo-logs-light-workout

Masterson revels in being healthy again: http://m.redsox.mlb.com/news/article/111544198/masterson-right-at-home-after-first-outing-back-with-sox

Though Barnes is a starter, he could be weapon in bullpen: http://m.redsox.mlb.com/news/article/111496864/barnes-impresses-farrell-with-velocity-in-relief-outing

Slight news update this morning: No Shane Victorino for the next couple of days as he battled general soreness. But John Farrell said it is not back related.

March 6: Marlins at Red Sox

By Ian Browne/MLB.com

Here we go. Ready for the first day game after the night game of Spring Training.

Opponent: Miami Marlins (0-1).

TV/Radio: None (So make sure to follow my tweets and stories for everything you miss).

Today’s lineup: Betts CF; Holt SS; Ortiz DH; Ramirez LF; Victorino RF; Nava 1B; Hanigan C; Cecchini 3B; Weeks 2B.

Starting matchup: Justin Masterson vs. Tom Koehler.

Available out of bullpen: Owens, Uehara, Layne, Ross, Hembree, Couch, Paulino.

Recent stories of interest on redsox.com

Pedroia, Bogaerts have impactful starts at plate: http://m.redsox.mlb.com/news/article/111455118/xander-bogaerts-dustin-pedroia-get-off-to-powerful-starts-for-red-sox

Kelly struggles in Spring Opener: http://m.redsox.mlb.com/news/article/111457362/red-sox-pitcher-joe-kelly-struggles-in-first-grapefruit-league-start

Bradley comes out swinging against Twins: http://m.redsox.mlb.com/news/article/111459906/red-sox-outfielder-jackie-bradley-jr-comes-out-swinging-against-twins

Some good, old-fashioned t-shirt fun: http://m.redsox.mlb.com/news/article/111406038/clay-buchholz-has-t-shirts-made-for-red-sox-starting-rotation

For all Red Sox info, follow all of our stories at http://www.redsox.com, and follow me on twitter (@ianmbrowne).

 

March 5: Red Sox @ Twins

By Ian Browne/MLB.com

Here here, the games are here! The Red Sox will play every day (sometimes twice in a day) between today and April 4. The lone exception is March 25, an off-day on the game schedule.

Opponent: Minnesota Twins (0-0).

TV/Radio: MLB Network; MLB.TV; 93.7 FM WEEI.

Tonight’s lineup:

Bogaerts SS; Pedroia 2B; Sandoval 3B; Napoli 1B; Craig LF; LaHair DH; Brentz RF; Bradley CF; Vazquez C.

Starting matchup: Joe Kelly vs. Kyle Gibson.

Available out of the bullpen for the Red Sox: Barnes, Johnson, Tazawa, Mujica, Ogando, Celestino, Ramirez.

Red Sox reserves of note: Berry, Swihart, Marrero.

Recent stories of interest on Redsox.com:

Red Sox cautious but optimistic on Rusney: http://m.redsox.mlb.com/news/article/111356320/rest-helps-center-fielder-rusney-castillo-but-red-sox-proceeding-with-caution

Rotation quickly forming bond: http://m.redsox.mlb.com/news/article/111154038/revamped-red-sox-rotation-quickly-forming-bond

Healthy Breslow could be important for Red Sox: http://m.redsox.mlb.com/news/article/111193894/healthy-spring-training-important-to-red-sox-pitcher-craig-breslow

For all Red Sox info, follow all of our stories at http://www.redsox.com, and follow me on twitter (@ianmbrowne).

Farrell extended through ’17

So why did the Red Sox extend John Farrell’s contract through 2017 with an option for ’18?

The main reason, obviously, is that they believe very strongly in him, and last season’s disappointment did nothing to change that.

This also takes away any chance that Farrell’s contract could become a distraction. Remember how Terry Francona’s lack of an extension seemed like a non-story in 2011?

The Red Sox, in my humble opinion, were smart to get out in front of this one, announcing the deal on the same day as the first official team workout.

Napoli on dealing with sleep apnea

Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli underwent bimaxillary reconstruction surgery for sleep apnea in November, and Saturday marked the first time he discussed the procedure publicly.

Napoli thinks the surgery was a life-changing thing, and he discussed in depth the way sleep apnea impacted him on and off the field.

On the process itself: “It’s been long. Obviously I had the surgery on my face, on my jaw. I’ve been sleeping better. It was a brutal process, but I think it worked. But I’m getting better sleep. I wake up early in the morning, get my day started. It’s been good.”

How brutal was the surgery? “It was probably one of the worst things I’ve ever done, to tell you the truth. The broke my upper and lower jaw, moved it forward and almost doubled my airway space. But yeah, I spent two days in the ICU after. I mean, 10 days of just pain. Just sitting there, I couldn’t really do anything. I walked around a little bit.”

On the after-effects: “But it’s worked. I still have some complications. I don’t have feeling in my lips, my chin, just because they stretched out my jaw so far and all the nerves take time to come back. It can be like a year, up to a year to come back. But I’m pretty much used to it. I had to go through six weeks of a liquid diet, which is brutal. I lost a lot of weight, but I mean, I gained it back. I just started working out probably about two, 2-1/2 weeks ago, which is going good. I haven’t really lost too much strength. And we mapped it out to where it looks like I’ll be ready for Opening Day.”

What was it like living with sleep apnea? “I mean, it’s been tough. I’ve had this for a long time. We tried to do different things. I tried to wear a C-Pap, which is a positive pressure mask. I tried medication, I tried a dental piece; I tried pretty much everything. It got to a point to where it worked for a couple hours and then I’d wake up. I was taking medicine to fall asleep with all the devices on, and eventually I’d wake up a couple hours later and I can’t take more medicine.”

How it impacted him at the ballpark? “It was tough. I missed batting practice. I’d be sleeping during batting practice, wake up for the game. So it was hard. I was always tired. There were games that I came out of that people didn’t really know what happened, but it was because I was dizzy and really sleep-deprived. I couldn’t really focus. It was tough, but what I did, the process I went through to how I’m feeling now, I’m dreaming now. The past eight years I haven’t had a dream because I never went into the REM. It was always a battle playing in the game and trying to get through a game. Our game is a grind, going every day.”

Optimistic: “I know it’s going to work. It’s going to be better for me, just because I’m dreaming. I wake up at 6 in the morning and start my day. I don’t remember the last time I’ve done that.

Now you sleep regularly? “Yeah, I mean, I sleep eight hours. What I used to do is I’d sleep and I’d probably wake up 50 to 100 times a night. I’d lay in bed until 12 o’clock trying to get sleep but never really do, but I’d be so tired. And I’d go to the field and start my day, try to do my routine, sometimes sleep during batting practice and just try to sleep.”

The feeling in your lips now, or lack thereof? “You know you go to the dentist and get novocaine? It’s gotten to the point now to where you know when it starts getting numb, the tingling? My upper lip is like that and my teeth, the front of my teeth, I can’t really feel the roof of my mouth. They said it could be up to a year. It might not ever come back. But being young — this surgery was usually for the 50-year-old range. But the doctor was saying, me being so young, everything should come back. But it could be up to a year. But I’m comfortable. It’s not like it’s holding me back or anything. It’s a little weird watching me chew food. I used to drink water and it would just drip all over my shirt.”

Time-table for baseball: “I’m going to be ready for Opening Day. It’s almost like my hip issue, when I was held back, when I really couldn’t do anything. We just mapped it out to where I’d be ready for spring training. It’s probably going to almost be like that. I’m hitting. I started hitting, I’m throwing, I’m lifting weights, I’m running. It’s just, I couldn’t clench my teeth for a certain amount of time. I just needed the bones to heal properly. I got the full-go from the doctor.

More on time-table: “Yeah, I mean, I don’t feel like I’m that far behind. I think more for me it’s endurance. I’m lifting right now. My strength is there. I’ve been hitting off the tee, which I really only do this time of year anyways. I never start hitting until I get down to spring training. I’m going down the 3rd to spring training. All the trainers are down there, I’ll just follow them down there. Everything’s looking good.”

One positive to come out of all this? Napoli no longer chews tobacco. “Yeah. I’m happy about that.

Permanently quit tobacco? “I hope so. Maybe I’ll keep this feeling out of my lip for a while so I don’t.”

More on what it was like: “It was kind of crazy because I was so sleep deprived, I’d try to drink a red bull and it would give me a total, bad effect. I was trying to get energy any way I could and it wasn’t working.”

The dizziness? “Yeah, I don’t think it was from the red bull. I was just so tired. You ever have a bad night’s sleep? I had it for eight years. I never really got a good night sleep.”

Crossroads? “I couldn’t do it anymore, feeling the way I was feeling. I was like, I need to have the surgery or I’m not going to play anymore — that’s how bad it was. That’s why I went to go to this procedure. I came in and I was like, I need to have the surgery now. But with my hip issue, I was taking the osteoporosis medicine, which the healing of the jaw bones … That’s why I waited until November. Because I needed to wait a month to be off that medicine. Thank God I stopped taking that medicine because I had an MRI and my hips actually got better. I was like, I’m done taking that. I just didn’t want to take all these medications. I stopped taking it and I had to wait one more month because you’re supposed to be off the medicine for like three months and I stopped taking it for like two months. That’s why we had to wait.”

Way more energy now: “Yeah, it’s been great. I find myself doing stuff around the house. I was telling someone the other day, I was doing stuff around the cage and before, I was so lazy and tired, I’d be like, I don’t even want to pick up the balls. Now, I drop my bat, [pick up the balls] and it’s like, boom, boom, boom, I had energy. I could do stuff around the house, doing laundry or whatever, cleaning up the house. I had energy to do that stuff. I wasn’t tired. I wasn’t lazy. It’s been a good offseason, it’s been a tough offseason, but I think it’s worth it.”

Farrell talks Sox

Red Sox manager John Farrell discussed several topics today at his annual State of the Winter Meetings address. Here is a sampling:

On the bullpen:   “”Well, first, I think having Koji in place to go back to a closer is a key part of the bullpen. He and Junichi’s presence back there are guys that have been good performers for us in high‑leverage situations. We still have some needs there. And that is yet to be addressed.     So I’m confident, and I think we’re all confident that the resources are here to bring in the best available guys.”

Will Burke Badenhop return? “He is a guy that we’ve had conversations about. And yet there’s a fairly large number of pitchers that are still available. As Burke is going to have options where he might go. He did a great job for us last year. We’re still addressing all those needs, starter and bullpen.”

How many starters do the Red Sox need? “We’ve looked at two spots in the rotation as being the need to fill. How those are filled remains to be seen, but that’s the approach right now.”

On where things stand with Cespedes: “We’ve talked about the potential position that he could find himself in from a defensive alignment. Center field and right field are both options for him. We know we have a deep and talented group of outfielders. And Ben has been on record and it’s been mentioned that the potential exists for one of those guys to be dealt. Who that is we don’t know. But we have the luxury of a deep lineup and a deep position player group right now and that includes a number about of outfielders.”

How is Pedroia? “He’s doing great. He really is. He’s able to swing the bat a little bit off the tee. Physically the strength and the range of motion continues to improve. And I think one of the more exciting things as we go into and begin to get closer to Spring Training is getting Pedroia back to 100 percent health and strength.”

How is Victorino? “The volume is going to be our guide on how he responds to that. Everything points to him being on the field and in full baseball activity whether camp starts up. There’s been frequent conversation with Vic and some video he will send himself and the workouts he’s going through. He’s in a good place physically and mentally right now.”

What does Victorino mean to the Red Sox? “When we look back to 2014, the first year that he was here, he did such a great job for us, he impacted the game in a number of ways each day he’s on the field. He’s a vocal leader, he leads by example. And we missed him when he was out of lineup.”

Plans for Mookie Betts? “Positionally we still see him as an outfielder. We’ve talked about a deep outfield group. But the one thing that’s been impressive of Mookie, when we look back in the three different times he came up, there was tangible improvements and adjustments he made with each return trip to the Big Leagues.  For a young player he’s got such a unique combination of on‑base ability and strike zone awareness. He’s a good‑looking player. And you kind of marvel at the aptitude he shows at an early age. And that’s an exciting thing.”

 Mookie at the top? “I think as we get through the remainder of this offseason we’ll have a clearer picture of that. And certainly once we assemble in Ft. Myers, those things will be worked through as we get there. But the work that Mookie did last year and how he profiles, there’s a strong candidate to be in the top part of the order.”

 Important to have steady leadoff hitter? “Ideally. I think we always strive to have continuity in the lineup. Guys that come into the ballpark they know when they’re going in the lineup each and every day, they have a general idea where they’re going to be within positions in the lineup. And I think that sits well with guys, just that common thought and understanding.”

Favorite for the leadoff spot? “I hink we’ve got all our in‑house candidates that are there. Mookie being the strongest at this point. But that’s not to anoint him the opening day leadoff guy.”

Allen Craig? “Like every other player, there’s routine checkups, whether that’s as Pat or others will travel out to witness their workouts and check in with them by phone. He’s having what would be considered a normal offseason, and that’s getting past the foot injury he went into. And we fully expect him to be back to full capacity.”

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