John Farrell's state of the Sox address

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John Farrell's state of the Sox address

NASHVILLE -- You'll forgive John Farrell if he felt like a man caught between two cities on Tuesday.

The new Red Sox, and former Blue Jays, manager was surrounded by both Boston and Toronto media members at his Winter Meetings press conference, and nearly a quarter of the questions he was asked referred to the Jays. The Canadians, it seems, still haven't quite forgiven Farrell's leaving the Blue Jays for what he's termed his "dream job" in Boston, and the Jays' aggressive offseason have them wondering if he regrets the move. (Hint: He doesn't.)

The Boston media was able to squeeze in some Red Sox questions, and Farrell was able to discuss, among many topics:

Newly acquired Mike Napoli
"He's a guy that is a type of player that we want to bring in . . . We see him as a first baseman primarily, but with the ability to catch and to acclimate him to our pitchers in spring training. One of the things we would do . . . is . . . have him catch in spring training early on, but then certainly make sure that we've got enough reps at first base for not only him to feel comfortable there, but for us as well."

Whether or not he knows if any Sox players will participate in this spring's WBC
"Not yet. We haven't had that list of invites or requests by their respective countries. When that does come out, we've got to take into account if there's any physical ailments that guys are lingering through the offseason, whether it's David Ortiz or Dustin Pedroia. Just to name a couple of guys that might be on the invite list."

On whether they've contemplated using Ryan Lavarnway at first base
"Not yet. And I say not yet because we're looking to exhaust every development time with him, and he's got maintenance, as every player does, to be as proficient behind the plate.

"One of the things we're still building with him is just the overall number of games caught in any given year. Last year being the highest, right around 100 games caught. Right now our focus is to keep him behind the plate.

On whether he's talked to Will Middlebrooks, and where he's at healthwise
"Health-wise, to be ready for spring training. I spoke to him a number of times from Boston with situations coming up there. I'm planning to go to Dallas a couple of weeks from now to see he and John and maybe some other players that might be in that area. So it will be another opportunity to connect with him.

"There's no lingering effects with the wrist or anything like that or the hand."

On where he sees Middlebrooks hitting in the lineup
"Without placing any limitations on any guy, you could see him growing into a middle-of-the-order bat. In the interim, if we've got a chance to have him somewhere in that second half of the order, it just speaks that we've created further depth in the lineup. He's a good looking young player, there's no doubt. Just in the time I've seen him across the field, it's an exciting young player.

The health status of David Ortiz
"Everything has progressed on schedule. I know he's I think he's due to come back to Boston sometime middle of this month to get another recheck, but the rehab that he's been going through, the treatment he's been getting, all of that has been able to respond in the time frame and the overall, I guess, prognosis of his rehab to be ready for spring training."

The health status of John Lackey
"He'll be advanced on the calendar, but as far as total number of innings pitched, structurally, I think it's at least put his mind to rest that he got to somewhat game speed before the offseason approached.

"We'll go into spring training with a normal progression for him. Spring training is going to tell us a lot about where John's at, and we fully expect him to be ready to go."

On relievers who might become starters
"Franklin Morales is the one internal guy that we've talked about. Whether or not we choose to go that way with Alfredo Aceves remains to be seen, but typical with a guy that's been a multiinning reliever or a swing man type, we're always going to look to get multiinning outings in spring training. Further developments to the offseason are going to give probably more guidance to who those candidates might be as well."

On the back end of the bullpen
"I think general manager Ben Cherington will always look to upgrade. But I don't think we saw the true end of closer Andrew Bailey last year after he came back from the injury.

"One, any time you're coming back from an injury, and, two, you're trying to play catch up, sometime in August, after guys are so entrenched in their performance in a given year, yeah, he's playing catch up. But this is a successful closer in the past that right now you look to him to be in that role."

On the setup men
What Junichi Tazawa has done in his emergence coming back from Tommy John, he's put himself in that mix coming back into the game. The ability to mix up with lefties that are in house right now, both strike out with power stuff. Daniel Bard, there's work to be done with him, and conversations with him are starting that process. I know pitching coach Juan Nieves will travel to see him and begin that relationship building on their end.

"Knowing Daniel and the conversations that have been had to date, we've got to get back to what has made him so effective and really so powerful."

More on Bard
"The separation of mental and fundamental is a great debate, what's going to come first. I think it's first and foremost that we get him in a position to command the baseball a little bit more regularly. Just in reviewing some video from last year versus a couple of years previous, there's some noticeable changes there just from a physical side. So I think to address those first and then have some reminders through video of where he was, either on the rubber previously or where his arm slot was or what his mindset was to begin to discuss what he tried to do as a pitcher.

"And what I mean by that is in the role of a late inning, one inning guy, it's a completely different mindset than the attempt to manage a game over six or seven innings. I think he tried to, quote, unquote, pitch rather than be dominant with his stuff. So those are the angles that I would want, and I would both look to take with him and get him back to a more simplified, more power type of approach . . .

"I think you turn the page as the calendar turns. I don't know that you can fully separate yourself from the experiences that took place. Those are going to continue to shape who he is as a pitcher going forward, and to learn from the adversity that he faced. I think along the way he's probably learned more about himself as well . . .

"I think, if we could snap our fingers and go back to 20092010, I'd be looking at one of the top two or three setup men in baseball. Clearly a weapon that, depending on where you were in the lineup, he was always matched up against the middle of the lineup, regardless if it was lefthanded or righthanded, and pitched a lot of high leverage innings in that seventh and eighth situation."

On Alfredo Aceves
"Personally, I see him as a very dominant reliever late in the game. Whether we sit here today and fully define what that role is. I don't know if we're here to do that. There's a lot of discussion internally that he could still provide a depth starter for us or possibly a fifth starter.

"The one thing we have is a talented pitcher that can do some things physically that not many can do. That's the frequency with which he pitches and the number of pitches he'll throw in a given outing. He's a valuable pitcher."

On Allen Webster
"Power armed righthander with a good live sinking fastball. We still see him as a starter. Whether or not the arrival to the major league level, we don't know when that date is going to be, but he's a guy we're extremely excited about coming over in the trade.

"This is someone that personally looking forward to seeing him, other than video I've seen so far. We see him as a starter going forward."

On Ruby De La Rosa
"We still see him as a starter. He did obviously get into game activity before the season concluded last year. We'll bring him into camp, stretch him out, but I think it will be important for guys coming off of Tommy John, particularly young guys that have only experienced the major leagues in a small number of innings, I think we've got to get him going in terms of consistent turns through the rotation, starting to build his innings foundation, and more importantly, that first year back there's always that last mental hurdle to get over.

"And that probably is similar in Ruby's case."

Pedro says David Price has shown signs of what it takes to be an ace

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Pedro says David Price has shown signs of what it takes to be an ace

Pedro Martinez knows what it takes to be an ace. He also knows what it takes to pitch successfully in Boston.

And he believes David Price is capable of being the former and has the makeup to achieve the latter -- in time.

"I would just say, as a human being, I would say (he) has to make adjustments,'' said Martinez when asked what advice he would give Price. "It's the first year on a team that holds a lot of expectations. For David, it's just a matter of probably understanding how he feels comfortable around the things that he does, what David Price needs for David Price to feel more comfortable and make the adjustment as quick as possible.

"I believe he's capable of it. He's given a lot of signs that he's the ace we all expect. And, to be honest, I think he's going to be alright. It's just a matter of making the adjustment as quickly as possible.''

Whether Price may be trying too hard to justify his landmark $217 million deal, or unsure of how to handle the disappointing results he's provided, Martinez suggested that Price has to be mentally tough.

"Sometimes, it's within you what you can do,'' he said. "I think he has to trust what he can do. I think that probably trusting what he knows and what he's capable of doing would be the biggest key.''

Whatever the reason, Martinez doesn't believe there's a physical explanation for Price's struggles.

"I don't see anything wrong,'' he said. "His velocity is there. He can last eight, nine innings, easily. He's in great shape. He looks good overall, except some games just don't go his way and sometimes it doesn't look like everything (works) for him. But I believe he just has to trust what he is, the presence he has and his knowledge.

"It's up to you sometimes to say, 'Hey I know this. I know this situation, so I'm just going to go approach it.' And that's probably what he needs to do - is just trust who he is, what he knows and the stuff he has.''

When asked if he would approach Price and deliver a message, Martinez was careful.

''I don't want to invade anybody's territory,'' he said. "I would like to be respectful to him and also the coaching staff. I'm part of the organization. I'm here to help. But like I said, the biggest adjustment is the adjustment David Price makes. It's not really what Pedro says, or what Pedro used to do. David Price is David Price; Pedro Martinez is Pedro Martinez.''

Martinez was also asked about Clay Buchholz, who is currently serving a mop-up man in the bullpen.

"Bucky lost a little bit of confidence,'' said Martinez. "That's what it looks like to me. Right now, he doesn't really have a path to follow and I think he's missing (Jon) Lester, big time. He's missing (John) Lackey. He's missing probably relating to someone just like him, who really understands him from back (in the day) -- David Ross, Jason Varitek.

"I think he's mature enough to kind of understand what to do. But some people don't actually have that ability to understand what to do when times of struggles come.''

Finally, Martinez was asked about his reaction to the Red Sox dealing away pitching phenom Anderson Espinoza in the trade for Drew Pomeranz. Martinez had been a vocal supporter of Espinoza and predicted stardom for him.

"The thing is, you have to understand, this team is trying to work for today, for this year. That's the reason you produce those kind of players, so you can have the flexibility to move to different areas,” Martinez said. “I was extremely proud that I was part of the (group) that saw Espinoza from the first time and hopefully now the trade we made is going to end up helping us win the championship.

"And Espinoza probably will feel really proud that, if we win it this year, he was probably the biggest reason.''

Sean McAdam can be followed on Twitter: @Sean_McAdam

OFFSEASON

Report: Celtics’ pick Demetrius Jackson gets 4-year, $5.5M deal

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Report: Celtics’ pick Demetrius Jackson gets 4-year, $5.5M deal

The Celtics and second-round pick Demetrius Jackson have finalized a four-year, $5.5 millon contract, Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe reported.

Jackson, a point guard out of Notre Dame, was the 45th overall pick. He was projected by some as a first-rounder before the draft and the first year of his deal is likely to be guaranteed. Last year, Celtics’ second-round pick Jordan Mickey signed a four-year, $5 million deal as the 33rd pick overall.

Jackson will face plenty of training camp competition in a crowded group of backcourt players for the C’s. 
 

Patriots celebrate 15-year anniversary of 2001 team with videos, Hall exhibit

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Patriots celebrate 15-year anniversary of 2001 team with videos, Hall exhibit

The Patriots have announced a series of initiatives to celebrate the 2001 Super Bowl championship team on the 15th aniversary of their title-winning season.

Throughout the course of the 2016 season, the Patriots will feature special content online and on Patriots All-Access that will lead up to Dec. 4, when Gillette Stadium will host a reunion of the 2001 team during halftime of the Patriots-Rams regular-season matchup. 

The Patriots have already featured images of moments from the 2001 campaign on tickets for their eight regular-season home games. They'll also have a special exhibit dedicated to the 2001 team at The Hall at Patriot Place beginning in the fall. In addition, issues of Patriots Football Weekly this year will include posters of shots from the 2001 season. 

"The Super Bowl XXXVI win over the Rams was the first championship for our team and will always hold a very special place in our hearts," Patriots chairman and CEO Robert Kraft said in a statement. "The victory made everyone that ever wore a Patriots uniform or rooted for the Patriots on the bleachers at Foxboro Stadium feel proud to be a fan. I know I am looking forward to reliving some of those great memories throughout the 2016 season."

The Patriots said that video vignettes of the 2001 season will launch this week on Twitter and Facebook as well as on Patriots.com.