Cherington: We feel good about where we are

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Cherington: We feel good about where we are

BOSTON While Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington has said he is comfortable with the status of the team, if an opportunity to improve the squad presents itself he will look into it.

If spring training started tomorrow, wed feel good about where we are and ready to put the team together, he said. We think we have a lot of options to fill out the pitching staff. There will be competition certainly in camp in the bullpen and in the rotation. I think we have some options. We had some options, internal options.

"We feel like were going to have enough depth in the position player side to figure out whatever we need to do there and perhaps protect against Carl Crawford who underwent surgery on his left wrist on Tuesday, not quite being ready on Opening Day. Well see on that note.

That said, spring training doesnt start tomorrow. So we have our eyes open if theres ways to improve the team between now and Feb. 19, I think is the report date. Well do that. Or after the 19th. We feel pretty good about where were at right now.

Cherington expects strong seasons from both Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz.

Yeah, theyve both had really good off-seasons, he said. Our new pitching coach Bob McClure has been in touch with both as is the medical staff. Its been a really good offseason for both. We dont expect any issues with either of them going into camp . . . Really good year.

Asked how the 2012 teams is better than that of last season, Cherington replied:

There were a couple things that were themes for us this offseason. Number one was that we didnt feel like we needed fundamental change. This was a team that was on pace to win a lot of games and make the playoffs. And then we had a really tough September. Multiple reasons for that. Certainly it gets back to the team on the field and how they played. But we didnt feel like we needed wholesale changes. We feel like we needed to add depth in areas we could.

"We lost a closer, we replaced a closer. We had the best DH in the game and that guy is back on the team. So the job never ends. Were protecting our depth and protecting the team. We just didnt feel like we needed wholesale changes. That said, we do feel like we have better depth in some areas. We will have better depth in some areas in spring training, going into the season than we did at times last year. Some of that is just sort of the natural maturation of our own players that have been here. Some of that will come in the form of players weve acquired.

Cherington said if an opportunity to add a player to improve the team arose, while also potentially putting the team over the luxury tax threshold, he believes ownership would be willing to allow him to do so.

Rask: Last season 'something to rebound from' personally

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Rask: Last season 'something to rebound from' personally

BRIGHTON, Mass. – While David Pastrnak, Tuukka Rask and David Backes are back from competing in the World Cup of Hockey in Toronto, that doesn’t mean you’ll see those players on the ice over the next couple of days. Perhaps the trio will practice on Monday in the fourth on-ice session at main training camp, but Bruins GM Don Sweeney confirmed that none of those returning players will suit up against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the B’s preseason debut at TD Garden on Monday night.

“Yeah…absolutely,” said Sweeney when asked if those three players have been ruled out for Monday night. “They’re going to get through the weekend here. Next week, we’ll evaluate [them] when they get on the ice. But, all those guys will not be on the ice until next week.

“It might be case-by-case for each guy. Those guys have been playing for a while at a high level. It’s unique for David Backes coming into the organization, so he’d like to integrate himself. I talked yesterday with all three of them just to get a read of where they’re at. But, sometime first of next week, they’ll be on [the ice].”

Both Pastrnak and Rask have checked in with the Bruins media over the last couple of days after returning from Toronto, and the Bruins goaltender, in particular, has plenty of motivation coming off a down statistical season. The 2.56 goals against average and .915 save percentage were well below his career numbers, and people like B’s President Cam Neely have pointed to Rask as somebody that needs to have a better season for Boston to rebound back into the playoffs this year.

“There were a couple of years where the standards pretty high, so obviously when they go down there’s something to rebound from. You kind of know where you can be. That’s where I try to be every year and I’m working on being there this year, and taking us to the playoffs and moving forward,” said Rask. “But every year is a new year where you’ve got to work hard, and set your goals to be at your best. More often than not you hope [being at your best] is going to happen, and I hope this year is going to be a great year for us.”

Clearly Rask wasn’t alone in his struggles last season behind a mistake-prone defense that allowed plenty of Grade chances, and that could be a repeating phenomenon again this season for the Bruins unless the defense is substantially upgraded along the way.

As far as the other three B’s players still taking part in the World Cup, it could be a while for Patrice and Brad Marchand as Team Canada has advanced to the final best-of-three series that could also feature Zdeno Chara if Team Europe is victorious.