Farrell weighs in on remaining tasks for Red Sox

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Farrell weighs in on remaining tasks for Red Sox

BOSTON Before a charity event at Fenway Park Friday night, new Red Sox manager John Farrell spoke about several of the items on his to do list between now and spring training.

One of his priorities:

It will be to work through the pending World Baseball Classic situations, what players are still on the provisional rosters. Those provisional rosters are going to come out here in the next four, five days, and then to understand whos going to be in camp and whos not. Because this is a critical spring training for us with the number of new players. Pretty much a complete and new coaching staff. So weve got to gain a lot of familiarity with one another. Theres some history. Theres a lot of work to be done in terms of getting to understand the individual strengths of each players.

On who his first baseman is:

Well, Mauro Gomez is on our roster right now. Obviously, Mark Hamilton is a young guy that weve signed. But were all well aware of the situation with free agent Mark Napoli thats still being worked through. I know general manager Ben Cherington is doing whatever he possibly can so that when we report to spring training weve got that position answered.

Its understood. This isnt a major surprise at this point. I have the utmost confidence that that question will be answered in due time. Were working through it.

Farrell and his staff met at the Sox spring training complex in Fort Myers in December to familiarize themselves with the park, which is new to most of the staff:

As a staff we met in early December just to get familiar with the facility. In talking with people after they went through it for one full year there was some bugs to be worked out in the daily schedule. So we had a chance to go down, not only walk through the internal part of the facility but to get to the layout, the amount of space that needs to be covered. So hopefully we can keep our daily schedule as efficient and as tight as possible.

Ive been there as opposition but never saw the inner workings and whats available. But compared to where they moved from: state of the art facility. Its a tremendous place.

If hes talked with everybody he feels he needs to talk to at this point in the offseason:

I dont think youre ever done having conversations, whether it's the acquisition of a player that affects another guys situation, that youre always being clear and communicating what the vision is going into spring training, whether or not our rosters completely built at this point, which probably isnt likely. So theres still those initial contacts to be made with those players yet to be joining us. But again, I dont think youre ever done being in touch with given players.

If he is comfortable with his roster and familiar with his players:

A familiarity, yes. To get to knowing them fully, well take advantage of spring training as best we can. Again like I said, ultimately what players go and participate in the WBC that could take away from that a little bit, if its a player that signed here during the offseason or a trade. Well get a better handle on that probably over the next 7-10 days. But as far as the overall roster, I like what we have now. Certainly on paper, not only are they a talented group but its a group that has shown and has a very strong history to be solid team players and ones that have had success and have won.

If players have committed to the WBC:

No not fully yet. The first step is the provisional rosters and then you start to get some feedback from MLB on whos likely or potentially to be on that roster. We dont have complete clarity to that yet. And I dont know that any team or any country has really solidified their rosters.
If there are advantages to players participating in the WBC:

The thing about it is youre hopefully, whatever player participates theyre getting the appropriate number of at-bats, the number of innings, the progression is what you typically go through in a normal spring training. However, theres a competitive element that gets thrown in the mix in March that is probably a little bit more than a normal spring training would hold. But the benefits that it has to grow the game worldwide, its a very popular thing at MLB.

First impressions: Longoria makes Buchholz pay in Red Sox' 4-3 loss to Rays

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First impressions: Longoria makes Buchholz pay in Red Sox' 4-3 loss to Rays

BOSTON - First impressions from the Red Sox' 4-3 loss to Tampa Bay:

* There's a steep learning curve for a set-up man, as Clay Buchholz discovered.

Although he's pitched out of the bullpen for the last couple of months, most of those appearances weren't of the high leverage variety. More often than not, the Sox had a sizeable lead, or Buchholz was brought in earlier in the game. Or they were behind and he was mopping up.

But Tuesday was different. The Rays had battled back to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh, and after Matt Barnes got the final out in that inning, Buchholz came in to start the eighth.

After getting Kevin Kiermaier on a groundout to lead off the inning, Buchholz threw a four-seamer to Evan Longoria that the Tampa Bay third baseman launched toward the Charles River, clearing everything and putting the Rays up by a run.

It was a reminder that in late innings of close games, one pitch, with missed location, can really hurt.

 

* Hanley Ramirez knocked in two runs. He was sort of lucky.

In the fifth inning, Ramirez hit a twisting opposite-field fly ball down the right field line. It landed just past the Pesky Pole in right, measured at 307 feet, the shortest homer in baseball this season, according to ESPN Stats and Information.

Then, an inning later, Ramirez hit a pop fly that drifted into shallow right. Three Rays defenders converged -- first baseman, second baseman and right fielder -- and somehow the ball dropped in between all three for a run-scoring single.

Two cheap hits, two RBI.

At times, you'll see hitters mash the ball, only to have it hit right at someone for an out. Rotten luck, and all.

Tuesday night, Ramirez got to experience the flip side of that.

 

* Drew Pomeranz had an excellent outing -- until his final pitch of the night.

Through 6 2/3 innings, Pomeranz had allowed a single run on four hits while walking two and striking out eight.

He had retired 10 of the previous 11 hitters he had faced, and while he was approaching his 100th pitch, showed no evidence of tiring.

Then, Pomernaz hung a curveball to No. 9 hitter Luke Maile -- with two strikes, no less -- and Maile hit into the Monster Seats for a game-tying, two-run homer.

It was the first homer on a curveball allowed by Pomeranz in 153 innings this season, and all of a sudden, the outing wasn't so special.

 

Expect Red Sox call-ups to come in two waves when rosters expand

Expect Red Sox call-ups to come in two waves when rosters expand

BOSTON - On Thursday, rosters will expand for major league teams, enabling them to add as many as 15 more players -- if they so choose.

The Sox, of course, won't be adding nearly that many. In fact, they'll probably only promote three or so players by Sept. 1, with additional players added after minor league seasons end on Labor Day.

The Sox call-ups will come in two waves. A look at who might be called up and when.

FOR FRIDAY: (the Red Sox are off Thursday)

* catcher Ryan Hanigan

* reliever Joe Kelly

* outfielder Bryce Brentz.

Hanigan is finishing up a rehab assignment and will provide the Sox with a third catcher, enabling John Farrell to either pinch-hit or pinch-run for one of his two catchers (Bryan Holaday and Sandy Leon) without worrying that he's putting himself in a potential bind.

Kelly would give the Red Sox another swing-and-miss bullpen option, though he's yet to establish himself as big league reliever.

Meanwhile Brentz would give the Sox another outfield option with the injury to Andrew Benintendi and further free up Brock Holt for infield duties.

FOR TUESDAY: (Day after International League season ends):

* reliever Heath Hembree

* infielder Deven Marrero

* reliever Noe Ramirez

Hembree has been effective in spurts and could offer some match-up options against righthanded hitters.

Marrero was a September call-up last year and could be a late-inning defensive replacement for Travis Shaw at third, or spell Xander Bogaerts at short if the Sox want to rest Bogaerts in one-sided games.

In the bullpen, Ramirez would serve as a long man in games in which a starter is knocked out early.

 

Davis Mega Maze unveils corn maze tribute to David Ortiz

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Davis Mega Maze unveils corn maze tribute to David Ortiz

STERLING, Mass. -- Nothing quite measures up to the latest tribute to retiring Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz.

A corn maze dedicated to the player known as Big Papi was unveiled at a ceremony Tuesday in Sterling, Massachusetts.

Ortiz had a message for his legions of fans at the unveiling: "I love corn."

The 8-acre maze was created by Davis Mega Maze and features a cornstalk rendering of Ortiz's trademark home run pose of pointing two fingers to the sky. It's accompanied by the phrase "Thanks Big Papi."

The maze opens to the public on Saturday.

Davis Mega Maze has been carving a different design into the field every year for about 20 years. This year marks the first time a living celebrity has been featured.