Ortiz taking the field (very) early this year

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Ortiz taking the field (very) early this year

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Most seasons, David Ortiz doesn't break out his first baseman's glove until late May or June, when interleague play begins and American League teams can't use the DH in road games.

But there will be no waiting this spring. When the Sox play their first exhibition games of the spring Saturday, Ortiz will be the first baseman in the nightcap of a college doubleheader.

"I am?'' asked a surprised Oritz when questioned about playing first this early. "Oh, expletive. We're starting on the wrong foot. Just wish me luck.''

Asked if he could recall the last time he played first in an exhibition game, Ortiz shook his head.

"I don't remember,'' he said.

Manager Bobby Valentine said having Ortiz at first so early was more out of early-spring necessity.

"He's one of the first basemen,'' shrugged Valentine. "And talking with Adrian Gonzalez and David, too, David doesn't mind playing a lot and Adrian wants to work his way into playing a lot. So I suspect Ortiz will get innings.

"He's moving along well in all the drills. He's a better looking first baseman than I suspected, right now."

The only other actual first baseman in camp is Lars Anderson, who is unlikely to make the team's Opening Day roster.

Valentine could potentially utilize utilityman Nick Punto at first. Punto has played six positions in the big leagues -- third base, shortstop, second base and all three outfield spots -- but never first base.

Still, Valentine believes he could handle it if called upon.

"Nick's willing and able to do most anything,'' said Valentine. "He's been terrific in what he's done and what he says he can do.''

Another option is third baseman Kevin Youkilis, who was the team's starting first baseman for a number of seasons before switching back to third last year.

Ehrhoff signs a PTO with the B's after World Cup

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Ehrhoff signs a PTO with the B's after World Cup

The Bruins will add another veteran defenseman to their training camp group fresh off the World Cup of Hockey as German D-man Christian Ehrhoff is headed to Boston on a PTO (professional tryout agreement). CSN has confirmed that Ehrhoff has indeed agreed to a PTO with the Bruins, and he'll report to the team sometime this weekend.

The 34-year-old Ehrhoff had three assists in six World Cup games for Team Europe, and had two goals and 10 points in 48 games for the Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks last season while clearly starting to slow down a bit. He’s clearly no longer the player that averaged 14 goals and 47 points for the Vancouver Canucks from 2009-2011, and is another left-shot defenseman to add to a team that already has Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug.

But it behooved the Bruins to bring in at least one “name” veteran D-man on a tryout basis during this training camp with so many needs for upgrades on the back end, and with a host of young players that might not be ready for prime time. This might also be a warning sign for young veteran Joe Morrow, a left shot D-man that has struggled a bit in training camp after coming off an erratic first full season at the NHL level.

Clearly the Bruins need more than Ehrhoff, however, even if he’s somehow re-energized with the Bruins after playing pretty well in the World Cup. The Kings were down enough on his game to put him through waivers last season, but he was a top-4 defenseman for the previous eight seasons for San Jose, Vancouver, Buffalo and Pittsburgh prior to getting bounced around between the Kings and Blackhawks last season.

The added bonus with taking a look at Ehrhoff is that there’s no risk associated with a PTO, and the Bruins can simply walk away with no cost if the B’s coaching staff decides he’s not a good fit for the group in Boston. On the other hand, bringing in a Kris Russell-type would cost a great deal in terms of money and term in a free agent contract, and it might not benefit the Black and Gold club in the end result.