Red Sox Notes: Sweeney opts out

Red Sox Notes: Sweeney opts out
March 30, 2013, 1:00 pm
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FORT MYERS, Fla. – Manger John Farrell said there are no roster changes from yesterday. That includes Jackie Bradley, Jr., and Ryan Sweeney, who informed the Red Sox he was opting out of his minor league contract.
 
The Sox have 48 hours from the time Sweeney informed them to counter his decision. Sweeney’s opt-out was based on being put on the major league roster on by March 28, which the Sox informed him they would not do.
 
Bradley will be on the team plane after today’s game, although the Sox have not officially announced his addition to the roster.
 
·  David Ortiz, who has been sidelined by sore heels related to his Achilles injury last season, will go with the Sox to New York and then return to Fort Myers when the Sox go on to Toronto next weekend.
 
“And at the time we’ll continue to increase the running and the agility while we’re here, while we go through New York and certainly when he gets back down here,” Farrell said. “So there’s a framework in place that would target sometime the following week to hopefully get some live at bats. That would be the week of April 8. That’s the general time frame right now without being hard and fast to a given date.”
 
Ortiz has begun running on a straight line. The Sox hope to increase that.
 
“We’ve been looking to get some change of direction involved here,” Farrell said. “That’s the next step. Hopefully that would be today. More of a gradual turn than a hard turn. That’s the next progressive step in the running portion.”
 
·  Stephen Drew, sidelined by concussion symptoms after being hit in the helmet by a pitch on March 7, will stay in Fort Myers when the Sox leave. The reason: He is getting closer to getting into a game.
 
“We feel like once he initiates game activity he would be able to continue on through it,” Farrell said. “And really that’s part of the protocol of MLB. He’s got to be cleared. The protocol has got to be in place before he can get on the field in any capacity in a game, whether it’s extended, whether it’s on a minor league rehab assignment, anything along those lines. Basically it’s a filing of paperwork. Along with that paperwork becomes the clearing by Dr. [Michael] Collins [the concussion specialist Drew saw earlier this month at the University of Pittsburgh].”
 
·  First baseman Mike Napoli is in the starting lineup for the fourth consecutive day, the first time he’s played that many games in a row this spring. Time off to deal with his hip condition will be on an as-needed basis during the regular season, with Daniel Nava, rather than Mike Carp, as Napoli’s primary back-up.
 
“More how [Napoli] feels and how we’ll look to take advantage of certain match-ups,” Farrell said. “How Nava fits in at first base. Obviously he would be the next guy to spell Mike on a given day. In an initial view we would look to see Nap in a DH role just to get him off his feet on a given day, so that’s part of that rotation with the DH slot.”
 
“Obviously Carp is going to see action in that role as well.”
 
·  With both Alfredo Aceves and Clayton Mortensen stretched out to pitch multiple innings, Farrell said Aceves would be the primary pitcher in that role.
 
“That would be Alfredo, given the role he’s pitched in over a longer period of time and certainly closing games out a year ago,” Farrell said. “But their versatility is certainly a benefit.”
 
“Probably depends on who else is available on a given day and where guys may slide back later in the game based on availability. Depending on score. Where we are in the line-up. There will be a number of  factors but both do provide multi-innings as does [Junichi Tazawa].”
 
·  David Ross is expected to be behind the plate, catching for Ryan Dempster in the third game of the season at Yankee Stadium. Ross is expected to catch more games than a typical back-up catcher would.
 
In games in which Ross is catching, Jarrod Saltalamacchia could be used in the DH mix.
 
“That’s a possibility,” Farrell said. “I’m not going to use that as a deterrent of something happens to Rossie and Salty has to go behind the plate. We’ll find our way through a given game, so that’s a possibility at some point. But we also feel good with [Jonny] Gomes’ ability in the DH spot, Nava’s ability in the DH spot. So we’ve got some options to mix and match there.”
 
But, Farrell will try to avoid a ‘personal catcher’ situation (such as Tim Wakefield and Doug Mirabelli had with the Sox for several seasons).
 
“Ideally, I’d like to stay away from it,” Farrell said. “What I don’t want, I don’t want to deny a good working relationship. At the same time, I don’t want to create what could be a reason as to why a pitcher might not want to throw to a certain catcher. We spend a lot of time working back and forth in pitcher-catcher meetings, in building that rapport. We want to put the best lineup on the field every day to win that game. So how those match-ups are factored in, but we want to be careful we’re not assigning one pitcher to a certain catcher.”

·  Left-hander Craig Breslow, who has been sidelined all spring with shoulder inflammation, will go with the Red Sox to New York for his bullpen session on Monday and then return to Fort Myers.
 
·  Franklin Morales, who has not pitched since Feb. 27 because of a herniated disc, will remain in Fort Myers.