FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Outfielder Bryce Brentz, who finished last year at Pawtucket, will not be ready for the start of spring training after suffering a gunshot wound in his lower leg a few weeks ago.
"He had an accident,'' revealed general manager Ben Cherington. "It was at home, cleaning a gun. It accidentally went off and he was injured in the process. Fortunately for him, it's something he's going to recover from and be fine. It won't affect his baseball career. But he won't be 100 percent at the beginning of camp, so we ended up not bringing him to big league camp because he won't be able to participate.''
Cherington said "the bullet went into his leg and out the other side. I guess you could say he got lucky, relative to what could have happened. He's got to be careful. He's doing well. We wouldn't rule him out being in games at the end of spring training. We'll see how it goes the next couple of weeks.''
Cherington said the team doesn't have an established policy about players under contract having guns.
"Certainly, we've talked to Bryce,'' said Cherington, "and had a couple of conversations about how serious this is. He wasn't doing anything illegal or anything like that. He had a gun he was trying to clean and there was an accident. It's something we have to deal with case-by-case. We've talked to Bryce about it.''
In something of a departure, the Red Sox have invited shortstop Deven Merrero, their first-round pick from last year, to big league camp this spring. Typically, young players aren't invited to major league spring training until they've had a few seasons of pro ball.
"We haven't taken a college position player that high in a while,'' explained Cherington, "but he's a kid we've known for so long, back to high school. Typically, it's not something we do -- bringing in a draftee from the previous draft into camp.
"But we felt in this case, we knew him well enough, that he'd been through a lot, played a lot of baseball -- college, Team USA and played a premium position. We just want to get him exposed to the major league staff and we felt like it was appropriate to do it at this case.''
"We felt he was ready to be exposed to major league camp and he'll handle it in a way that's productive - despite the fact that he just joined us. I think we were a little comfortable with that because we've known him for so long. I don't think it's a departure (from policy) or anything. It doesn't mean that he's going to start at this level or that level. -- that will be determined at the end of camp.''
The organization's top two position prospects -- infielder Xander Bogaerts and outfielder Jackie Bradley -- will also be in major league camp.
"Both guys are pretty mature for their age and level,'' said Cherington, "and they've both accomplished some things on the field. I expect both to come into camp and be professional, treat the older guys with respect and when they're on the field, do what they can do.
"They're both talented kids and they don't need to take a back seat to anyone once they're on the field, so, it will be good for them and fun for us to see them.''
The Sox are still trying to determine how former players Jason Varitek and Pedro Martinez will be utilized in their new roles.
"We're still working on it,'' Cherington said. "Both he and Tek will be here periodically, maybe a few different times during the spring, probably for a similar amount of time. We're just trying to expose them to some different things on the field and off the field, to allow them to take advantage of what they have to offer but also for them to learn what areas they like the most, what areas they're most interested in. We expect this to be an evolving thing going forward. We'll start off this way and see how it goes and maybe it goes in a different direction going forward, depending on what their interests are.
"I think you'll see them both here, a few days here and there. It won't be a full-time role this spring.''