Buchholz continues to progress; Bedard hurting

486540.jpg

Buchholz continues to progress; Bedard hurting

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Even with the news that both Kevin Youkilis (hip) and Erik Bedard (lat strain) had returned to Boston to have injuries further examined, the news wasn't all bad for the Red Sox Friday.

Pitcher Clay Buchholz, sidelined since June with a stress fracture in his lower back, had what manager Terry Francona labeled "a really good day,'' in his comeback effort.

Buchholz threw from a distance of 120 feet, the longest distance from which he's thrown.

"He ended up with 70 throws,'' said Francona. "Very aggressive. The last 10 were on flat ground. He'll back off a little (Saturday) then we'll kind of put a program together for the last couple of weeks (of the season).

"We've got to sit down with Curt (Young, pitching coach) and Mike (Reinold, head trainer) and see what that is. But he really had a good day. It's encouraging when he gets out that far and he still feels better and better.''

Sometime next week, Buchholz should be able to start throwing off a mound in spikes and that will be the toughest test yet for his ailing back.

While the Red Sox are doubtful that Buchholz will have sufficient time to build up his arm strength enough to start again this year, they're holding out hope that he might be available to contribute out of the bullpen.

For a team seeking for a solution to its seventh-inning woes, Buchholz could have a role ready-made for him -- assuming he continues to progress and doesn't experience any setbacks.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Moreland not worried about filling Ortiz's shoes because 'there's no replacing him'

Moreland not worried about filling Ortiz's shoes because 'there's no replacing him'

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Mitch Moreland knows he's likely the only new player in Boston's lineup since David Ortiz retired at the end of last season.

He's just not listening to those who say he needs to replace Big Papi's lofty production.

"I try not to hear it because there's no replacing that guy," said the 31-year-old first baseman, who signed a one-year, $5.5-million deal with the Red Sox during the offseason.

"I think it's going to be more of a team effort," he said. "Obviously we picked up two big arms as well, and it's a very balanced club."

After playing his first six-plus seasons in the majors with the Texas Rangers, Moreland is with a new organization for the first time in his career. So far, he said, the move has been smooth.

"They welcomed me from Day One," he said. "Handshakes and hugs right off the bat. It's going to be a lot of fun. You can see why they had so much success last year."

Coming off a subpar 2016 with a .233 batting average, 22 homers and 60 RBI, Moreland tested free agency. He wanted to go to a team that had a good chance at competing for a championship -- like he felt with the Rangers.

"Something that was at the top of my list as a player," he said. "If I was going to be on a team, I wanted a team that had a chance to win. It makes it that much more fun to come to the park every day when something's on the line and you're fighting for a chance to play in the playoffs, fighting to win the division and fighting to win a World Series."

A first-time Gold Glove winner last season, Moreland knows the defending A.L. East champion Red Sox wanted his defensive skills at first to allow Hanley Ramirez to shift to Ortiz's vacated DH spot.

"It gives you a little more confidence," Moreland said. "I take pride in that. That's going to be my main goal, to go out and show what they saw."

A left-handed batter like Ortiz, Moreland knows some people will expect him to fill the void offensively because of which side of the plate he bats from.

"I think it'll be a group effort picking up what will be missing," he said. "There's no replacing that guy."

Manager John Farrell also said the club needs to move on from Ortiz so Moreland and everyone else can relax and focus on their own game.

"David's effect on the lineup was felt by a number of people. We know opponents would game plan for David," Farrell said. "I think it's important for our guys - as we put David out of our mind, in a good way - that it's still a focus on what their strengths are in the strike zone."

The transition may be easy for Moreland so far, but one thing has certainly changed: spending spring training in Florida instead of Arizona.

"Fishing's a lot different than Arizona, so that's nice," he said.

NOTES: "We're getting a firsthand look to why he's been so successful and an elite pitcher," Farrell said after left-hander Chris Sale pitched batting practice. The Red Sox acquired Sale from the Chicago White Sox in an offseason trade for four prospects. They also acquired right-handed, hard-throwing setup man Tyler Thornburg from Milwaukee . . . Farrell said righty Steven Wright, who missed the final two months of the season with a shoulder injury, "was unrestricted in his throwing." . . . The Red Sox will have a shorter workout Tuesday with the players association set to talk to the team and the organization's annual charity golf tournament in the afternoon.

Report from the Fort: Trenni and Lou discuss pitching

Report from the Fort: Trenni and Lou discuss pitching

Trenni Kusnierek and Lou Merloni comment on Tyler Thornburg's, Steven Wright's and Drew Pomeranz's work at Red Sox training camp on Monday.