Early Sox notes: Plenty of potential replacements for Beckett

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Early Sox notes: Plenty of potential replacements for Beckett

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- If Josh Beckett is unable to make his scheduled start Thursday against Philadelphia -- and at this point, that seems a given, since Beckett hasn't been cleared yet to return to physical activity -- the Red Sox will have no shortage of options to take his place.

"Curt Young, pitching coach is going through our pitching," said Terry Francona. "Obviously, we have a ton of pitching. And I think he's writing it in like Beckett is not pitching, just to make sure we're all set. We have plenty of pitching. I don't know who would be the starter, but we'll figure it out."

With Beckett's timetable for return still uncertain, the Sox could have Beckett throw a side session Thursday, or delay his return to the mound in game action by a day or two.

Alfredo Aceves, who was scheduled to pitch an inning in relief Tuesday, will start for a split-squad team in Sarasota against Baltimore Saturday.

Aceves has the ability to pitch in relief or start, giving the Sox some flexibility.

While Aceves pitched against the Orioles, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Tim Wakefield will pitch in Fort Myers against Florida the same afternoon.

The Sox are scheduled to face Tim Hudson when the Atlanta Braves visit City of Palms Park Wednesday. On Thursday, Cole Hamels will start for visiting Philadelphia . . . Bobby Jenks will make his spring debut Thursday against the Phils . . . Adrian Gonzalez didn't swing off a tee or take flips Tuesday, but is expected to progress to the point where he's taking swings off a pitching machine "coming up this week,'' said Francona. "He'll have a week of that before he (takes live BP)."

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.