Gomes knows he 'can't butt heads with the Monster'

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Gomes knows he 'can't butt heads with the Monster'

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Jonny Gomes reported to camp Wednesday morning, ahead of Fridays first official workout for position players. Gomes joined the Red Sox in November as a free agent, agreeing to a two-year, 10 million contract to play left field.

He appeared in 99 games for the As last season, batting .262, helping Oakland to the American League West title. Gomes played just 39 games, with 25 starts in left, in 2012. Throughout his eight-season career, during which hes also played for the Rays, Reds, and Nationals, Gomes has played 327 (292 starts) games in left and 145 (130 starts) in right. He knows Fenway Parks left field presents unique challenges.

Its the only left field like that in the game, Gomes said. Ive played it before. It doesnt worry me by any means. Just got to accept it. Cant butt heads with the Monster. Itll be an adventure but Im definitely excited.

Gomes, a career .244 hitter, with a .790 OPS, believes he has other tools to offer the Sox.

Hopefully some right-handed sock, he said. I got some speed as well. Just continue to play the game right. Im open to batting anywhere in the lineup, up, down, move around, protect some guys. Just help the rest of the guys touch the plate.

But Gomes, who turned 32 in November, was brought in as much for his on-field abilities as he was for his clubhouse abilities. The Sox hope he can be one of the new players to help change the sour atmosphere that has permeated the clubhouse since the Sox disastrous end to the 2011 season.

Im kind of biased to that situation, Gomes said. Quote-unquote clubhouse guy, quote-unquote leader. You dont get that with one year in the big leagues. You dont get that with two years in the big leagues. You dont earn that role and then that role disappears and then it might come back somewhere else. Its a hard role to earn. Its a hard role to bounce around and at the same time earn and demand respect inside the clubhouse. But I think its fairly easy to tell you the truth because I think theres one way to play the game and I think theres one way to respect the game. I dont think thats very negotiable. You do that correctly and you do that right and you do that on an everyday basis, I think it stands out.

Gomes, who finished third in Rookie of the Year voting in 2005, has been on three small-market teams that have gone to the postseason over the last five years the 2008 Rays, the 2010 Reds, and last season with the As.

What does it all have in common? Gomes asked. I think thats different for everybody but once you get inside that clubhouse and really figure some things out, it really does all add up.

Gomes was aware of the dysfunction that surrounded the Sox last season. But hes not concerned with it.

I think whats different about me and some of the guys that came in here, we werent miserable last year, he said. I wasnt. Do I know what happened here last year? Absolutely. But Im not going to let that bring me down. I wasnt a part of it. I won a division title last year. We had a great year. So I dont know about all the miserable and butting heads with everybody in the clubhouse. So I cant really respond to that because I didnt do it. But Im not going to change the person I am by any means. I just come in here and do what I do.

Ive seen this place rock and roll. I was against these guys in 2004, 2007. Ive seen Sox nation, Fenway, Boston, just be at the highest level it could possibly be. Were not too far removed from that now. Theres still some core pieces in here that have rings, have red sox rings. Its not like were bringing the old 70s back, the guys who won in the 80s to throw out the first pitch. These guys are still in uni and obviously starting with the manager. We dont got to go too far back to define winning in a red sox uniform.

Rick Porcello starts, Drew Pomeranz relieves in Red Sox' 5-3 loss to Twins

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Rick Porcello starts, Drew Pomeranz relieves in Red Sox' 5-3 loss to Twins

Rick Porcello and Drew Pomeranz combined to allow all five of the Red Sox' runs in Boston's 5-3 loss to the Minnesota Twins.

Porcello finished his start by fanning four, allowing four hits and earning two runs over four innings. Pomeranz followed in the next four innings with four strikeouts, five hits allowed and three earned runs. Pomeranz allowed ByungHo Park's eighth-inning, two-run homer, which ended up being the game-winner.

Porcello, however, was optimistic after the loss.

"The buildup was good," Porcello told reporters, via RedSox.com. "Today I felt as good as I've felt all spring. At this point, I'm ready to go. I'm looking forward to the start of the season."

While the Sox offense was able to get three runs off Ervin Santana in his 4 2/3 innings, they struggled against the Twins' next five pitchers. Xander Bogaerts (2 of 3) and Pablo Sandoval (1 of 3) managed homers. Hanley (3 of 3) Ramirez had a double, and Dustin Pedroia (2 of 3) had two singles.

Kyle Kendrick will start Thursday in the Sox' final Spring Training series against the Washington Nationals. First pitch is at 1:05 p.m. ET.

Who's on first for Red Sox? It may be not someone you'd expect

Who's on first for Red Sox? It may be not someone you'd expect

Who’s on first? A middle infielder, maybe.

Hanley Ramirez, Josh Rutledge and Mitch Moreland aren't fully healthy. So the 25th man on the Red Sox has become a matter of corner-infield triage.

Rutledge was gearing up to play some first base with Ramirez restricted to DH because of his throwing shoulder. But Rutledge is hurt now too, likely headed to the disabled list with a left hamstring strain, Sox manager John Farrell said Wednesday morning in Florida.

Here’s the easiest way to think about who takes Rutledge's place: Who would the Red Sox like to see less against left handed pitching, third baseman Pablo Sandoval or first baseman Mitch Moreland? 

If it’s Sandoval, then you carry Marco Hernandez, who can play third base.

“He’s a very strong candidate,” manager John Farrell told reporters in Florida on Wednesday. “He’s one of a few that are being considered strongly right now.” 

If it’s Moreland, than you carry Steve Selsky, who has a history playing first base.

“He’s a guy we’re having discussions on,” Farrell said. “Any guy in our camp that we feel is going to make us a more complete or balanced roster, Deven Marrero, they’re all in consideration.”

The additional wrench here is that Moreland has the flu. If he's not available at all for a few days to begin the season, then the Sox probably have to carry Hernandez.

Why? Because Brock Holt can play some first base if Moreland is out. But then, you’d need another back-up middle infielder, and Hernandez gives you that. 

Hernandez is also hitting .379 in 58 at-bats this spring entering Wednesday.

Moreland isn’t the only one who has the flu.

"It’s running through our clubhouse," Sox manager John Farrell told reporters in Florida on Wednesday, including the Providence Journal’s Tim Britton. "Probably be held out for three days for a quarantine.” (LINK:http://www.providencejournal.com/sports/20170329/with-josh-rutledge-and-mitch-moreland-ailing-first-base-depth-compromised-for-red-sox)

That means the Red Sox won't have Moreland for their exhibitions against the Nationals on Friday and Saturday in Washington D.C. and Annapolis, Md. Moreland could still be ready for the regular season, but would likely be at less than full strength.

Having Ramirez available would sure make things a lot simpler for the Sox.

Both Sandoval at third base and Moreland could use right-handed bats to complement them. Or more specifically, they could use people who can hit left-handed pitching to complement them.

Hernandez is a left-handed hitter who might actually be able to hit lefties. But the Sox haven't used him at first base, and there's no indication they will.

“As we look at the upcoming games, there is the potential for two left-handed starters in Detroit,” Farrell said. “So there’s a number of things being factored right now.”

Early in spring training, Farrell was asked what player had started to catch his eye.

The guy he mentioned was Selsky, an outfielder and first baseman the Red Sox feel fortunate to have picked up off waivers because he still has minor league options remaining.

Now Selsky, who has already technically been cut from major league spring training, has a chance at making the opening day roster. He's 27 and hit .356 in 45 Grapefruit League at-bats.

Chris Young isn't going to have an easy time finding at-bats as it stands now, but the Sox aren't considering moving him to first base.