Gonzalez 'feels good' after first swings of spring


Gonzalez 'feels good' after first swings of spring

By Sean McAdam

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- It may have been only 20-25 swings off a tee, taken in the early morning, in the solitude of the batting cages.

But it was a nice return to baseball activity for Adrian Gonzalez.

Gonzalez swung for the first time since undergoing surgery on his right shoulder last October, putting him on the road back to recovery a little earlier than expected.

Originally, Gonzalez was to go visit Dr. David Altchek this week in Port St. Lucie, Fla. But Altchek was delayed in arriving and the Sox instead decided to have their own medical director, Dr. Tom Gill, speak with Altchek by phone Sunday. As Gill described what he found in his routine physical last Friday, Altchek gave Gonzalez clearance to begin swinging off a tee.

"I felt good,'' said Gonzalez. "They said four months after surgery to start swinging and today is four months plus a day, so I'm on schedule. I didn't hold back. I took good, healthy swings and I felt fine.

"You're waiting to see if you feel something different and I didn't, so that's a good sign . . . The only thing I had any concerns with were the first couple of swings, see how it responded. Once the first two swings felt great, it was just like taking 18 more swings.''

Gonzalez will also swing off a tee Tuesday and Wednesday before taking a day off from swinging Thursday. At that point, he'll be revaluated and perhaps starting taking regular batting practice.

"I've been ready to swing,'' said Gonzalez. "It was just a matter of getting the clearance. First, it was today that I was going to see the doctor, then it was pushed back to a couple of days later and Altchek still hadn't reported to New York Mets' camp. We didn't know exactly what day it was going to be, so we just kind of turned it around and had Dr. Gill give him a call.

"Dr. Gill checked me during the physicals and on his take, I was good, so we just went ahead with it . . . We'll just take it a day at a time.''

Gonzalez reiterated that he feels he'll be ready for the April 1 regular season opener.

"Even if I had started swinging March 1, I was on pace to start April 1,'' said Gonzalez. "Shoulder's healthy, so it's just like normal.''

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

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.

Betts and Bradley Jr. combine for seven RBI, Red Sox roll to 9-2 win


Betts and Bradley Jr. combine for seven RBI, Red Sox roll to 9-2 win

The Boston Red Sox put up six runs in the first inning and coasted to a 9-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night.

Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. led the way for the Red Sox with four and three RBI respectfully. Both outfielders had two-run home runs in the Sox’ big first inning.

Knuckleballer Steven Wright gave up one earned run in four innings, his ERA for the spring is now 0.68.

The Red Sox are back in action again on Wednesday at 1:05 p.m when Rick Porcello makes his final spring training start against the Minnesota Twins.