Boston Red Sox

Lou Merloni's first impressions from Ft. Myers

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Lou Merloni's first impressions from Ft. Myers

Lou Merloni is down on the fort -- Fort Myers, that is. He's had his eyes on all the Red Sox players so far in camp, and comes away impressed with some, and not so impressed with others.

Joe Haggerty is in studio to ask Merloni what the scoop is down there. Who's impressed Merloni so far? The answer may surprise you.

"I would say your boy, Haggs - John Lackey," Merloni said. "There's a lot of opinion about this guy and I understand where it comes from. But when you watch him you watch with unbiased eyes and I know he looks good physically, but watching him on the mound, it was effortless. I was really impressed with how he threw the baseball. It looked like there wasn't much effort and windup yet the ball was coming out of his hand.

"Salty was catching him, and I thought just about every ball he threw was down at the knees, and probably kind of one-hand everything he threw above that. So I thought it was pretty impressive. I was interested to see how the weight loss would translate onto the mound, and I thought he looked good."

Merloni was also impressed with third baseman Will Middlebrooks.

But it's not all rainbows and butterflies down in camp. While Lackey may have lost a few pounds, it looks like he gave some of them to Felix Doubront, according to Merloni.

"I gotta be honest, I'm not exactly loving what I see when I look at Felix Doubront," Merloni said. " This is a guy that has had conditioning problems in the past. He got a taste of it a few years back. he came out, didn't really do much in the offseason and missed the entire season. Was motivated, spent the entire season in the big leagues last year.

"You just hope he did the work this offseason and didn't just sit there and think 'I've got it locked, I'm in this rotation' because right now it looks like he's added a few pounds. We'll see how this thing translates. Hope he doesn't miss too much time before you get Felix Doubront going."

MLB umpires end protest, will meet with Manfred

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MLB umpires end protest, will meet with Manfred

NEW YORK -- Major League Baseball umpires have ended their protest of what they called "abusive player behavior" after Commissioner Rob Manfred offered to meet with their union's governing board.

Most umpires wore white wristbands during Saturday's games after Detroit second baseman Ian Kinsler was fined but not suspended for his recent verbal tirade against ump Angel Hernandez. Kinsler said Tuesday that Hernandez was a bad umpire and "just needs to go away."

The World Umpires Association announced Sunday in a series of tweets that Manfred had proposed a meeting to discuss its concerns.

"To demonstrate our good faith, MLB Umpires will remove the protest white wrist bands pending the requested meeting," the organization posted on Twitter.

Kinsler was ejected by Hernandez last Monday in Texas after being called out on strikes. The next day, Kinsler sharply criticized Hernandez, saying the umpire was "messing" with games "blatantly."

"No, I'm surprised at how bad an umpire he is. ... I don't know how, for as many years he's been in the league, that he can be that bad. He needs to re-evaluate his career choice, he really does. Bottom line," Kinsler said.

Kinsler was fined, but the umpires' union felt he should have been suspended.

"The Office of the Commissioner's lenient treatment to abusive player behavior sends the wrong message to players and managers. It's `open season' on umpires, and that's bad for the game," the WUA said in a release on Saturday.