Merloni: Farrell will have big impact on pitching staff

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Merloni: Farrell will have big impact on pitching staff

Lou Merloni is live from Fort Myers, FL for Red Sox Spring Training and joins Mike Felger on Sports Tonight to talk about the Sox pitching staff.

The staff was a disaster last year, but the hope is that new Sox manager, and former Sox pitching coach, John Farrell can change things. Merloni is on board with that way of thinking.

"I think he can have a big impact. Listen, the last time he saw these guys, a lot of them were on top of their game. Whatever liberties they took with Terry Francona, and the last couple of pitching coaches, I think that does go away. There was that fear factor with John Farrell; he does have that presence."

Merloni and Felger also tackle the news that John Lackey has arrived in camp having lost a ton of weight. Merloni doesn't seem to care much, but Felger thinks it's a good signs.

The two do agree on Jon Lester's recent comments regarding another "level" he can reach as a pitcher.

Check out the video.

Good news for Benintendi: Just a sprain, and he may return this year

Good news for Benintendi: Just a sprain, and he may return this year

BOSTON -- The news was about as good as it could be -- under the circumstances -- for rookie outfielder Andrew Benintendi.

Benintendi underwent a second round of tests and examinations Friday, which revealed he is only dealing with a sprained left knee. The tests found no structural damage to the knee, and the ACL remains intact.

"When you think back and look at the video,'' said manager John Farrell, "this could have been much, much worse.''

Benintendi injured the knee Wednesday night at Tropicana Field when he attempted to return to second base after breaking for third on a grounder to shortstop, and had the knee buckle on him.

He had to be helped off the field and, initially, it was feared Benintendi had suffered a more severe knee injury, one that would require a surgical procedure.

"I'm definitely fortunate,'' said Beintendi. "It looked a lot worse than it actually was. It's unfortunate it happened and I'll try to get as healthy as possible as quickly as I can.''

"We're lucky that the ACL is not involved,'' said Farrell. "We're still optimistic that he could return this season.''

Benintendi was placed on the disabled list Thursday and will be lost to the team for at least the next two weeks, and likely longer.

"It's an interruption,'' acknowledged Farrell. "His production has been apparent, on both sides of the baseball. He's had an impact. So we're going to miss him. But at the same time, I think we've gotten a lot of good news here today that, despite the injury and the DL stint, there's optimism in this and that's in his return sometime this season.

"He'll be back as (soon as) available, and optimistically, we're thinking that could still be the regular season.'' Farrell praised Benintendi for being a "complete player.''

Benitendi was walking without a limp, though he was wearing a brace on the knee for additional support.

"He's actually feeling better today than [Thursday],'' said Farrell. "He's improved. This is going to take a little time. Obviously, it's going to take 15 days at a minimum. What further time is needed remains to be seen. But today was some good news -- (especially considering) what could have been.''

"At the time,'' added Benintendi, "I was nervous and didn't know what to expect.''