Notes: Cameron looking at time in right field

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Notes: Cameron looking at time in right field

By SeanMcAdam
CSNNE.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Mike Cameron, who played center field for the Red Sox last year before going down with a sports hernia, will likely see more action in right field this season, according to Terry Francona.

The arrival of Carl Crawford and the return of a healthy Jacoby Ellsbury has pushed Cameron out of the starting lineup. But he nicely complements the left-hand-hitting J.D. Drew and could see plenty of action in right against lefty starters.

"Cam's played right,'' said Francona. "He's only played a couple of games in left. I don't anticipate him playing left very much. But you'll see him in spring training played a lot of right field.''

Cameron hit .357 -- in limiting playing time -- against lefties while batting only .225 against righties.

Meanwhile, Francona said on the rare days Crawford sits, Ellsbury would remain in center rather switching to left, where he played last season.

"I guess I would want to talk to those guys about that,'' said Francona. "But if Jacoby's playing everyday in center, I'd just as soon leave him there.''

For years, the Red Sox used "shuttle runs'' -- 300-yard sprints back and forth across the field -- as a way to test and measure conditioning of their players.

This year, however, the team has changed course and will use the runs only to further conditioning, not measure it.

"We just felt like with guys coming off injuries and the way guys compete,'' said Terry Francona, "we just decided to (do testing) inside (the clubhouse facility). We just thought we were putting the guys in awkward conditions. Some we didn't want to run it; some we thought were running too hard. So we just decided we'd do as part of conditioning.''

Starting Tuesday, pitchers will begin throwing bullpen sessions, building up arm strength.

Pitchers will throw two bullpen sessions, then, after a day off, will throw two live batting practice sessions before seeing any game action.

Among the players reporting Monday: catcher Jason Varitek, shortstop Jose Iglesias, pitchers Dan Wheeler, Matt Albers and Alfredo Aceves.

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

Harper, Strickland throw punches in Nationals-Giants brawl

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Harper, Strickland throw punches in Nationals-Giants brawl

SAN FRANCISCO - An enraged Bryce Harper charged the mound, fired his helmet and traded punches to the head with San Francisco reliever Hunter Strickland after getting hit by a fastball, setting off a wild brawl Monday during the Washington Nationals' 3-0 win over the Giants.

Drilled in the right hip by a 98 mph heater on Strickland's first pitch in the eighth inning with two outs, none on and Washington ahead 2-0, Harper didn't hesitate. The slugger pointed his bat at Strickland, yelled at him and took off.

No one got in Harper's way as he rushed the mound. His eyes were wide as he flung his helmet - it sailed way wide of Strickland, it might've slipped - and they started swinging away. The 6-foot-4 Strickland hit Harper in the face, then they broke apart for a moment before squaring off again. Harper punched Strickland in the head as the benches and bullpen emptied.

Giants teammates Michael Morse and Jeff Samardzija collided hard as they tried to get between the two fighters. Three Giants players forcefully dragged Strickland from the middle of the pack all the way into the dugout, while a teammate held back Harper.

Harper and Strickland were both ejected. They have some history between them - in the 2014 NL Division Series, Harper hit two home runs off Strickland, and the All-Star outfielder glared at the reliever as he rounded the bases after the second shot in Game 4.

Drellich: After golden 2016, Red Sox remember what it's like to have things go wrong

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Drellich: After golden 2016, Red Sox remember what it's like to have things go wrong

CHICAGO — More than anything else, Monday’s 5-4 Red Sox loss was a reminder of how much the Red Sox had go right for them a year ago, and just how unrealistic it was to expect so much of it to carry over into 2017.

The Red Sox remain a very good team. But the success of last year’s 93-win team, of any 93-win team is, truly, difficult to replicate. Unlikely, even.

Baseball’s age of parity, the randomness of freak injuries, good old regression — the Sox were due for some elements to catch up to them after a season that was more or less golden in 2016.

Dustin Pedroia, who headed back to Boston on Monday for an MRI on his left wrist, was healthy enough to hit 15 home runs a year ago, his highest total since 2012. The way this year is going for him health-wise, just having him on the field and hitting close to .300 sounds like a worthwhile goal the rest of the way.

(Slides are Pedroia’s enemy, be it from an oncoming base runner, like Manny Machado, or an oncoming first baseman, like Jose Abreu.)

David Price wasn’t living David Price’s best baseball life a year ago. But you know what you can, and probably do, take for granted? He was healthy and devouring innings. He cleared more frames than anyone else in the regular season. Even when he wasn’t pitching well, he could pitch and pitch and pitch. 

Jackie Bradley Jr. had a 1.001 OPS at the end of play on May 29, 2016. His OPS after play May 29, 2017, was .670.

We know how special David Ortiz was. Let’s not go there, because it seems like no one can talk about Ortiz’s absence rationally. His exit did not suck every home run out of the Sox lineup, as many like to say is the case, but he is — of course — a big missing piece.

Not everything was perfect in 2016, lest we remember our ex-girlfriends too fondly. Carson Smith went for Tommy John surgery, for example. 

But look now: Smith still isn’t back, Tyler Thornburg is a mystery if not quiet yet an afterthought and Robbie Ross Jr. not only struggled to the point he was demoted, he’s going through elbow trouble.

Rick Porcello won the American League Cy Young, much to Kate Upton’s chagrin. Porcello will not win the Cy Young this year, if you hadn’t been paying attention, although Chris Sale might.

There’s something going well for the Sox right now: that Sale guy. The bullpen coughed up the game Monday, Matt Barnes in particular. Yet Sox relievers had the fifth best ERA of any team to start the day. 

Hey, Eduardo Rodriguez looks pretty good, doesn't he?

With some downward trends have come some positives. Craig Kimbrel's on another planet.

The Sox may still be a 90-win team. Again, they remain a very good club.

But the wins, the breaks aren’t coming as easily as they did a year ago. You should never have expected they would.