Notes: Lowrie happy to be healthy for spring training

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Notes: Lowrie happy to be healthy for spring training

By SeanMcAdam
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- Of late, there has been talk that Jed Lowrie might be able to unseat incumbent shortstop Marco Scutaro with a strong showing in spring training.

General manager Theo Epstein said last week that competition is a good thing for a club. But prior to Thursday's Boston Baseball Writers' Award dinner, manager Terry Francona seemed to back Scutaro.

"Lowrie comes up and gets an opportunity last year because a lot of guys were beat up,'' said Francona, "and he hits the ball all over the ballpark. He has the ability to play four different infield positions.

"Rather than worry about an infield competition -- Scutaro is our shortstop -- this guy Lowrie gives us something that I don't know many teams can say they have. He's a switch-hitter that can play first, second, third and short -- and play it a lot. He can play first base. He can play second base, third, short. He can play it for a week. He can play it for a day. He can play it for two weeks.

"That, at some point, is probably going to save us . . . And he's a switch-hitter, to boot. There's a lot to really like. Jed is certainly an everyday player, in our opinion. It may not happen in April. But that's not really a bad thing."

If nothing else, Lowrie is happy to be heading into spring training finally healthy, having been hampered the last two offseasons with a hand injury, then battling through mononucleosis last spring training.

"The difference is the quality of work I've been able to do,'' said Lowrie, "just because I've had my health, so I can really tell a difference in the quality of work I've been able put in. It seems like it's been so long (since I was healthy).''

Francona had positive health updates for a number of players who suffered
injuries last season.

''Adrian Gonzalez will be behind everybody else for sure (after October shoulder surgery),'' said Francona, "and it will be important, when we get down to spring training, to get a gauge on where he is. We don't want to set him back. If he's a little slower than everybody else, that's not the end of the world.

"We certainly want him playing, but he want him playing healthy. We can handle missing a guy for a week; we don't want to be missing a guy for two months.''

Kevin Youkilis, who underwent thub surgery last August, was nearly 100 percent in October, shortly after the season ended.

"He's been fine,'' said Francona of Youkilis. "Dustin Pedroia is doing terrific and Jacoby Ellsbury has a clean bill of health.''

Also on hand Thursday night were former Red Sox minor-leaguer Anthony Rizzo;
Sox outfielders Ryan Kalish and Darnell McDonald; pitchers Clay Buchholz and Rich Hill; pitching coach Curt Young; Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington, and Detroit Tigers reliever Joaquin Benoit.

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

Cardinals pull away late for 7-2 victory over Red Sox

Cardinals pull away late for 7-2 victory over Red Sox

The Cardinals broke open a close game with four runs in the last two innings against Red Sox relief prospect Chandler Shepherd and went on to a 7-2 exhibition victory over Boston yesterday at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers.

Red Sox-Cardinals box score

The loss dropped the Sox to 1-3 for the exhibition season.

Boston had jumped on top, 1-0, on an RBI single by Mitch Moreland in the bottom of the first, but St. Louis countered with two runs in the second and one in the third, all against starter Brian Johnson. It remained 3-1 until the Cards touched Shepherd for two runs in the eighth and two in the ninth. The Red Sox added their final run in the bottom of the ninth when catcher Jordan Procyshen, who spent last season at Single-A Salem, hit a sacrifice fly.

Moreland, Xander Bogaerts and Chris Young each had two hits for the Red Sox. who also got scoreless relief from Teddy Stankiewicz, Noe Ramirez, Robby Scott, Kyle Martin and Brandon Workman. It was Bogaerts' last game before leaving to compete for The Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic.

The Sox host the Yankees on Tuesday at 1:05 p.m.

Dustin Pedroia taking cues from Tom Brady to extend his career

Dustin Pedroia taking cues from Tom Brady to extend his career

Dustin Pedroia is no stranger to injuries. That's a big reason why he's no longer a stranger to the sometimes peculiar practices of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

In an interview on WEEI's "Bradfo Show," Pedroia told Rob Bradford that he's been taking cues from the five-time Super Bowl-winning QB to help extend his playing career and make his body healthier and more durable.

“I understand what he does and know what he does. I think it’s awesome,” Pedroia told Bradford. “There’s a reason why he’s successful at his age (39), and he looks better now than he did when he first came to the league. You have to be smarter as you get older and learn different styles -- the way to train and the way you take care of your body to be able to perform and stay on the field. It doesn’t matter what sport you’re playing. He’s definitely got that figured out.”

Pedroia, of course, played the entire 2013 World Series-winning season with a torn ligament in his thumb. He's battled through various other lower body and hand injuries over the past few seasons, as well. But in 2016, he had his best season in recent memory, posting his highest OPS since 2011, as WEEI notes.

Part of that is with his own take on the Brady approach -- which focuses more on pliability and resistance training than extensive, heavy weight lifting -- and a healthier overall lifestyle, something Brady is notoriously infamous for having.

"There’s tons of ways to take care of your body. It’s not just get in the weight room and throw weights around,” Pedroia explained. “As you get older, the human body can’t take the pounding if you’re going in there and power lifting. When you’re younger, you can handle some of that. But as you get older, you got to be smarter. Sometimes less is more -- whether that’s weight or reps or whatever. You’ve just got to be smart. And eating wise, that’s a big part of recovery. If you put the right foods in your body, you’ll heal faster if you’re injured or recover faster. It’s like a car, man. Put bad gas in, bro. It’s not going to be the same as good gas.”

He hopes the approach can, at the very least, keep him moving for quite some time.

“I plan on living until I’m 100," he said. "So we’re not even halfway home."