By Sean McAdam
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Both before and after their 8-5 defeat of the New York Mets, the Red Sox made five roster cuts, optioning shortstop Jose Iglesias, infielder Yamaico Navarro, catcher Luis Exposito, first baseman Lars Anderson to the Pawtucket roster and returning outfielder Juan Carlos Linares to the minor league camp.
Manager Terry Francona offered these brief scouting reports:
On Iglesias: "I don't think we saw the type of hitter we're going to eventually see. His mentality is, he was trying to show so much and make an impact. He gets in in the sixth inning and he wants to do too much. I think when he settles down and gets into a season, we'll find out what kind of hitter he can be. And we all know the defense is there. But I think the offense will continue to grow as he gets more grounded and gets some at-bats . . . He just needs to go play.''
On Navarro: "He's come a long way. The word we use with all the young guys is 'accountability.' When young kids come here, it's trust and accountability. It's not just how you swing the bat. It's 'Do you know all our plays?' Because every game is so important. And I think he's learning that and I think he continues to learn and mature. He's got such good bat speed. It's going to be fun to watch and see how much better he can get. He got a little taste of the big leagues last year and got beat up a little bit. It will be interesting to see how he reacts now.''
On Anderson: "Lars defensively is like night-and-day -- he's just come so far. And he just needs repetition, and that's what we told him. I think he's disappointed because he came into camp and hasn't really knocked the ball all over the ballpark (hitting .161 in Grapefruit League games). We tried to re-assure him that what he does during the season will show what kind of a hitter he is.''
On Linares: "Linares is really interesting. Obviously, the major league staff didn't know him very well. At first blush, you look at him and say, 'I don't know if this guy can play center field.' And then you see him run around out there. He can actually play all three outfield positions, he's very aggressive at the plate, and he hustles on every ball that's in play. He's a pretty exciting guy.''
That the five were also optioned to the Pawtucket roster does not, however, mean that they will all necessarily open the year at Triple A.
Navarro and Anderson will open the season at Triple A, and given his age (26), Linares probably will, too. But no decisions have been made on Exposito or Igliesias.
Iglesias missed several months with a hand injury last year, and could open the season either at Pawtucket or repeat Double A at least for a few weeks.
Exposito will probably go to Pawtucket, too, but the Sox could opt to keep Paul Hoover, who has brief major-league experience, and pair him with Mark Wagner for the catching duo at Triple A.
The moves bring the Sox to 43 players in camp, 18 over the limit for Opening Day with two weeks remaining.
The Red Sox' speed and aggressive style was on display in the third inning when Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford combined to put pressure on the Mets and combine for two runs, helping the Sox to an 8-5 victory.
With one out and Nate Spears on first, Ellsbury singled to right, sending Spears to second. Crawford then singled to shallow right, scoring Spears and sending Ellsbury to third. Right fielder Lucas Duda's throw was airmailed wild and Ellsbury, reacting quickly, scored.
Then, with Jed Lowrie batting, Crawford stole second and took third when catcher Josh Thole's throw down landed in center.
"That's what speed can do,'' said Francona. "Ellsbury kept his head up. Those are good things. If he doesn't keep his head up, he doesn't score. It's fun to watch that. We've seen Carl do that kind of thing against us. So with Jacoby and Carl doing that for us, let the other team have the headache.''
On Friday, the Sox have a split-squad, day-night schedule, with one team hosting Detroit in the afternoon and another traveling to Port Charlotte to face Tampa Bay at night. Clay Buchholz, Dennys Reyes, Hideki Okajima and Michael Bowden will pitch at home, with Tim Wakefield, Matt Fox, Matt Albers and Randy Williams set to throw in Port Charlotte.
Bobby Jenks will pitch two innings in a minor league game Friday. Francona wants every reliever to have a multi-inning appearance before the spring is over.