Sox nearly done with arbitration to-do list

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Sox nearly done with arbitration to-do list

Few franchises had as many arbitration-eligible players as the Red Sox at the start of this week. In the last two days, however, the Red Sox reduced that list from nine players to just one.

After first agreeing with catcher Jarrod Saltalamaacchia on a 4.5 million contract Thursday, the Red Sox crossed off six more names on the arbitration-eligible list Friday, first signing outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, newly-acquired closer Joel Hanrahan and then five more relievers to one year deals.

Lefty Craig Breslow is the only unsigned arbitration-eligible player, despite a mere 50,000 separating his filing request (2.375 million) and the team's offer of 2.325 million

Ellsbury got 9 million -- a raise of almost exactly 1 million over last year, when he earned 8.05 million - while Hanrahan agreed to a 7.04 million contract, up from the 4.1 million he earned from the Pittsburgh Pirates last season.

Andrew Bailey signed for 4.1 million, up slightly from his 3.9 million from 2012.

Alfredo Aceves more than doubled his salary, going from 1.2 million to 2.65 million.

Daniel Bard, who had a lost season and spent more than two months at Triple A Pawtucket, will earn 1.8625, up slightly from his 1.6125 from last year.

Andrew Miller agreed to a 1.475 million deal, an increase over the 1.04 million he earned last year.

Franklin Morales, who made just 850,000 in 2012, agreed to a 1.4875 million contract.

As expected, Red Sox send Swihart to Pawtucket

As expected, Red Sox send Swihart to Pawtucket

Blake Swihart wasn't going to win a job. Monday merely made that official.

Swihart was optioned out as the Red Sox made further cuts, sending a player who could still be the Red Sox catcher of the future -- well, one of them anyway -- to Triple-A Pawtucket, where he's expected to work on his receiving.

Swihart hit .325 in 40 Grapefruit League at-bats.

"Had a very strong camp and showed improvements defensively. Swung the bat very well," manager John Farrell told reporters in Florida.  "For the player that he is and the person that he is, you love him as a person. He's a hell of a talented player.

"He made some subtle adjustments with his setup [defensively]. That gave him a different look to pitchers on the mound. Pitchers talked positively about the look that they got from him behind the plate. I think it softened his hands somewhat to receive the ball better. And there were a number of occasions where he was able to get a pitchers' pitch called for a strike, so the presentation of the umpire was a little bit more subtle and consistent then maybe years' past."

Sandy Leon's hot hitting in 2016 earned him an automatic crack at the lead catching spot for this year. Combined with the fact that Christian Vazquez looks great defensively, went deep on Sunday and is out of options, Swihart was the obvious odd man out.

He had options, the others didn't.

Deven Marrero was also optioned to Pawtucket. Sam Travis -- who, like Swihart, could break camp with the 2018 team -- was reassigned to minor-league camp, as was catcher Dan Butler.

The Sox have 38 players left in camp, 32 from the 40-man roster.

Red Sox reliever Tyler Thornburg likely headed to disabled list

Red Sox reliever Tyler Thornburg likely headed to disabled list

Righty Tyler Thornburg seems a guarantee to join David Price on the disabled list to start the season.

Thornburg, the biggest acquisition Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski made for the bullpen this winter, was scratched Monday because of a spasm in his upper right trapezius — not a great sign for a pitcher who already had throwing shoulder issues this spring.

Sox manager John Farrell told reporters in Florida the spasm was “not shoulder related.”  But the trap, a large muscle along the neck and back, does extend to the shoulder blade.

Dombrowski told reporters it is most likely that Thornburg starts the year on the disabled list. More is expected to be known Tuesday, possibly after an MRI.

Robby Scott could be a replacement for Thornburg. If so, the Sox would likely have three lefties in the bullpen, along with Fernando Abad and Robbie Ross Jr.

"Possibly. Possibly," Dombrowski said of Scott. “We still have to make those decisions. But possibly.”

Dombrowski didn’t indicate a desire to go outside the organization for now.

Thornburg had barely enough time to get ready for Opening Day prior to Monday’s setback. If he indeed starts the season on the DL, Joe Kelly would be the eighth-inning reliever for the Sox — a role Kelly was headed for anyway given Thornburg’s shaky spring.

Thornburg, 28, had a 2.15 ERA last season for the Brewers. The Sox picked him up at the winter meetings in a deal that sent Travis Shaw and prospects to the Milwaukee Brewers.