Sox notes: Sutton, Spears staying to the end


Sox notes: Sutton, Spears staying to the end

By Maureen Mullen

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Drew Sutton and Nate Spears have been informed that they wont be on the 25-man roster, but will be with the team for the trip to Houston to play the Astros in an exhibition game Wednesday.

They play all over the place, Terry Francona said. Theyre getting a ton of at-bats. Theyre great kids. So theyre going to stay right up to the end with us.

Spears has played all four infield position, right field, and left, including appearances in both the infield and outfield in several games. Sutton has played all four infield positions this spring. They are tied for the team lead with appearances in 22 Grapefruit League games this season.

Jon Lester will pitch in an intra-squad game Sunday at the minor-league complex.

Kevin Youkilis will hit in a minor-league game Monday at the complex. Hes had 43 at-bats in Grapefruit League games and could get another five to seven Monday. The Sox will host Twins Single-A teams.

The Red Sox are also trying to figure out what to do with left-hander Felix Doubront, who was limited this spring because of tightness in his left elbow. Extended spring training and the disabled list are options. He appeared in a minor-league game Thursday, his first game action of the spring. He is expected to pitch in his first Grapefruit League game Tuesday.

Daisuke Matsuzaka donated 1 million to help victims of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Third base coach Tim Bogar was away from the team Friday to attend to a personal matter. Ron Johnson took over coaching duties at third base, and Lynn, Mass., native Duncan Webb, the organization's player development program coordinator, coached first base.

Dennys Reyes relieved Beckett. Earlier this week Reyes extended his deadline from Friday to Saturday for the Red Sox to add him to the major league roster or allow him to become a free agent. He went 1 inning, giving up three runs (two earned) on two hits, including a three-run by J.P. Arencibia, and a walk. But he was not helped out by an error on a double-play ball.

Hes got good moment, Francona said. The ball Arencibia hit was actually a pretty good pitch. The four-pitch walk to his first batter, Eric Thames is not what were looking for. The ball, when its down, it moves. I think its the first ball Ive seen hit in the air.

Hideki Okajima was scheduled to pitch, but was told during the game a schedule change moved him to Saturdays game against the Twins.

Daniel Bard hit Corey Patterson in the helmet with the first pitch of his outing. One scout registered the pitch at 95 mph on his radar gun. Patterson walked off the field on his on but went to Lee Memorial Hospital for a CT scan. Bard spoke briefly to him. I just wanted him to know I didnt do it and not think twice about it, Bard said.

No preliminary report or anything, said Blue Jays manager John Farrell. He's gone to the hospital to get a CT scan. He was conscious when he came off the field, obviously. Until further tests come back, there's no real report yet.

Farrell didnt know if Patterson would be kept overnight in the hospital.

That will be up to the discretion of the medical people, he said.

Blue Jays starter Jesse Litsch also went to the hospital because of dehydration.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

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.