Celtics already honing their playoff rotation


Celtics already honing their playoff rotation

MIAMI The playoffs are just a couple of weeks away for the Boston Celtics. And if you're wondering what their playoff rotation is going to look like, no need to worry about that.

The C's have been going with essentially a playoff-like rotation the past few games, which isn't that unusual this time of year.

Boston is basically going eight players deep with one big man (Greg Stiemsma), a wing player (Sasha Pavlovic) and a guard (Ray Allen).

Those were the only non-starters to play in Boston's 86-72 win at Indiana on Saturday. The Celtics went 11-deep in Sunday's 103-79 win over Philadelphia, but that had more to do with the lopsided nature of the game.

Marquis Daniels has been on both sides of the playoff rotation equation.

"The big thing is you always have to stay ready," said Daniels who is currently out of the regular rotation. "You never know when you're going to get your number called. That's why you see me sometimes staying late, working on my game, so that whenever Doc (Rivers) needs me, I'll be ready to play."

Although he's only a rookie, Stiemsma has adopted a similar mindset.

It helped him get through those long stretches earlier this season when he wasn't playing. And it allows him to have a greater appreciation for where he's at now.

"Whether you're playing or not, you have to come into every game expecting to play," Stiemsma said. "That's one of the great things about being on this team, with a bunch of great guys, great veterans; their preparation. They come ready to play, every night. So when you get out there, you better be ready to play because you don't want to let your teammates down or anything."

While the Celtics are prepared to go into the postseason with this eight-man rotation, you can count on it being expanded when Mickael Pietrus (concussion) returns.

Rivers told reporters prior to Sunday's win over Philadelphia that Pietrus had already passed one of the required tests in order to be allowed back on the floor.

Shortly after Pietrus' concussion, which occurred in Philadelphia on March 23, Rivers was hopeful to have him back in the fold for the playoffs. But if Pietrus continues to progress at this rate, there is a possibility that he could be back in the lineup before the regular season is over.

And that would give the C's even more depth, something no team will refuse as it heads into the playoffs.

Moreland not worried about filling Ortiz's shoes because 'there's no replacing him'

Moreland not worried about filling Ortiz's shoes because 'there's no replacing him'

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Mitch Moreland knows he's likely the only new player in Boston's lineup since David Ortiz retired at the end of last season.

He's just not listening to those who say he needs to replace Big Papi's lofty production.

"I try not to hear it because there's no replacing that guy," said the 31-year-old first baseman, who signed a one-year, $5.5-million deal with the Red Sox during the offseason.

"I think it's going to be more of a team effort," he said. "Obviously we picked up two big arms as well, and it's a very balanced club."

After playing his first six-plus seasons in the majors with the Texas Rangers, Moreland is with a new organization for the first time in his career. So far, he said, the move has been smooth.

"They welcomed me from Day One," he said. "Handshakes and hugs right off the bat. It's going to be a lot of fun. You can see why they had so much success last year."

Coming off a subpar 2016 with a .233 batting average, 22 homers and 60 RBI, Moreland tested free agency. He wanted to go to a team that had a good chance at competing for a championship -- like he felt with the Rangers.

"Something that was at the top of my list as a player," he said. "If I was going to be on a team, I wanted a team that had a chance to win. It makes it that much more fun to come to the park every day when something's on the line and you're fighting for a chance to play in the playoffs, fighting to win the division and fighting to win a World Series."

A first-time Gold Glove winner last season, Moreland knows the defending A.L. East champion Red Sox wanted his defensive skills at first to allow Hanley Ramirez to shift to Ortiz's vacated DH spot.

"It gives you a little more confidence," Moreland said. "I take pride in that. That's going to be my main goal, to go out and show what they saw."

A left-handed batter like Ortiz, Moreland knows some people will expect him to fill the void offensively because of which side of the plate he bats from.

"I think it'll be a group effort picking up what will be missing," he said. "There's no replacing that guy."

Manager John Farrell also said the club needs to move on from Ortiz so Moreland and everyone else can relax and focus on their own game.

"David's effect on the lineup was felt by a number of people. We know opponents would game plan for David," Farrell said. "I think it's important for our guys - as we put David out of our mind, in a good way - that it's still a focus on what their strengths are in the strike zone."

The transition may be easy for Moreland so far, but one thing has certainly changed: spending spring training in Florida instead of Arizona.

"Fishing's a lot different than Arizona, so that's nice," he said.

NOTES: "We're getting a firsthand look to why he's been so successful and an elite pitcher," Farrell said after left-hander Chris Sale pitched batting practice. The Red Sox acquired Sale from the Chicago White Sox in an offseason trade for four prospects. They also acquired right-handed, hard-throwing setup man Tyler Thornburg from Milwaukee . . . Farrell said righty Steven Wright, who missed the final two months of the season with a shoulder injury, "was unrestricted in his throwing." . . . The Red Sox will have a shorter workout Tuesday with the players association set to talk to the team and the organization's annual charity golf tournament in the afternoon.

Report from the Fort: Trenni and Lou discuss pitching

Report from the Fort: Trenni and Lou discuss pitching

Trenni Kusnierek and Lou Merloni comment on Tyler Thornburg's, Steven Wright's and Drew Pomeranz's work at Red Sox training camp on Monday.