Cherington: We feel good about where we are


Cherington: We feel good about where we are

BOSTON While Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington has said he is comfortable with the status of the team, if an opportunity to improve the squad presents itself he will look into it.

If spring training started tomorrow, wed feel good about where we are and ready to put the team together, he said. We think we have a lot of options to fill out the pitching staff. There will be competition certainly in camp in the bullpen and in the rotation. I think we have some options. We had some options, internal options.

"We feel like were going to have enough depth in the position player side to figure out whatever we need to do there and perhaps protect against Carl Crawford who underwent surgery on his left wrist on Tuesday, not quite being ready on Opening Day. Well see on that note.

That said, spring training doesnt start tomorrow. So we have our eyes open if theres ways to improve the team between now and Feb. 19, I think is the report date. Well do that. Or after the 19th. We feel pretty good about where were at right now.

Cherington expects strong seasons from both Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz.

Yeah, theyve both had really good off-seasons, he said. Our new pitching coach Bob McClure has been in touch with both as is the medical staff. Its been a really good offseason for both. We dont expect any issues with either of them going into camp . . . Really good year.

Asked how the 2012 teams is better than that of last season, Cherington replied:

There were a couple things that were themes for us this offseason. Number one was that we didnt feel like we needed fundamental change. This was a team that was on pace to win a lot of games and make the playoffs. And then we had a really tough September. Multiple reasons for that. Certainly it gets back to the team on the field and how they played. But we didnt feel like we needed wholesale changes. We feel like we needed to add depth in areas we could.

"We lost a closer, we replaced a closer. We had the best DH in the game and that guy is back on the team. So the job never ends. Were protecting our depth and protecting the team. We just didnt feel like we needed wholesale changes. That said, we do feel like we have better depth in some areas. We will have better depth in some areas in spring training, going into the season than we did at times last year. Some of that is just sort of the natural maturation of our own players that have been here. Some of that will come in the form of players weve acquired.

Cherington said if an opportunity to add a player to improve the team arose, while also potentially putting the team over the luxury tax threshold, he believes ownership would be willing to allow him to do so.

WATCH: Celtics vs. Pistons

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Celtics-Pistons preview: C's need to defend their top-four spot in East

Celtics-Pistons preview: C's need to defend their top-four spot in East

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- On Friday night, Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan absolutely torched the Boston Celtics. The game before that, it was Chicago’s Jimmy Butler giving the Celtics major fits with a barrage of baskets. 

Both were All-Star starters this year, the kind of lofty status that helps explain how the Celtics were so defensively-challenged in their efforts in limiting them.

Detroit doesn’t have a bona fide high-scoring perimeter star like those other teams, but don’t think for a minute that tonight’s game will be a breeze for the Celtics. Boston (37-21) comes in having lost two in a row to Chicago and Toronto, respectively. The Raptors loss was especially painful because it assured the Raptors would get the higher seed in the playoffs if these two teams finished with an identical record. 

Boston hopes to secure an edge over the Pistons tonight with a victory that will give them the season series, three games to one. While it may seem a bit early to get too caught up in tie-breakers and their importance, the last thing Boston wants is to finish the regular season tied with one or more teams, and wind up with the lower seed because they lost the head-to-head series. 

“You hear people say every game counts; it’s true,” Boston’s Amir Johnson told “We need to win as many games as we can because you never know which game could be the difference between having home court or not.”

If Boston continues to find ways to win and finish with a tie-free, top-four finish in the East, they will begin the playoffs at the TD Garden for the first time under fourth-year coach Brad Stevens.

Meanwhile the Pistons are currently eighth in the East and, like the Celtics, they too opted to stand pat at the trade deadline. And like Boston, they are looking for growth from within as they try to make their way up the Eastern Conference standings. 

“We’re not real happy with how we’ve played up to this point overall,” said Stan Van Gundy, the Pistons’ president of basketball operations and head coach. “But we still have a young group. As much as you would like the progress to be steadily uphill, it’s not always. That doesn’t mean you lose faith in your guys. At the end of the day, we ended up standing pat, which is pretty much what we expected to do.”

One of Boston’s biggest concerns coming into the game will be rebounding. It was among the many factors contributing to Boston’s loss on Friday. But as much as execution at both ends of the floor will be a factor, effort will be just as vital if not more, to the success of the Celtics in the playoffs. There were plenty of reasons as to why Boston lost on Friday night, with effort being near the top of the list. 

“They played harder than us,” said Celtics forward Jae Crowder. 

And that was surprising when you consider what was at stake – a chance to push their lead over Toronto to five games with a couple dozen to go.

Rookie forward Jaylen Brown has heard all the reasons and explanations as to why the Celtics have hit a mini-hiccup following back-to-back losses. And he has also heard how Boston blew a golden opportunity to beat Toronto with Raptors all-star Kyle Lowry still out. 

“We didn’t have one of our key guys, either,” said Brown, referring to Avery Bradley still being out with a foot injury. So it’s basketball at the end of the day. It doesn’t’ matter who is on the floor. You have to do your job; we just have to do our job.”