Doc 'likes' week off before season

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Doc 'likes' week off before season

WALTHAM, Mass. - Having more than a week to get ready for their season opener at Miami is for the most part a good thing for the Boston Celtics.
"I like it," Celtics coach Doc Rivers told reporters following the team's practice on Thursday. "I'd rather have this than playing on Friday, I'll say that."
Boston closed out its preseason schedule with a home loss to Philadelphia on Sunday with their regular season opener against the Heat on Oct. 30.
But with so much time in between games, Rivers acknowledges one of the challenges the C's face will be keeping themselves sharp enough to play well.
"That's gotta be tough," Rivers added. "To have this much time off and then play a game ... that's not an easy thing. You'd rather have some games around the corner, but we don't."
But don't confuse Rivers' comments as him grumbling about the extended time off which he has referred to as a "second training camp."
"I still would rather have this, for the season," Rivers said. "For one game, I'd take having a game on Friday. But for the whole season, I like this week."
The extra time without games also affords a number of Celtics time to heal some of those preseason aches and pains.
Celtics center Darko Milicic suffered a right wrist injury during the preseason. The injury kept him out of four of Boston's eight preseason games.
It is not totally healed, but it should not prevent him from being available at the start of the season which is what he feared the most with the injury.
"I want to be ready when the season starts," Milicic told CSNNE.com in a recent interview. "I'll be ready."
Following Thursday's practice, Milicic said the wrist -- which was taped up -- was "feeling great."
Another Celtic on the mend this week is Chris Wilcox, who suffered a back injury shortly before the Celtics left for Istanbul, Turkey. He did not play in any of Boston's  eight preseason games.
"We out here grinding, getting ready for the year and I couldn't be part of it," Wilcox told reporters following his return to practice on Wednesday. "(Wednesday) was a great challenge for me. I went up there and worked hard. I didn't expect too much (on the first day back), but I think I did we'll."

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.