Cameron happily talked himself out of a job


Cameron happily talked himself out of a job

By Sean McAdam

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Carl Crawford's signing last December pushed Mike Cameron out of a starting job, but that doesn't mean that Cameron didn't welcome the move.

In fact, he helped make it happen.

Cameron, who arrived at camp early Thursday morning, called Crawford at the behest of general manager Theo Epstein and attempted to sell him on coming to Boston.

"I was being a little bit of an assistant GM," said Cameron. "or a college recruiter. I just told him about the positives and let him figure out what he wanted to do. I talked about my experiences, what it's like playing in Boston."

Of course, since Cameron's sale pitch was successful, Cameron himself is without a full-time position. He's expected to serve as Jacoby Ellsbury's backup in center and get significant at-bats in right field against lefties. He could also DH some, with David Ortiz sitting against some left-handers.

Asked how defined his role is, a smiling Cameron said: "I don't know. I just showed up. I played 14 years of 150 games in center field so. I'm excited about what is in store for me, the challenge of a different role I'm going to have to take on. I've got every tool in the bag to prepare for what's in store. Ultimately, I'm just getting ready for good baseball in 2011.

"It will work itself out. I just want to be part of a really good, healthy baseball team."

Though he played center last season, it's been a while since Cameron has played much in right.

"I've got a little experience over there," he said. "The only place I would have to work at it would be left field. I'm cool with it. I have to get re-aquainted with it."

Given that Cameron is still capable of playing every day, it's possible that there could be clubs who come to the Red Sox to ask about his availability.

"I'm sure that's definitely going to take place," said Cameron. "But that's the last thing on my mind. I know there's a possibility of that taking place. As of now, I'm here."

He's also healthy, having labored through the first half of last season with an abdominal tear and a sports hernia. He finally underwent season-ending surgery in August, impacting his off-season.

"I had to change everything because I did so much physical therapy," he said. "Five days a week, three hours. But I feel I'm a lot stronger in the places I need to be. So I'm looking to have a healthy mind and healthy body."

The therapy began four days after the surgery was performed and lasted until the first week of February. He feels good, but the biggest tests are still to come.

"I guess it's uncharted," he said. "As much as I did at home, we'll find out when we start really going. We always say it's not about being in shape, it's about being in baseball shape. Hopefully, my old man doesn't kick in for a while."

Cameron is bullish on the Red Sox' potential, regardless of what role he plays.

"This kind of reminds me of my years in Seattle, when everything was loaded -- pitching staff, bullpen," said Cameron, who played with the Mariners from 2000-2004 when they never won fewer than 91 games and won 116 in 2001. "Everytyhing's in place. Now we just have to work to put everything together, try to stat healthy. If everything falls into place, we should be pretty good.

"Josh Beckett pretty much said it: We have a chance to win 100 games and that ain't easy to do in this division. To do it in this division, that's a pretty high goal. But we're capable with the talent in here."
Sean McAdam can be reached at Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Red Sox-Yankees: Pregame news and observations


Red Sox-Yankees: Pregame news and observations

BOSTON -- As we get ready for the first Red Sox-Yankee series of the season, some pregame news and observations:

* Eduardo Rodriguez was at Fenway, to be checked by the training staff after his rehab outing in Syracuse Thursday night. Rodriguez allowed three runs -- two earned -- in 3 2/3 innings. He allowed six hits and walked three while striking out two.

"He came through it fine from a health standpoint,'' said John Farrell. "He was probably a little rusty. He's going to need some innings.''
Rodriguez is scheduled to pitch again Tuesday for Pawtucket. The Sox are undecided about what their plans are beyond that, but it seems likely he'll make another rehab start after that.

* Blake Swihart made his debut in the outfield Thursday, and according to Farrell, had just one chance in left: a ball that he initially lost in the lights before eventually recovering.

"The first game, after some work...(he's), as we all are: a work in progress,'' said Farrell. "The footwork was initially something that we had to address (in pre-game work). We've had (minor league outfield coordinator) Billy McMillon in there to work with him. It's been about some of that first-step reads and jumps to his routes to get accustomed to. Here's a guy, for the last four or five years, the game is coming to him (behind the plate). Now, all of a sudden, he's reacting to balls off the bat. It's a completely different view of the game. This is going to take some time in the outfield.''

Farrell said the goal is to get Swihart in the outfield a couple of times per week.

* Farrell hinted that the Sox may be close to dropping a pitcher -- they currently are carrying 13 - and adding another position player. For the past week, the Sox have had just three extra position players on the 25-man roster.

"Maybe (Friday night) might have some impact on that,'' said Farrell, suggesting that as long as starter Henry Owens doesn't need relief help early, the Sox may be in a position tomorrow to swap a reliever for a role player.

As it stands, the Sox have an extra catcher, outfielder Chris Young and infielder Josh Rutledge. Not long ago, they had infielder Marco Hernandez up, but Farrell said it wasn't a given that the player added will be an infielder.

"I don't think we need to center around an infielder,'' said Farrell. "The best complement would be a left-handed bat.''

On the 40-man roster, that profile fits only two players: Hernandez and Swihart, who's a switch-hitter.

Hernandez was optioned back to Pawtucket on April 20, and rules state that a player must spend 10 days in the minors before being recalled. On Saturday, that 10-day period will have elapsed.

It's highly unlikely that Swihart would be brought back so soon, since the Sox want him to continue his development behind the plate and get more comfortable in the outfield.

"We wanted him to come up here and not play more than half the week,'' said Farrell. "I think that derails everything that we're trying to accomplished currently.''

* Joe Kelly (shoulder impingement) threw a 35-pitch bullpen Friday and will throw long-toss Sunday, with another bullpen set for Tuesday. After that, the Sox will schedule his first rehab assignment for an affiliate.

"He's going to need some innings, obviously,'' said Farrell. "We haven't gotten him to full speed yet. For any pitcher, that last five to ten percent of intensity is always the benchmark. We're going to have to build him up to 80-plus pitches.''

* The Red Sox lost lefty Edwin Escobar on a waiver claim to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Escobar was taken off the 40-man roster and designated for assignment when the Sox had to get William Cuevas onto the 40-man roster.

Friday's lineups: Red Sox vs. Yankees


Friday's lineups: Red Sox vs. Yankees

BOSTON -- Henry Owens will be on the mound tonight, making his second start of the season, as the Red Sox play the Yankees for the first time in 2016.

The lineups:

Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Brett Gardner LF
Carlos Beltran RF
Mark Texeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez DH
Brian McCann C
Starlin Castro 2B
Chase Headley 3B
Didi Gregorius SS
Masahiro Tanaka P

Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Travis Shaw 3B
Brock Holt LF
Ryan Hanigan C
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Henry Owens P