Red Sox hope to finish spring training injury-free

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Red Sox hope to finish spring training injury-free

By SeanMcAdam
CSNNE.com

SARASOTA, Fla. -- There are still two games remaining in Florida and another in Houston before the 2011 Red Sox play a game of consequence. But with less than a week to go, it seems as though the team will accomplish what every club hopes for each February and March: an injury-free spring training.

It's likely that the only member of the organization to start the season on the disabled list will be pitcher Junichi Tazawa, who is less than a year removed from Tommy John surgery.

None of the players expected to make the Opening Day roster is hurt, quite a change from last year in which the Sox endured a seemingly endless litany of injuries. Four regulars missed most of the second half of the season -- Dustin Pedroia (foot), Kevin Youkilis (thumb), Jacoby Ellsbury (ribs) and Mike Cameron (abdominal strain) -- and the Sox lost a total of 1,018 games with 19 different players spending time on the disabled list.

All four of the aforementioned players are completely healthy, with no residual issues. Just as critically, the Sox suffered no injuries during spring workouts or games.

Manager Terry Francona said the team's good health isn't an accident.

"We try to be really careful especially with pitchers,'' said Francona. "I know you can't help some things from happening. I think our medical staff really deserves a lot of credit.''

Francona said head trainer Mike Reinold and two staff assistants visited every member of the pitching staff over the offseason to make sure that winter programs were being followed.

"It's not just a phone call,'' said Francona. "Every guy got visited and we made sure their workouts were where they were supposed to be, so there were no surprises coming into camp.''

That means, when it comes to the final two roster decisions, the Red Sox can make their evaluations and personnel moves without regard to health.

"That's nice,'' Francona said. "Guys aren't limping and we haven't been thinking about it. Except for Felix Doubront, who felt some elbow soreness in February and fell behind, it's been basically guys competing and not, 'Well, we've got to back him up and his arm is sore.' "

Other clubs around the game haven't been nearly as fortunate.

The San Diego Padres lost projected Opening Day starter Mat Latos. Several other N.L. teams, including the St. Louis Cardinals (Adam Wainwright) Cincinnati Reds (Johnny Cueto) and Milwaukee Brewers (Zack Greinke), have all lost starting pitchers to spring injuries.

Closer (competitively and geographically) to home, the Yankees will start the season without outfielder Curtis Granderson and projected backup catcher Francisco Cervelli.

The Chicago White Sox will be without front-line starter Jake Peavy for at least the first month and Texas, the Red Sox' first opponent of the season, just learned that Tommy Hunter will open the season on the DL with a groin injury.

Not so with the Sox, for whom an injury-free spring could be attirbuted to good planning and, perhaps, after last year, some good karma.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Saturday's Red Sox-Rangers lineups: Wright tries to stay on roll

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Saturday's Red Sox-Rangers lineups: Wright tries to stay on roll

Knuckleballer Steven Wright will try to stay on a roll, as will the Red Sox, as they continue their three-game series tonight (9:20) against the Rangers in Arlington, Texas.

Wright (8-4, American League-leading 2.01 ERA) faces Rangers right-hander A.J. Griffin (3-0, 2.94), in his first start since coming off the 15-day disabled list.

The Red Sox rallied to win the series opener 8-7 with a four-run ninth inning.

The lineups:

RED SOX
Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Travis Shaw 3B
Bryce Brentz LF
Christian Vazquez C
---
Steven Wright RHP

RANGERS
Shin-Soo Choo RF
Ian Desmond CF
Nomar Mazara LF
Adrian Beltre 3B
Prince Fielder DH
Roughned Odor 2B
Elvis Andrus SS
Mitch Moreland 1B
Robinson Chirinos C
---
A.J. Griffin RHP
 

Red Sox call up RHP Cuevas, send Marrero to Pawtucket

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Red Sox call up RHP Cuevas, send Marrero to Pawtucket

With the Red Sox bullpen taxed in recent days by pitching 18 1/3 innings the past four games, including a short outing Friday night by starter David Price, right-hander William Cuevas was called up from Triple-A Pawtucket and infielder Deven Marrero was sent down.

Cuevas, 25, made one relief appearance for Boston (allowing two runs on three hits in 2 1/3 innings in his major league debut April 21) and had been starting at Pawtucket (4-3, 3.30 ERA in 12 starts). He pitched 5 1/3 innings on Sunday. He'll be available out of the bullpen tonight as the Red Sox continue their three-game series in Texas. 

Marrero, 25, appeared in four games and went 1-for-7 in his latest stint in Boston.