Red Sox

Farrell kicks off first full-squad workout

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Farrell kicks off first full-squad workout

FORT MYERS, Fla -- John Farrell, who labeled managing the Red Sox his "dream job'' last fall, took a big first step in that role Friday, addressing all 59 players in camp, shortly before the start of the Red Sox' first full-squad workout.

The meeting, which lasted about 50 minutes, is an annual rite of spring. But for Farrell, it was also a new start as he returns to manage the team he served as pitching coach from 2007 through 2010.

"There was a lot to mention,'' said Farrell. "More than anything, a lot of it was introductory for a number of new players, new people they're coming in contact with. They were able to hear from ownership, from Ben, from myself. It was pretty typical, I would think, for an opening of spring training.

"There's a good number of players there's no history with. I think more than anything, that first conversation, first talk, is a way to set the tone, which I think was clear. But the thing we wanted to emphasize is that it's a matter of what we do on the field and not what we're talking about.

"We're hopeful and with every intent that our actions speak certainly more volume than our words. To a man in that room, everyone associates the name Red Sox with winning. And that came out in conversation throughout the off-season. There's been an eagerness to get back down here and get started and re-write that script.

Following the meeting, the Sox then went through their paces on their first full-squad workout.

"It was good,'' reported Farrell. "I thought things flowed well, based on what we set out to accomplish. Understanding that baserunning is an emphasis, we were able to get into that right away. Fortunately, the weather held off and it was a good work day.''

The Sox are waiting on a recent MRI of Mike Napoli before clearing Napoli to begin some work at his new first base.

"We're hopeful we get the results or read of that later today. No update as of yet.''

Meanwhile, David Ortiz met with Dr. George Theodore to check on his strained right Achilles. He later ran around some cones and took part in some sprints.

"It's part of his current rehab,'' said Farrell. "He's not (yet) in the baserunning or conditioning drills that we do or are doing. They're specific to his protocol, so he feels not only getting stronger, but with each passing day, there's less hesitancy to be a little more agile, a little bit more explosive. ''

Felix Doubront, who was found to have some weakness in his left shoulder earlier in the week, is on schedule to throw off a mound next Wednesday. First, he'll throw long toss at a distance of about 135 feet Saturday.

Lefty reliever Craig Breslow played long toss from 75 feet Friday and according to Farrell, has made "steady progres.''

Finally, there's Clay Buchholz (hamstring), who played long toss at 120 feet. He needs to pass what Farrell termed "functional running tests'' before the Sox allow him to fully participate in his normal spring activity.

"It's likely he'll get back on the mound -- he has no ill effects throwing -- to keep his arm strength going, probably prior to keeping loose with all the agility, PFP training.''

Will Middlebrooks blossomed last year before being struck on the hand with a pitch in the first week of August, causing him to miss the remainder of the season.

Farrell is still in the process of getting to know him, but likes what he sees.

"We know that there is still room to improve defensively,'' said Farrell, "with consistency in his footwork and range to his glove side. As the book gets out on him around the league, theres going to be, Im sure that adjustment, counter-adjustment as the league reacts to him. Hes set himself up at least in the first two-thirds of a season, hes started his career on the right foot.''

Middlebrooks is fully healed from the broken hand which he suffered in Cleveland last August.

"Theres no limitations at all,'' said Farrell. "When you see him take BP, the sound off his bat is different than most guys, even in this camp. Hes fully healed from the fracture.''

A number of players in the clubhouse -- including Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz and Jacoby Ellsbury -- know Farrell from his previous stint here. Still others, however, are just getting to know him.

"With many of the new players or guys I have no history with,'' said Farrell, "I have to earn my trust with them, earn my credibility. By virtue of the position, its not carte-blanche. Theres got to be trust established. Thats part of spring training. Thats one of the things from my end, in building a relationship with new players, well need every bit of these seven weeks.''

Tyler Thornburg wants a normal spring, but don't be surprised if it's bumpy

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Tyler Thornburg wants a normal spring, but don't be surprised if it's bumpy

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. — Don’t confuse the goal of a normal spring training with the likelihood one will follow.

Tyler Thornburg’s time with the Red Sox has been an ordeal. He’s optimistic he can have a regular spring training after undergoing surgery to treat thoracic outlet syndrome in June, a surgery that included the removal of a rib which is now on display at his parents’ house. 

He said Saturday, in fact, there’s a “very good chance” of a normal spring. But there’s also a chance his build up to regular-season form runs unevenly. And that would be OK.

“I started throwing Oct. 2, that’s when they kind of gave me the go-ahead to go tossing,” Thornburg said Saturday at Winter Weekend. “So I’ve been building up slowly since then, just trying to make sure we don’t have any setbacks or things like that, and ramp it up at a good pace. I’m throwing at 120-140 feet, so it’s about the pace I’d normally be on, granted I’d know 100 percent before where I was [under normal circumstances]. So things could be a little different."

Consider a few other things Thornburg said Saturday at Foxwoods.

“I don’t really think any of us really know how quick I’m going to bounce back necessarily as far as how quickly the recovery’s going to go in spring training after an outing,” Thornburg said. “But hopefully I mean it’s fantastic, and we can kind of just keep going.”

A bit of natural uncertainty. He missed an entire season, and the reason he missed an entire season is had a lot going on medically. 

What appeared to be a shoulder injury was far from your usual, say, rotator cuff matter. His was a nerve issue.

“Two of the neck muscles were incredibly hypertrophied, like overgrown, and they just started squeezing on the brachial plexus, where all the nerves run down,” Thornburg said. “I’d be sitting there watching a game and just a nerve thing would hit me and I’d almost get knocked over by it. As well as the first rib was getting pulled up and my hand would just turn red some days if I was just standing there, cutting off the blood circulation. Then all the scar tissue and buildup along the nerves they had to go and dissect all that off there.”

So the injury wasn’t simple, and now, the recovery process is really a whole body matter. 

"There’s a lot off things your arm has to get used to between using different muscles, as well as my arm was kind of working through a scenario where it was trying to overcompensate for this and [trying] to relieve that,” Thornburg said. “So just worked a different way. Now your body has to remember how to actually properly work again. It’s a lot of neuromuscular stuff.”

Thornburg noted the possibility too he could be ready to go to start the season but not really ready to go back to back yet. Would the Sox then carry him on the big league roster, or continue to build him up elsewhere? 

Velocity won’t be there right away for Thornburg, he said: “But I mean that’s what spring training is for for most guys anyway.”

There’s a lot of optimism, but naturally, there’s a lot to be seen. 

“The rehab process, it's been a massive rollercoaster,” Thornburg said. “It really has. But I mean, I've been trying to take it week to week which has been a lot easier. There's the good days and bad days, just different kinds.”

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Kimbrel's newborn daughter treated in Boston for heart condition

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Kimbrel's newborn daughter treated in Boston for heart condition

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. — Coming off a phenomenal season, Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel spent the offseason in Boston. Not to be closer to Fenway Park, but for proximity to something far more important: the city’s first-rate medical community.

Kimbrel’s daughter, Lydia Joy, was born in November with a heart issue.

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“It’s been a lot,” Kimbrel said Saturday at Red Sox Winter Weekend at Foxwoods. “My wife and I, we’ve kept it kind of private. But when she was born, she had some heart defects so we decided to stay in Boston and work with Children’s Hospital and just been going through that ordeal and it’s had its ups and downs but she’s doing great right now."

Focusing wasn't always easy in season, but Kimbrel said his daughter's condition has motivated him even more.

“They always say when you have a child, things change and they have," he said. "I’m definitely more focused towards her and her needs and our family needs. It’s just one day at a time and give everything I got. It’s real easy to look at her and understand everything I’m doing is for her and it makes it a lot easier.”

Kimbrel and his wife, Ashley, found out early in the 2017 season that they would be staying in Boston for the winter and were preparing.

“Everything has kind of gone as planned so far,” Kimbrel said. “She’ll have another surgery during spring training, so I’ll come back to Boston for a week and do that, but it’s been good. It’s definitely been tough, but one of the happiest, joyful times of our life.”

"Being in Boston, we feel blessed, because the doctors are the best in the world. Being able to work with them has been great.”

Kimbrel said his wife has stayed in touch with Travis Shaw’s wife. The Shaw family has had a similar experience, Kimbrel said.

“It seems like they’re doing pretty good,” Kimbrel said. “It’s been very encouraging to see.”

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