Red Sox

Farrell weighs in on remaining tasks for Red Sox

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Farrell weighs in on remaining tasks for Red Sox

BOSTON Before a charity event at Fenway Park Friday night, new Red Sox manager John Farrell spoke about several of the items on his to do list between now and spring training.

One of his priorities:

It will be to work through the pending World Baseball Classic situations, what players are still on the provisional rosters. Those provisional rosters are going to come out here in the next four, five days, and then to understand whos going to be in camp and whos not. Because this is a critical spring training for us with the number of new players. Pretty much a complete and new coaching staff. So weve got to gain a lot of familiarity with one another. Theres some history. Theres a lot of work to be done in terms of getting to understand the individual strengths of each players.

On who his first baseman is:

Well, Mauro Gomez is on our roster right now. Obviously, Mark Hamilton is a young guy that weve signed. But were all well aware of the situation with free agent Mark Napoli thats still being worked through. I know general manager Ben Cherington is doing whatever he possibly can so that when we report to spring training weve got that position answered.

Its understood. This isnt a major surprise at this point. I have the utmost confidence that that question will be answered in due time. Were working through it.

Farrell and his staff met at the Sox spring training complex in Fort Myers in December to familiarize themselves with the park, which is new to most of the staff:

As a staff we met in early December just to get familiar with the facility. In talking with people after they went through it for one full year there was some bugs to be worked out in the daily schedule. So we had a chance to go down, not only walk through the internal part of the facility but to get to the layout, the amount of space that needs to be covered. So hopefully we can keep our daily schedule as efficient and as tight as possible.

Ive been there as opposition but never saw the inner workings and whats available. But compared to where they moved from: state of the art facility. Its a tremendous place.

If hes talked with everybody he feels he needs to talk to at this point in the offseason:

I dont think youre ever done having conversations, whether it's the acquisition of a player that affects another guys situation, that youre always being clear and communicating what the vision is going into spring training, whether or not our rosters completely built at this point, which probably isnt likely. So theres still those initial contacts to be made with those players yet to be joining us. But again, I dont think youre ever done being in touch with given players.

If he is comfortable with his roster and familiar with his players:

A familiarity, yes. To get to knowing them fully, well take advantage of spring training as best we can. Again like I said, ultimately what players go and participate in the WBC that could take away from that a little bit, if its a player that signed here during the offseason or a trade. Well get a better handle on that probably over the next 7-10 days. But as far as the overall roster, I like what we have now. Certainly on paper, not only are they a talented group but its a group that has shown and has a very strong history to be solid team players and ones that have had success and have won.

If players have committed to the WBC:

No not fully yet. The first step is the provisional rosters and then you start to get some feedback from MLB on whos likely or potentially to be on that roster. We dont have complete clarity to that yet. And I dont know that any team or any country has really solidified their rosters.
If there are advantages to players participating in the WBC:

The thing about it is youre hopefully, whatever player participates theyre getting the appropriate number of at-bats, the number of innings, the progression is what you typically go through in a normal spring training. However, theres a competitive element that gets thrown in the mix in March that is probably a little bit more than a normal spring training would hold. But the benefits that it has to grow the game worldwide, its a very popular thing at MLB.

Pedroia cleared to start running, progressing well

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Pedroia cleared to start running, progressing well

Dustin Pedroia has been cleared to run following October surgery on his right knee.

“It’s been pretty much what they thought it would be,” Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said Thursday. “This is always the time they had told me. So you start running at this point, but that’s just running. So you’re not cutting, you’re not doing all things. We still have two and a half months until opening day. 

“I cant say he would never be ready, but we’re not pushing him for that. I think it’s more important he follows step by step. So you run, then cut, then you pick up the pace. But he’s made very positive strides. But that’s why he’s not going to be there this weekend, with the big crowds and all the treatment he has it’s probably not good for him in case someone would run into him accidentally. But he’s making good strides.”

Pedroia told WEEI this month that he’s eyeing Opening Day. Dombrowski said at Alex Cora’s introductory press conference in November that the Red Sox were targeting May. 

“We think Pedey is going to be back in May at some point right now if you listen to what the doctor has to say," Dombrowski said.

  • Dombrowski expects Mookie Betts and the Sox will wind up at a hearing, as assistant general manager Brian O’Halloran also said. The team made clear that if filing numbers were exchanged, a hearing would follow. That’s called a “file and go” approach, or “file and trial” or “file to go.” The Sox don’t employ the approach universally — they exchanged numbers with Drew Pomeranz before settling last year — but it is the approach they’re taking with Betts. A panel of arbitrators will decide if he makes $10.5 million, as Betts filed for, or $7.5 million, as the Red Sox filed for (barring an unexpected settlement before then).

 

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Jackie Bradley Jr.'s 2017 injuries should not be overlooked

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Jackie Bradley Jr.'s 2017 injuries should not be overlooked

It’s well known that Xander Bogaerts was playing hurt for much of 2017. All players in a 162-game season work through multiple injuries, nicks, strains and sometimes worse.

But it has probably gone too far under the radar that Jackie Bradley Jr. was not physically himself last season.

MORE - Sox aren't avoiding Martinez because Harper, Machado loom

One of the reasons to believe Bradley can rebound in 2017 — and a reason to advocate keeping a cost-controlled player who is both comfortable in Boston and immensely talented — is renewed health.

Bradley suffered a right knee sprain in April that put him in a brace through May. He sprained his left thumb in August.

A baseball source with direct knowledge of Bradley’s situation emphasized his injuries did affect him. Bradley, like many players, on Thursday did not want to discuss the extent of his health.

“Y’all know I’m never gonna say anything about that. It’s just not who I am,” Bradley told NBC Sports Boston before accepting the defensive player of the year award at the 79th annual Boston baseball writers awards dinner. “But as a player, you just have to deal. You’re injured. But I felt at the time that I could still help the team out. So I was in a brace. I think once I got it off, it actually was feeling pretty good.

It didn’t linger all year, Bradley said.

“It felt pretty good until the thumb happened,” Bradley said. “But it’s one of those things where nobody’s ever really 100 percent. You grind, and you make the best with what’s due.”

Bradley slashed .245/.323/.402 in 2017 with 17 home runs. That's down from a .267/.349/.486 line with 26 home runs in 2016.

One of the things Bradley wants to do more of in 2018 is steal bases. He stole eight last season after a career-high nine the year before. In the minors, he stole 24 bases in one season (2012, between High-A and Double-A).

“I’ve always wanted to run more and I’m glad he’s going to give me the opportunity to be able to do that more often,” Bradley said of new manager Alex Cora. “I’ve always felt like I can run. I feel like I’ve gotten stronger every year. I’ve been pretty successful on the base paths but I guess certain times situations did not dictate it in the past. The red light was something more of a thing they wanted to do with certain people at bat instead of taking the next base.”

Asked if he considered how his health would play into stealing, Bradley noted the reward available.

“I’ve never gotten hurt stealing,” Bradley said. “I’m not saying there’s not a possibility, obviously there’s a possibility. Guys who steal a ton of bags can attest to that. Jacoby [Ellsbury], Billy [Hamilton], stuff like that. There is risk/reward. But, I feel like the reward outweighs the risk in most cases. I just want to be in scoring position. That’s what I want to be in. I want to help.” Bradley acknowledged that he heard about the trade rumors this offseason.

"Yeah that’s one of those things where you do see it,” Bradley said. “You definitely have family members who are constantly talking to you about it. You know, ‘Well, what if this, what if that?’ 

“Well, what if this what if that? What will be, will be. That has always been my mindset. It’s something that I can’t really control. You know, so, I’m just not going to worry about it. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, I’m perfectly fine. I feel like I’m in a great situation. I feel like I have great teammates. I’m glad to be around them. And like I said, I understand if it did happen, then it’s something that I’ll have to live with.”

Bradley said he and his teammates have not discussed how long they will (or won’t) be together.

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