FORT MYERS, Fla. — At least some of the roughly 30 major league free agents participating in a union-run camp in Bradenton, Fla., are to see game action this week, against a team from Japan. One game is scheduled for Tuesday, sources said.
The Major League Baseball Players Association has not officially announced any games. The Japanese team was described as a minor league club.
There appears a strong chance at least one game is open to the media. The camp has been closed to almost all media thus far, leaving it in a bit of mystery. USA Today visited the camp, held at IMG Academy, earlier in February.
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Mike Napoli, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Kyle Kendrick are among former Red Sox at the camp. The Sox recently signed one of the camp’s participants, Tommy Layne, to a minor league deal. Layne pitched for the Red Sox as recently as 2016.
“There's no end date at this point,” PA head Tony Clark said Saturday when visiting Red Sox camp. “The good thing is, the guys down there are being run through the same type of camp that they would go through here, which means as soon as their phone does ring, they'll hit the ground running, no pun intended. Because they will have acclimated themselves, or would be further down the road of acclimating themselves, for day one. And they know that should their phone ring, and they are given the opportunity. that they have to hit the ground running once they land at camp.”
All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel returned to Fort Myers on Sunday after his 4-month-old daughter underwent successful heart surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital, and the Red Sox are confident he'll be ready for Opening Day.
“Oh, yeah. Plenty,” manager Alex Cora replied when asked if Kimbrel had time to get ready for the March 29 opener against the Rays in St. Petersburg. “With him it’s a different schedule, anyway. He’ll be ready.”
Kimbrel's daughter, Lydia Joy, was born with a heart defect. He left the team Feb. 28 to be with her and his family in Boston, but pitching coach Dana Levangie said Kimbrel was on a pitching program during that time.
“The most important thing is that the family is okay with [Kimbrel returning to the Sox],” Cora said. “If they’re okay with it, we’re okay with it.”
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