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Terry Francona is expecting Adrian Gonzalez to be ‘behind everyone else for sure’

01.20.11 at 4:09 pm ET
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Red Sox manager Terry Francona said Thursday that newly-acquired slugger Adrian Gonzalez will enter spring training behind the rest of the team in terms of getting ready for the season after surgery last October on his sore right shoulder.

“I don’t know,” Francona said when asked where Gonzalez stands in terms of his readiness for spring training. “I know he’ll start throwing in a little bit. He’ll be behind everyone else for sure. It’ll be real important when we get down to spring training to get a gauge on where he is because there’s going to be so much excitement with him being here. He’s going to be excited, we’re going to be excited and we don’t want to set him back. If he’s a little slower than everyone else, that’s not the end of the world. We certainly want him playing but we want him playing healthy.

“That’s where having a guy like Jed [Lowrie] comes in. We can handle missing a guy for a week. We don’t want a guy missing for two months.”

Francona, who made the statements Thursday prior to the annual Red Sox writers’ dinner in Boston, said he has been in touch with Gonzalez through text messages this winter.

Read More: adrian gonzalez, Boston Red Sox, MLB, san diego padres

Terry Francona: Marco Scutaro ‘is our shortstop’

01.20.11 at 4:06 pm ET
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Ending any speculation that there will be a shortstop competition at spring training in Fort Myers, Terry Francona said Thursday that Marco Scutaro will be the club’s starting shortstop to begin the season. Francona was asked if Jed Lowrie, after his strong finish to 2010, could challenge Scutaro for the starting shortstop job this season.

“I think we’re thrilled,” Francona said of Lowrie’s recovery from a wrist injury and mono. “This kid went through a lot. He had the wrist injury, had mono, was in Fort Myers for the whole first half of the year. We didn’t see him. Then he comes up and gets an opportunity because we had a lot of guys beat up, and he hits the ball all over the ballpark, and he has the ability to play four different infield positions. So rather than worry about an infield competition, because Scutaro is our shortstop, this guy gives us something that I don’t know how many teams can say they have.”

Scutaro was also rumored to be a part of trade talks as the Red Sox explored ways to improve their bullpen.

Read More: Jed Lowrie, marco scutaro,

Clay Buchholz: Red Sox haven’t broached new deal

01.20.11 at 1:13 am ET
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LOWELL — Speaking prior to being honored at the Lowell Spinners Alumni Dinner at Tsongas Arena Wednesday night, Clay Buchholz said that the Red Sox have yet to approach him about a contract extension.

“I haven’t spoken money with anybody,” said the 26-year-old Buchholz. “It’s been basically go out and play until somebody approaches me about it. That’s sort of how I’m looking at it.”

Buchholz is closing in on the same service time teammate Jon Lester found himself with when agreeing to his five-year, $30 million contract extension prior to the 2009 season, his last campaign before becoming arbitration eligible.

“They’ve got a lot more on their plate than to worry about me,” Buchholz said. “They don’t have to do anything with me. That’s the way I’m looking at it, and if something happens and they want to talk about it I’m sure I’ll hear about it.”

Buchholz made $443,000 in 2010, a season in which the righty went 17-7 with an ERA of 2.33 in 28 starts. He is currently under the Red Sox’ control through the 2014 season.

When constructing contract extensions with players either not yet arbitration eligible or in the midst of their arbitration years, the Red Sox have a team policy of buying out at least one season of free agency while also including a team option.

As for comparing his situation with Lester’s, Buchholz explained that the two scenarios have their differences.

“When I think about Jon Lester, I think about a kid who came up through the organization, battled cancer, beat cancer, came all the way back through and made it to the big leagues and now is, if not the best, is one of the best, left-handers in the game,” Buchholz said. “They are two completely different paths.

“With his whole contract thing, I think the Red Sox sort of owe him for all of the struggles he went through to make it to where he was.”

For more Red Sox coverage, see the team page at weei.com/redsox.

Read More: Clay Buchholz, contract extension, Jon Lester,

Gonzalez plays catch for first time since surgery

01.19.11 at 5:16 pm ET
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According to Buster Olney of ESPN, Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez played catch on Monday, the first time he has tossed a baseball since the labrum surgery on his right shoulder was performed on October 20.

Gonzalez — who played catch with his brother, former Padres’ second baseman Edgar Gonzalez – could start swinging a bat sometime in late February if his rehabilitation continues to go well, according to the ESPN report. Gonzalez may report to the Sox’ spring training facility the second week of February to continue the rehabilitation process.

Read More: adrian gonzalez, Red Sox,

Red Sox Rookie Development Program Notes

01.19.11 at 3:31 pm ET
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The Red Sox Rookie Development Program, a two-week program for prospects considered to be 12 to 18 months from the major leagues, is in full swing. Players work out twice a day and get acclimated to major league life both on and off the field, whether through trips into the Fenway Park clubhouse or visits to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute to meet with Jimmy Fund patients. Perhaps most importantly for the participants, they gain the opportunity to work with and meet the major league coaching staff, and to make first impressions that may carry into spring training.

This year’s participants are Robert Coello, Tim Federowicz, Stephen Fife, Ryan Lavarnway, Juan Carlos Linares, Will Middlebrooks, Stolmy Pimentel, Jason Rice, Clevelan Santeliz, Oscar Tejeda and Alex Wilson. For a closer look at that group, click here.

On Wednesday, the players players and farm director Mike Hazen met with the media. Some highlights:

–There is no doubt that the Red Sox farm system looks different after three top prospects — Casey Kelly, Anthony Rizzo and Reymond Fuentes — were dealt to the Padres for Adrian Gonzalez. But Hazen said that the team still feels good about its prospect pool, particularly about a group of players who will offer depth to the big league club this year. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: jose iglesias, junichi tazawa, mike hazen, oscar tejeda

Hazen on Ryan Westmoreland’s status: ‘You know how bad he wants it’

01.19.11 at 2:43 pm ET
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Truth be told, the Red Sox‘ Rookie Development Program features a number of important prospects in the team’s farm system, but it does not have the one projected superstar who ranks among the most prominent minor league talents in the game. Now, that may change, with a few extremely talented, high-ceiling players such as pitcher Stolmy Pimentel, infielders Oscar Tejeda and Will Middlebrooks and catcher Ryan Lavarnway representing players of particular note. But right now, the superstar-in-waiting buzz that typically has greeted at least one player in the Rookie Development Program wasn’t evident.

There might have been such a player, however. Had Ryan Westmoreland remained healthy, had he not been struck by a life-threatening condition that required major brain surgery in March 2010, he might have been a participant in this year’s Rookie Development Program, a 20-year-old with unlimited potential and who was generating immense anticipation for his major league debut.

But Westmoreland, who one year ago at this time had been christened the top prospect in the Red Sox system by several publications, is instead working out in Fort Myers, continuing his extraordinary efforts to put his career back on track as he continues to rehab from the surgery to remove a cavernous malformation in his brain. When Westmoreland might be able to return to games remains an open question. But his efforts, in the words of farm director Mike Hazen, have been “inspiring.” There has been too much progress in his rehab — not just as a baseball player, but more importantly, as a person — to lament what could have been.

“He’€™s doing well,” said Hazen. “He’€™s hitting. He’€™s throwing. He’€™s going through all the workouts, the lifting. I still think the original diagnosis, it’€™s still going to take some time to get back to where he was. I’€™m not going to make, we’€™re not making, any hard-line predictions on a timeframe on when he’€™s going to actually come out and play a game. We’€™re just going to, like we have, we’€™re taking it day by day.

“We’€™re seeing steady progress. He’€™s seeing steady progress. It’€™s still going to take him a little while to get back to where he was. But we’€™re still confident and optimistic. Like we’€™ve said before, if you’€™re betting on any one person to get back and make it to that place, it’€™s him.”

Westmoreland hasn’t been in games. He’s been able to run the bases, throw and take fly balls, but he has not progressed to facing live pitching. He will be treated as a rehabbing minor leaguer this spring.

“He’€™ll go through all his workouts. We’€™ll push him when we can push him. We’€™ll have to pull him back when we need to pull him back. There’€™s no timeframe on when he may see game action or anything like that,” said Hazen. “But I know he’€™s chomping, wanting to get out there and do some stuff. Like I said, I feel like we’€™ve pushed him repeatedly to where he’€™s wanted to be pushed. Who knows at this point? But spring training is going to be very similar to what he is now, which is on a rehab progression. As he accomplishes those goals, those physical things, he’€™ll get more to do.”

It remains to be seen when or even whether Westmoreland takes the field again in a game. That said, there appears little doubt that he will do everything that he can to maximize his potential as a baseball player.

“You’€™d be amazed at the amount of drive in this kid, given what he’€™s had with the setbacks and all the things he’€™s had to go through. It’€™s inspiring is what it is,” said Hazen. “You just hope that he’€™s going to be able to take the field again one day because you know how bad he wants it.”

Read More: mike hazen, rookie development program, ryan westmoreland,

Video: Dustin Pedroia’s offseason workout

01.19.11 at 1:59 pm ET
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Rob Bradford joins Dustin Pedroia and Andre Ethier for an offseason workout at Keith Poole’s Training Zone in Chandler, Arizona. Check out the video evidence below:

Read More: Dustin Pedroia,
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