|02.29.16 at 2:01 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Hanley Ramirez’s day is over.
The Red Sox first baseman made his debut at his new position on Monday and was lifted for a pinch runner in the third after a screaming double off the left-field wall against Boston College.
Ramirez went 2-for-2 and handled the only ball hit his way, fielding a slow roller to first and stepping on the bag.
Offensively, he beat out an infield single to short in his first at-bat, taking second on an error. He then ripped a double off the left field wall before being pulled for a pinch runner.
“What can I say? I was a little bit nervous the first inning, but after the first pitch, everything calmed down, and it was time to go,” Ramirez said.
|02.29.16 at 11:21 am ET|
The Red Sox made David Murphy the first draft pick of the Theo Epstein Era in 2003. Now he’s coming back where it all started.
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported on Monday that the Red Sox have agreed to a minor league deal with the left-handed hitting outfielder.
Murphy, 34, has carved out a 10-year career for himself since debuting with the Red Sox in 2006. The No. 17 overall pick in the 2003 draft out of Baylor, Murphy was shipped to the Rangers in the ill-fated 2007 deal for closer Eric Gagne.
While Gagne was a disaster with the Red Sox, Murphy became a key contributor to a trio of playoff teams with the Rangers. He hit .277 with a .777 OPS over seven years with the Rangers from 2007-13 before bouncing to Cleveland in 2014 and Anaheim last year.
Lifetime, Murphy is a .274 hitter with 104 home runs. The bulk of his production has come against right-handers, against whom he owns a .795 OPS.
|02.29.16 at 11:15 am ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — With all the attention paid to fan safety major league games throughout this offseason, this was not a good way to start.
During Red Sox batting practice, prior to their exhibition season-opening tilt against Boston College Monday morning, a Hanley Ramirez foul ball well up into the left field stands at JetBlue Park and struck 80-year-old usher “Buzz” Merton Dunham in the back of the head.
Dunham went straight to the ground, causing onlookers to rush to his aid while the Red Sox halted batting practice.
Dunham was eventually propped up in a chair, with medical personnel attending to him. Red Sox manager John Farrell, David Ortiz and Ramirez all ventured up into the stands to checkin in on the injured usher.
Dunham was taken off by stretcher, but not before receiving a bat and pair of batting gloves from a clearly concerned Ramirez, along with encouraging words from both Ortiz and Farrell. The usher was alert, but in some pain, upon exiting the premises.
“You know, it’s bad when anybody gets hit, you feel bad, and we went out there, and he was doing fine,” Ramirez said. “Definitely hurts. Things happen. You put your head down, and you feel sorry for it, but you’ve got to get ready to go.”
|02.29.16 at 10:52 am ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — It was a step in the right direction.
As was the case when Mike Napoli was learning first base during the 2013 spring training, Hanley Ramirez met up with infield instructor Brian Butterfield on Field 1 at 8:30 Monday morning for an individual workout prior to starting at first base against Boston College at JetBlue Park.
It was the kind of extra work that helped push Napoli’s progression, and will be also expected of Ramirez.
“There was another day of early work with Butter,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “Hanley has shown very good feet, quick footwork around the bag. The whole thing is his throwing angles will be completely different than when he’s on the left-side of the infield. So the mechanics of fielding a ground ball, that’s all going to come very natural to him. The game situations, which will begin today, are where we’ve got to get the highest number of reps possible in camp.
“We’re confident his hands are going to work well, and that includes not just ground balls but that’s also throws that might be short-hopped.”
With his first chance at game action upon us, Farrell identified some of the challenges Ramirez will be facing out of the gate.
“The one thing we’ll continue to get him comfortable with is how far off first base we can push him,” the manager said. “There are certain shifts against right-handers where we want that first baseman 30 feet, 40 feet off the bag and that’s going to feel different for him. But the one thing we do is we put a stopwatch on a ground ball so he has a gauge of what an average runner at the major league level and the time he’ll have to get anchored to first base. He’ll get comfort through that. We can do that without being in a game situation.”
|02.29.16 at 9:50 am ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox open their spring training schedule with their annual doubleheader vs. Boston College and Northeastern on Monday, and we’ll get an immediate look at first baseman Hanley Ramirez in the opener.
Ramirez will start at first and bat cleanup against BC at 1 p.m. One player fans won’t see right off the bat is designated hitter David Ortiz, who will ease into camp to prepare for the grind of one final season.
Also worth noting — prospect Yoan Moncada is among the extra players available to manager John Farrell and could see action.
Here’s the rest of the lineup:
RF Mookie Betts
2B Dustin PedroiaSS Xander Bogaerts
1B Hanley Ramirez
3B Pablo Sandoval
LF Chris Young
C Blake Swihart
DH Allen Craig
CF Jackie Bradley Jr
Right-hander Steven Wright gets the start.
All eyes will be on Ramirez, who is attempting his second position change in as many springs. Last year, he was a disaster in left field, and the Red Sox are crossing their fingers the lifelong infielder can make a smoother transition to first base.
|02.28.16 at 1:57 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Looks like the Red Sox have hit their first speed bump of the spring.
Promising left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, who left drills on Saturday after catching a spike and twisting his right knee, was diagnosed with patellar subluxation and will be sidelined for three days before the team determines the next course of action.
“As far any kind of structural damage, there isn’t any,” manager John Farrell said. “The cartilage is fine. The ligaments are fine. There’s some swelling. He’s going through some treatment and will continue to do so. When he’s deemed ready to initiate a throwing program, we’ll do so at that time.”
For his part, Rodriguez spoke to WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford as he left the complex Sunday and said he’s fine and should only be sidelined a couple of days.
“I can walk, so if I can walk I’m fine, you know what I mean?” Rodriguez said.
Farrell cautioned that it’s too soon to diagnose the severity of Rodriguez’s injury, or if he’ll even have his throwing program impacted meaningfully.
“The next 72 hours are probably what we’ll keep an eye on as far as the swelling being taken out of there,” Farrell said. “Once that happens, we’ll initiate the throwing program. As far as anything beyond the 72 hours, we’ve got to get that point.”
|02.27.16 at 6:44 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — These days, before spring training games kick off, the major leaguers are usually well on their way out of the JetBlue Park complex by early afternoon. Then the minor leaguers take over.
Saturday was no exception, with the Red Sox minor league players who have arrived early taking to the back fields for their workouts throughout the afternoon.
The group included many (if not all) the Sox top prospects, such as outfielder Andrew Benintendi, third basemen Rafael Devers and Michael Chavis, and second baseman Yoan Moncada.
Here is a peek at some of the players who you might not have seen, but are getting plenty of buzz.
Moncada just hit ball that stuck in CF fence pic.twitter.com/a1rBbnmuoa
— Rob Bradford (@bradfo) February 27, 2016
|02.27.16 at 2:27 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Rusney Castillo returned Saturday. Now the latest evaluation can truly begin.
After dealing with the flu for most of the week, the outfielder joined his teammates in workouts at Fenway South Saturday. Included in his participation was taking batting practice against Roenis Elias (whom Castillo had previously faced off against in Cuba).
“He handled today well,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “He’s been down for a few days but the goal for today was to get him through a full program, which he got through fine. I thought he ran the bases with more intensity than I anticipated and it’s just getting him back acclimated right now so he handled today fine.”
Rusney Castillo remaining on the field would seem to be a priority for the Red Sox this season considering how much time he has missed due to injury over the 1 1/2 years in the organization.
The commitment to not having any physical setbacks is clearly on Castillo’s radar as he heads into his second spring training.
“The goal is to stay healthy this year because last year the injuries kind of hampered me a little bit, but moving forward just going to work on staying healthy and making sure we have a good season,” said Castillo through a translator.”
He added, “My goal is to stay healthy this year and for that reason I’ve done a regimen in the offseason to make sure that I stay healthy.”
|02.27.16 at 1:27 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Other than Christian Vazquez’s elbow, the Red Sox experienced their first injury scare of spring training Saturday.
Shagging baseballs in the Field 6 outfield at Fenway South, Eduardo Rodriguez went to the ground for a few minutes after awkwardly turning his right knee. The pitcher would adjourn to the clubhouse after the incident, leaving spectators wondering if the incident was serious.
But after an examination, it was determined that Rodriguez was OK.
“On a PFP play, he was backing and caught a spike and tweaked his knee a little bit,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “Going through the training room assessment, unable to reproduce any kind of discomfort. We’ll certainly get a better read on it when he comes in the morning.”
“It was a scare because I feel like I broke my knee,” Rodriguez said. “It’s fine now. It was a scare like that but I’m going to be fine.”
Still, the moment left both the player and his organization on edge until the prognosis was passed along around noon.
“Am I going to pitch again? Am I going to have to wait a long time? But now I’m fine,” said Rodriguez when asked about the first thoughts that went through his mind upon feeling the discomfort.
|02.27.16 at 10:24 am ET|
Brian Johnson throws to batters for first time since August pic.twitter.com/10HBC1uBJm
— Rob Bradford (@bradfo) February 26, 2016
FORT MYERS, Fla. — It might be to remember, but Brian Johnson was actually left spring training last year ahead of both Eduardo Rodriguez and Henry Owens on the depth chart for Red Sox‘ starting pitchers to fill in if one of the Top 5 got hurt.
But even though Johnson would get his major league shot, starting against the Astros on July 21, an ulnar nerve ailment in his elbow changed the conversation. While Owens and Rodriguez were making positive impressions at the big league level, Johnson was left not being able to throw to hitters … until Friday.
It was just a 30-pitch batting practice session, featuring primarily fastballs and changeups, but endeavor on Field 3 at Fenway South meant a bunch to Johnson.
“I think I had every emotion going. Nervous, excited and anxious. Everything went good,” the lefty said. “I started out and I could feel I was a little overexcited. Kip told me to take a deep breath and slow down. My first few fastballs were up and away, but after that I felt really good and I was excited.”
And, even better news than Friday, was how he came out of it Saturday.
“Great,” Johnson said. “Just normal soreness.”
With some perceived competition for the No. 5 spot, Johnson can now focus on trying to make the kind of impression he cemented in Fort Myers a year ago.
“I haven’t been told. I would like to think so,” said Johnson on if it was relayed he is definitively in the mix for the rotation’s final spot. “For me it’s just about going out there every day and working hard, leaving that decision up to John [Farrell] and Carl [Willis]. I have no control over what I can do on the field. For me, I’m excited. I would like to think this spot is open, but if I get optioned down to Triple-A I’ll work my tail and compete my heart out and hopefully grind my way back into it.”
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