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Quintin Berry reintroduces himself to Red Sox as member of Orioles

03.02.14 at 12:11 pm ET
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Quintin Berry

Quintin Berry

FORT MYERS, Fla. — While Doug Flutie was holding court by the Red Sox‘ batting cage, with Carl Yastrzemski standing just a few feet away, another notable name passed by on the way to the JetBlue Park visitors’ dugout — Quintin Berry.

Shaking hands with former Red Sox teammates, while waving to those in the field, Berry drifted onto the pregame scene prior to Sunday’s spring training tilt between the Sox and Orioles virtually unnoticed by media and fans. But when you’ve done something — anything — to help a team win a World Series, your presence is at least of some note.

Berry played in just 13 games (collecting nine plate appearances) during the regular season for the Red Sox in the 2013 regular season, but, nonetheless, he left somewhat of a mark.

Not only did the outfielder collect five hits with a walk, but accomplished what the Sox were hoping he could when acquired from Kansas City in exchange for Clayton Mortensen. Berry swiped one bag in each of the Red Sox’ three playoff series, including one against Cardinals’ catcher Yadier Molina in the eighth inning of the Sox’ Game 4 World Series win.

After the championship parade, however, Berry understood he might have to move on.

“Supposedly a little bit, but I know they had a couple of things in mind they wanted to do, some guys they wanted to try and give experience to,” said Berry regarding the Red Sox’ interest in the offseason. “So I just wanted to test the market and see what else I could do.

“In my career I’€™ve been all over the place. I understand the business part of it. I’€™m grateful I got an opportunity to be part of that team last year. It was an amazing team. With the business part of it, you have to keep shopping around. All you want to do is play in the big leagues. It doesn’€™t matter for whom. Just keep on getting opportunities and be grateful for the ones you have.”

Berry is still somewhat of a long-shot to make the Orioles’ Opening Day roster, having joined Baltimore on a minor-league deal. But having seen how fortunes can change in a hurry — going from Triple-A Omaha to a World Series a season ago — the 29-year-old is keeping an open mind.

If nothing else, the speedster used the opportunity with the Red Sox to show he could thrive in all kinds of roles.

“It was a part of my game I wasn’€™t used to,” Berry said of playing part-time. “I didn’€™t do much in my career, having played every day. Coming off the bench, it was a good experience to have that and to have some success to help me in my future.

“I’€™m just out here playing. I’€™ve done it all so I’€™m prepared for anything.”

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Sunday Red Sox notes: Christian Vazquez continues to impress as ‘one of the premier catching prospects,’ Bo Greenwell signs

03.02.14 at 11:30 am ET
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Bo Greenwell had been playing in the Cleveland system before signing with Red Sox. (AP)

Bo Greenwell had been playing in the Cleveland system before signing with Red Sox. (AP)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Christian Vazquez continues to impress in Red Sox camp.

The latest raves came from John Farrell after Vazquez threw out Minnesota’s Jermaine Mitchell trying to steal second base in the seventh inning at Hammond Stadium.

“Another one you probably saw last year,” Farrell said Sunday, referring to the many runners he threw out for Double-A Portland in 2013.

That’s something that has continued this spring in camp. “He’s thrown out every runner in camp he’s come across. He’s now 11-for-11,” Farrell reported.

“What’s impressive to me is the progress he’s making with the bat. There’s more strength in his swing, there’s more solid impact, drove the ball good to right-center field and then there was the home run the other day. When you look at the numbers, it’s heading in the right direction. He’s on a very good path.”

What will it take for Vazquez to reach the next level?

“Number of at-bats and I think as he’s getting stronger, that’s the thing that starts out,” Farrell said. “This is a guy when he first signed, there were some difficulty getting through a nine-inning game and now he might be one of the premier catching prospects in the game.”

What makes him that premier prospect is an arm unrivaled in the Red Sox system, throwing down to second in less than 1.9 seconds, a release that puts him in the very above-average category.

“1.86 on the throw to second,” Farrell said. “We [also] encourage all of our guys to [throw to first base]. We want any kind of deterrent to either an extended lead or a secondary lead or any kind of running the bases with freedom, we want to try to cut that down as much as possible.”

The latest on Grady Sizemore is that he will play Tuesday against Tampa Bay and Friday against Atlanta, both games scheduled for JetBlue Park.

“I wish we could fast-forward and get the answer but so far, so good,” Farrell said.

Anything unexpected from Sizemore? “Yeah, running into the center field wall,” Farrell laughed. “He got up and threw the ball so I guess some things don’t change.”

“Talking to him early this morning, he felt like he had a legitimate bead on that ball and time ran out. But he bounced right back up and is good to go. There’s been a couple of at-bats where he’s getting down the line. The times getting down the line are getting more in line with what’s expected, and I think that’s his mind is being a little more free and not guarded and so those are things, when you ask what are you looking for, you’re starting to see them play out in games in times down the line or how he’s responded to game situations. It’s been good.”

The team announced Sunday that they signed Bo Greenwell, the son of former Red Sox All-Star left fielder Mike Greenwell. Bo, 25, was originally drafted by Cleveland in the sixth round of the 2007 MLB June Amateur Draft. It won’t be a long trip to camp as he went to Riverdale High School in Fort Myers.

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Sunday lineups: Jonny Gomes leads off vs. Orioles as Mike Yastrzemski visits grandfather Carl

03.02.14 at 9:26 am ET
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Mike Yastrzemski, here with Vanderbilt, is hoping to go all out for the Orioles. (AP)

Mike Yastrzemski, here with Vanderbilt, is hoping to go all out for the Orioles. (AP)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — It will be a family reunion of sorts as Baltimore Orioles minor league outfielder Mike Yastrzemski visits JetBlue Park to take on the Red Sox at 1:05 p.m.

Carl Yastrzemski, Mike’s grandfather and Red Sox hall of famer, arrived at the Red Sox minor league clubhouse around 8 a.m. and is expected to take in the game and watch his grandson play.

“I think anytime those bloodlines are so recognizable, I’m sure for many it brings back visions of the older and I think anytime we can see generations play out on the field, it’s one of the unique things that sports offers,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said Sunday morning before the game.

The grandson, who starred at Vanderbilt University, has been drafted not once, not twice but three times by major league teams.
The Red Sox selected him in the 36th round of the 2009 MLB June Amateur Draft from St. John’s Prep (Danvers, MA). Then, the Seattle Mariners chose him in the 30th round of the 2012 MLB draft before signing with the Baltimore Orioles, who selected him in the 14th round of the 2013 MLB amateur draft.

Lefty Felix Doubront makes his first start for the Red Sox and Jonny Gomes gets his second start as a leadoff hitter in Sunday’s game. The Red Sox will be looking for their first win of the Grapefruit League season after losing two straight to the Twins, Friday and Saturday.

Here are the lineups for the Red Sox on Sunday:

Jonny Gomes LF

Dustin Pedroia 2B

David Ortiz DH

Mike Napoli 1B

Xander Bogaerts SS

Will Middlebrooks 3B

David Ross C

Jackie Bradley Jr. CF

Bryce Brentz RF

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Grady Sizemore ‘fine’ after falling down on warning track, hopeful to play Tuesday vs. Rays

03.01.14 at 5:21 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Once he got up immediately in the first inning Saturday, John Farrell knew Grady Sizemore was fine and ready to stay in the game against the Twins.

It was just another test along the path to seeing if the former All-Star outfielder’s body is up to the task of returning to major league games in 2014.

Brian Dozier laced a double to deep left-center and Sizemore tracked the ball from his position in center. He got to the warning track and lost his footing and fell awkwardly.

“I’m fine,” Sizemore said after the 6-2 loss to the Twins. “I think all game reps are good right now. Everything helps. As much work as I can get in games is going to be very beneficial. I felt good today. Everything felt good, as good as I could hope for, as far as the body and knees and so forth.

“I’m happy to just get through these games and feel good and feel strong and not come in the next day with any lingering issues. So far, it’s going to be good.”

Sizemore and Farrell both agreed after the game that while Sizemore doesn’t want to lose his aggressive style of play, he also needs to be practical as he attempts a comeback from back and knee issues that have kept him out of baseball since 2011.

“I’m not going to think about it,” Sizemore said. “Obviously, I’m going to try and be smart but I’m going to still play aggressively and try not to change the way I play or think about it while I’m out there.”

Added Farrell, “The fact that he’s more conscious of what he’s been through and maybe the cause for some of the previous injuries because of that style of play, we can’t say we’re going to eliminate that completely but there’s also a willingness on his part to maybe anticipate things a little bit differently.”

Farrell said after the game that the hope is to start giving Sizemore some days off before ramping up his load. Sizemore, who played in games in two of three days, is now tentatively set to play Tuesday against the Rays at JetBlue Park.

“I think he’ll answer some of those questions as we get deeper into camp,” Farrell said of the workload. “We’re also going to build in some recovery days as well and that’s coming up for him. He’ll be back on the field probably on Tuesday and give him another three or four days off after that to gradually ramp up the workload.”

“When we start putting multiple days together, whether it’s games or workouts, there will be days where I’ll be sore or not as strong as the other days but for the most part, the last week or so has been really good,” Sizemore added. “I’ve bounced back well.”

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Allen Webster knocked around in spring debut, Grady Sizemore falls down, passes a physical test

03.01.14 at 2:16 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — If Saturday was any indication, 24-year-old Allen Webster has fallen behind Anthony Ranaudo in the Red Sox pitching prospect race.

Webster, who made his debut with the Red Sox last season in seven spot starts, was roughed up by the Minnesota Twins in his first start of spring training at Hammond Stadium. The Twins beat the Red Sox for the second straight day, 6-2, before a Hammond record crowd of 8,547. Daniel Nava homered from the right side of the plate in the first inning and Grady Sizemore overcame a mild fall before the center field wall to go 1-for-3 in the loss.

After getting Aaron Hicks to ground out to Garin Cecchini at third to open the first inning, Webster allowed three straight hard-hit balls to the outfield that all found the grass. Brian Dozier then crushed a ball to left-center that caused Sizemore to truly test his body when he lost his footing on the warning track just shy of the wall trying to field it. Sizemore stayed in the game.

“He lost his footing when he went down,” manager John Farrell said. “You recognize he’s going to pivot and torque on the leg. He came out of it fine and there were no issues. It’s just good to see him get three at-bats and continue to build.”

Webster then gave up an RBI single to right by Joe Mauer. Josh Willingham followed with a double. Webster then hit Chris Parmelee and walked Trevor Plouffe to force in a run. Lefty Chris Hernandez began warming in the bullpen as Webster appeared as if he wouldn’t make it out of the first. But a sacrifice fly and a fielder’s choice ended the inning with Minnesota up, 3-1.

Manager John Farrell allowed Webster to start the second inning and Webster responded with getting the first two outs quickly before Dozier singled to right to end his day. Webster allowed four hits and three earned runs in his inning and two-thirds of work.

“I just got in there and got a little anxious, left a few balls up, fell behind and they made good contact with it,” Webster said. “I need to get the ball down and get ahead of the batter.”

Webster’s spring debut comes in contrast to that of Ranaudo a day earlier. Ranaudo retired all six batters he faced in two innings, striking out four. He needed just 24 pitches (19 strikes). Webster needed that many to get through the first inning.

As for Sizemore, he singled to right on a grounder past the second baseman with one out in the fifth on his third at-bat of the day. Farrell immediately substituted Mike McCoy in his place as a pinch-runner at first. Sizemore flew out to left to open the game, struck out looking in the third before singling in the fifth.

Drake Britton was a highlight for the Red Sox, as the lefty allowed one hit while striking out four in his two innings.

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Johnny Manziel signs autographs for Mookie Betts, Red Sox prospects

03.01.14 at 10:55 am ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Former Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel was a special guest of the Red Sox at their camp on Saturday. Manziel, a projected first-round quarterback pick in the upcoming NFL draft, works with Fenway Sports Management, the marketing arm of the Red Sox. LeBron James of the Miami Heat has a similar working arrangement with FSM. “Johnny Football” took time out Saturday to sign autographs for several Red Sox minor league prospects, including infielder Mookie Betts.

Manziel was on hand for the organization’s “Party in the Park” Friday night for special guests and several Red Sox players had a chance to meet him. A.J. Pierzynski met him when he played with the Texas Rangers and had a chance again to chat briefly with him. He believes Manziel will make a good NFL quarterback.

“Obviously, he’s a great player,” said Pierzynski, who signed a letter of intent with Tennessee before signing with the Twins. “Me being an SEC guy, him being an SEC guy, I root for those guys. I know I liked watching him play and I liked the way he played because he was an amazing player and I’ll think he’ll do good if he’s given the right opportunity. He should be a heckuva an NFL guy. Maybe he can come take over for Tom Brady. Ha, ha, ha. I’m joking, I’m joking. Joking.”

Manziel was wearing a No. 2 Red Sox jersey, the same number he made famous for two seasons at Texas A&M. He observed the Red Sox workout on Field 1 before the team left to travel across town for their game against the Twins.

In late January, Fenway Sports Management announced they were adding Manziel to their clientele. FSM is partnering with LeBron James‘€™ marketing company, LRMR Management, to represent the Heisman trophy winner jointly.

‘€œLeBron was an international sports icon and a global celebrity before we got involved,’€ said Mark Lev, managing director of Fenway Sports Management at the time of the signing. ‘€œJohnny needs to perform on the football field, and that’€™s really where the focus is now. But providing he does that, there’€™s huge upside for him from a business standpoint.’€

FSM will pursue off-field business opportunities in the media and entertainment industries for Manziel, along with endorsements. FSM will not be handling the quarterback’s football contract negotiations and public relations once he is drafted in May. FSM now includes the Red Sox, Liverpool Football Club of the Barclays Premiere League, and Roush Fenway Racing.

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Grady Sizemore starts in center, A.J. Pierzynski, Daniel Nava get first looks of spring

03.01.14 at 9:18 am ET
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A.J. Pierzynski (40) will catch his first game of spring training on Saturday. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

A.J. Pierzynski (40) will catch his first game of spring training on Saturday. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — A.J. Pierzynski gets his first start of the spring and will catch righthander Allen Webster as the Red Sox look to rebound against the Twins after dropping their Grapefruit League opener, 8-2, Friday at JetBlue Park.

“We’ve all seen him many times, just now it’s in our uniform,” John Farrell said Saturday morning at JetBlue Park before taking the crosstown bus ride to Hammond Stadium. “But this is the first step to handling the guys he’s going to be dealing with. Even though it’s not one our of frontline starters right now in Webster but I think first game activity for A.J. will start that transition to us in earnest.”

First pitch under sunny skies and temperatures in the upper 70s is set for 1:05 p.m. at Hammond Stadium.

Also starting for the first time this spring is Daniel Nava, who missed time early in camp with neck soreness. He took batting practice and participated in infield and outfield drills this week and was cleared to play.

Grady Sizemore plays for the second time in three days and will get his first look in center field after playing left field on Thursday against Northeastern.

Here is Saturday’s lineup for the Red Sox:

Grady Sizemore CF

Jonathan Herrera SS

Daniel Nava LF

A.J. Pierzynski C

Mike Carp 1B

Alex Hassan RF

Garin Cecchini 3B

Travis Shaw DH

Brock Holt 2B

Allen Webster P

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