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David Ortiz hits home run in final Grapefruit League at-bat

03.31.16 at 3:42 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Thanks to David Ortiz, Josh Schoemann owns one of the most historic baseballs in Lee County history.

The Wisconsin native ended up in possession of David Ortiz’s fifth-inning home run during Thursday.

What made the ball special was the fact it represented the home run hit in what was Ortiz’s final Grapefruit League game ever. It was also fitting considering the blast — which came off Minnesota starter Kyle Gibson and sailed over the right-field wall — occurred against his old team in the city Ortiz had spent all 22 of his spring trainings.

“Maybe it’s a sign,” Ortiz joked after his exit from the spring training finale.

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David Ortiz on benched third baseman Pablo Sandoval: ‘From my standpoint, it was a surprise’

03.31.16 at 3:10 pm ET
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David Ortiz

David Ortiz

David Ortiz told Travis Shaw to approach this spring training like the most important of his career, and the youngster ended up winning the third base job from Pablo Sandoval.

That doesn’t make Ortiz any less surprised it actually happened.

Speaking after homering against the Twins in his final spring training game in Fort Myers, Ortiz said he didn’t expect Sandoval to lose his job.

“I kind of heard about it in batting practice,” he said. “It’s a real surprise. I guess it surprised you all, too. You would say that Panda is the starting third baseman, and he’s a guy that’s been working extremely hard this spring training. From my standpoint, it was a surprise.”

That said, Ortiz understand why the move was made, and he thinks Sandoval does, too.

“He’s hanging in there,” Ortiz said. “Just gave him the advice to keep working and control what he can control. He’s got no issues with Travis. Travis is a kid, he worked extremely hard, and it is what it is.”

For more coverage of Shaw beating out Sandoval, get Shaw’s perspective here, Sandoval’s here, and an examination of what it all means here.

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Travis Shaw on winning 3B job: ‘If you had told me that coming in here, I probably wouldn’t have believed you’

03.31.16 at 11:17 am ET
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Travis Shaw will start at third base on Opening Day. (Steve Mitchell/USA Today Sports)

Travis Shaw will start at third base for the Red Sox on Opening Day. (Steve Mitchell/USA Today Sports)

You may be shocked that Travis Shaw wrested the Opening Day start away from Pablo Sandoval at third base, but Travis Shaw isn’t.

Speaking to reporters in Fort Myers on Thursday morning, Shaw made it clear that he came to camp with the intention earning his way into the lineup.

“It was real to me,” Shaw said. “I think I made that kind of clear when I first got here that my goal was not to just make this team but make some decisions hard by the end of spring training. I was able to accomplish that and I feel good about the work that I put in this spring.”

Shaw won the job by hitting .333 with an .898 OPS in the Grapefruit League. He’ll be in the lineup on Monday in Cleveland when the Red Sox open up against former Cy Young winner Corey Kluber.

The fact that he’ll be playing third base is a surprise, because after being drafted there, he moved to first base in the minors. But this spring, his defensive steadiness proved as decisive in displacing Sandoval as anything he did with the bat.

“If you had told me that coming in here, I probably wouldn’t have believed you,” he said. “I believed in myself at third for pretty much my whole career. It’s just kind of taken a while for other people to kind of jump on board. I’m ready. I feel like I’m in a good spot defensively and offensively and I’ll be ready to do whatever I can to help this team win and get out of the gate strong.”

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Pablo Sandoval: Starting Travis Shaw ‘the right decision to help the team win’

03.31.16 at 10:39 am ET
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Pablo Sandoval

Pablo Sandoval

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Pablo Sandoval said he wasn’t surprised the starting third base job became a competition. Still, when spring training started he couldn’t expected it would be ending like this.

But after Farrell announced that Sandoval, who is in the second year of a five-year, $95 million deal, would be starting the 2016 season on the bench, the 29-year-old was saying all the right things.

“We talked about it. I’m happy with the decision,” said Sandoval before boarding the bus for Hammond Stadium for the Red Sox’ final Grapefruit League game. “They made the decision. It’s the right decision to help the team win. I’m going to be happy. I’m going to be ready on the bench, get ready for anything. I’m going to get ready during the season to do my job.”

Sandoval added, “I just look at it as what is best for the team. I don’t look at it in a selfish place. I look at it what is best for the team. If it is going to help win for the team, I’m happy.

“It’s a battle, it can go either way. It’s nothing surprising. I’m just going to focus and keep working hard.”

Sandoval knows that finding playing time won’t be easy considering since moving on from catcher after 2009, he has only known third base (along with 11 games at first base).

Farrell noted one avenue for Sandoval to get into games would be against left-handed pitching, with the team optimistic that he has dramatically improved his righty swing from when he went 2-for-41 last season.

“It’s going to be difficult, but I have to be happy,” Sandoval said. “[Shaw] did a great job. He’s had a fantastic spring. It was going to be a tough battle. There’s nothing easy.

“I’m going to keep working. I’ll work every day. I’m going to keep working every day. Keep thinking of things that can happen the other way.”

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Travis Shaw beats out Pablo Sandoval for Red Sox’ starting 3B job

03.31.16 at 10:03 am ET
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Travis Shaw will be the Red Sox' starting third baseman. (Jonathan Dyer/USA Today Sports)

Travis Shaw will be the Red Sox’ starting third baseman. (Jonathan Dyer/USA Today Sports)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Travis Shaw will be the Red Sox’ Opening Day third baseman.

Prior to Thursday’s spring training game against the Twins, manager John Farrell announced Shaw will be the team’s Opening Day third baseman and Pablo Sandoval will be on the bench.

Farrell noted defense was one of the deciding factors. Both players were notified Thursday morning.

“The more we exposed Travis to third base, the defense became really a deciding factor,” Farrell said. “In this case, you have to compare one-on-one. There’s overall better range, and Pablo’s well aware of this. We’re working on increasing that range. To say that this has just strictly been a head-up competition in spring training, this is inclusive of a bigger body of work that’s not just limited to camp.”

Sandoval spoke following the announcement and understood Farrell’s decision.

“We talked about it. I’m happy with the decision,” said Sandoval before boarding the bus for Hammond Stadium for the Red Sox’ final Grapefruit League game. “They made the decision. It’s the right decision to help the team win. I’m going to be happy. I’m going to be ready on the bench, get ready for anything. I’m going to get ready during the season to do my job.”

Shaw is starting for the Red Sox Thursday at third base with a lineup that should be identical to the Opening Day lineup in Cleveland with the exception of David Price on the mound and not Clay Buchholz.

More to come…

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Noe Ramirez on making Red Sox: ‘Something you dream about as a kid’

03.30.16 at 5:14 pm ET
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Noe Ramirez

Noe Ramirez

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — He had done well enough in the final month of the 2015 season to find himself on the Red Sox’ radar. He continued the trend throughout this spring training. And then, just before stretching for Wednesday’s game against the Rays, he found out the final window had been opened.

Noe Ramirez was going to be on the Red Sox Opening Day roster.

“This is obviously something you dream about as a kid, making an Opening Day roster on top of playing in the big leagues,” said the 26-year-old reliever. “It feels good. It feels like I worked hard enough to get to this point and help us win a World Series. It feels amazing.”

Ramirez’ last hurdle was beating out Roenis Elias for the final spot in the Red Sox’ bullpen. And once it was learned Elias would be headed to Triple-A Pawtucket to be stretched out as a starter, the righty was deemed by manager John Farrell to be on the team.

The opportunity came more in focus after the injury to Carson Smith, who will start the season on the 15-day disabled list with an elbow issue.

“I’ve always done a pretty good job of channeling the business side of baseball out. It wasn’t too crazy for me,” Ramirez said. “I just kind of continued to do exactly what I have been doing. Staying true to myself. I know that’s good enough. I just did that and go rewarded.”

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Travis Shaw admits relief decision day is almost here

03.30.16 at 4:22 pm ET
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Travis Shaw (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Travis Shaw ended an 0-for-18 slump with a hit Wednesday. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — Travis Shaw probably has never been so relieved to bloop a spring training single into left field. But, then again, all of this is new territory to the 25-year-old.

With the Red Sox on the cusp of making the decision as to who will start at third base on Opening Day in Cleveland, Shaw was able to break out of his 0-for-18 slump with a seventh-inning base hit against Tampa Bay lefty reliever Enny Romero.

“I wouldn’t say it was needed, but it was needed, at least for my own sense,” said Shaw, who grounded out to first base and struck out looking in his only other two at-bats in the Red Sox’ 4-3 loss to Tampa Bay Wednesday.

“I’ve felt good at the plate this last week, but nothing seemed to fall in. I still like I’m controlling the strike zone for the most part. I don’t feel like I’m chasing out of the zone. You go through those cycles all the time. It’s baseball. The law of averages basically average out.”

But Shaw also admitted, considering the opportunity to win a starting spot, the timing for the cosmic alignment wasn’t ideal.

“It seems like a little bit of a tough time. It is what it is,” he said. “I’ll be ready to go April 4th, wherever that is, whatever role that is. I’ve got a feeling April 4th, it will be a nice little start-up again.”

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David Price, Koji Uehara complete final game tune-ups before season opener

03.30.16 at 3:51 pm ET
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David Price

David Price

BRADENTON, Fla — David Price and Koji Uehara had their final game action of spring training Wednesday at McKechnie Field against the Pirates, and both pitchers declared themselves ready for the regular season.

“[I felt] really good,” said Price, who threw 61 pitches over four innings of work, with 36 for strikes. “Continued to feel better as spring went along. That’s what I’m accustomed to. I feel good and am ready to go.”

“I think I pitched well,” Uehara said through his translator. “When I get emotionally engaged, I think I’ll be ready. I threw today and felt OK, so that probably speaks enough. I think there’s a little bit more in there, but I think I pitched well enough.”

Price, who will make the first road-opening day start of his career on Monday in Cleveland, finished Wednesday with a line of 4H, 1R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO. Price labored somewhat in the first inning, falling behind three batters with counts of 2-0. He rebounded to end each of the next three innings with strikeouts.

“Not so much my fastball, but for the most part everything else was pretty good,” Price said when asked about his satisfaction with his command. “I guess I threw one curveball earlier on in spring, but I threw a good number of them today and I was very pleased with the curveball today.”

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Dustin Pedroia doesn’t want to hear about desperation for Red Sox to start strong

03.30.16 at 3:43 pm ET
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Dustin Pedroia

Dustin Pedroia

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — Call it desperation. Call it urgency. Call it whatever you want.

This spring training, the Red Sox have seemingly put more of an importance on getting off to a good start than in years past. Not worrying about the contracts. Giving the hottest players coming out of Fort Myers preferential treatment when it comes to playing time. Simply suggesting a tone has to be set.

Dustin Pedroia, however, isn’t buying the whole “have to start strong or else” mantra.

“It’s hard around here because people’s expectations are results based,” the Red Sox second baseman said prior to his team’s game against the Rays Wednesday. “Somebody has a bad game you guys say he stinks. So people try to change. I don’t really give a [expletive] what you say, so I’m going to do what I do and over 162 games. I’m going to be a great player. Whatever people say about me is irrelevant to me. That’s the kind of mindset you have to have.

“I don’t read anything. It’s not having thick skin. It’s sticking to your approach and being stubborn to that. Everybody wants you to be something. You have to know who you are and try to be who you are.”

Pedroia has been part of some brutal starts, both personally and team-wise, that have ended far from how they started.

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Red Sox option LHP Roenis Elias to Pawtucket to finalize 25-man roster

03.30.16 at 11:10 am ET
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Roenis Elias

Roenis Elias

Left-hander Roenis Elias, who was lit up in Saturday’s relief appearance against the Orioles, was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket on Wednesday as the Red Sox made a final move to get their roster to 25.

Elias’ departure means right-handers Noe Ramirez and Matt Barnes will start the season in the Boston bullpen.

Acquired from the Mariners in the offseason, Elias has been a starter for all but two games of his 51-game major league career that began in 2014 in Seattle. The Sox tried him out as a reliever this spring, and the results weren’t promising: 11 runs on 12 hits over 4 1/3 innings. In his most recent appearance Saturday against the Orioles, he surrendered six runs on seven hits and a walk in just two-thirds of an inning.

“[Saturday] just wasn’t a good day for me,” the 27-year-old Cuban said the following day (through a translator). “I kept leaving the ball up. Congratulations to the hitters who got a piece of it. But [Saturday] I just didn’t have my best stuff.

“I’m actually glad that yesterday happened. It was a learning experience where you can take the bad, learn from it, apply yourself and just move on.”

Ramirez, a 26-year-old who made his major league debut last season, has allowed two earned runs on 10 hits and six walks with 10 strikeouts in 11 innings over nine appearances this spring. Barnes, a 25-year-old who also made his major league debut last season, has given up seven hits, one walk and no runs with 13 strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings over eight appearances.

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