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Jon Lester faces off with minor leaguers in first spring training outing

03.05.14 at 10:40 am ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Jon Lester got through his first spring training appearance without incident, throwing 38 pitches over 2 2/3 innings on a back field at JetBlue Park against five minor league hitters.

With Red Sox pitching coach Juan Nieves and some members of the team’s front office looking on, Lester participated in the controlled exercise with minor league fielders. The lefty would allow four hits, while being victimized by a pair of errors. Lester was also hit in the heel by a Justin Henry grounder, which he showed no ill effects from.

“I thought he looked great,” Nieves said. “Of course it’s tough competition with those kids. You can’t set them up, they’re seeing strikes so it’s quite a challenge. As we were talking in the dugout, you can’t really set them up with anything. It’s tough when a big league pitcher pitches against young competition because they’re very excited and they’re swinging the bats.

“I thought the ball came out very well. Fastball, cutter, curveball. He threw no changeups, but the spin of the breaking ball is really sharp, very good. He felt great. The bottom line is as long as they walk off of that mound healthy, not grabbing anything or not touching anything they’re fine.”

Nieves pointed out that Lester will next throw in the Red Sox‘ Monday tilt against Tampa Bay, most likely going a pair of innings.

The five minor-leaguers hitting against Lester were Carlos Rivero, Manuel Margot, Jesus Loya, Kendrick Perkins and Henry.

Margot (who doubled) is the most highly-touted of the bunch, most likely slated to start 2014 in Single-A Greenville. Perkins — who came away with a pair of hits — is a sixth-round pick fro the 2010 draft who chose to sign with the Sox instead of playing football at the University of Texas.

Jerry Remy’s lawyers due in court Wednesday for granddaughter custody case

03.05.14 at 10:01 am ET
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Lawyers for NESN Red Sox analyst Jerry Remy are due in court Wednesday for a pre-trial hearing regarding who will get custody of the 5-year-old girl whose mother allegedly was killed by Remy’s son, Jared, last summer. The case is due to go to trial March 25 in Middlesex Probate and Family Court in Cambridge.

Remy and his wife, Phoebe, are fighting for custody of their granddaughter, Arianna. The parents of Arianna’s late mother, Jennifer Martel, also are pushing for custody. According to a Boston Herald report, Brian and Patricia Martel moved to Massachusetts from Virginia in order to be closer to Arianna, who is in the custody of the state’s Department of Children and Families. Jennifer’s brother and his wife also have relocated to the Bay State.

Brian Martel’s brother, Richard, who lives in Fall River, told the Herald his sibling’s family would be a more suitable home for the girl.

“You’ve got to bring up a baby with love, not with cash,” he said, adding: “[Remy's] not going to be there. He’s going to be away all the time.”

Added Richard Martel: “It’s been going on long enough. My brother and his wife … would be perfect for that baby. That would be the right decision.”

Remy, whose three children all have had run-ins with police, returned to the broadcast booth Sunday after taking off the last two months last season following his son’s arrest. He appeared on Dennis & Callahan on Monday and talked about his decision to return but did not discuss the custody case then or with the Herald.

Said his attorney, Sandy Durland: “I know that Phoebe and Jerry are focused on continuing to provide support and love for their granddaughter. I think that’s going to be their focus now, and I think it will be their focus in the future.”

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Grady Sizemore on progress: ‘It’s as good as I could have hoped for’

03.04.14 at 5:49 pm ET
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Grady Sizemore was all smiles before the Red Sox' exhibition game against the Rays, Tuesday. (AP)

Grady Sizemore was all smiles before the Red Sox‘ exhibition game against the Rays on Tuesday. (AP)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Another spring training game, another step in the right direction for Grady Sizemore.

Playing in his third game of the exhibition season, Sizemore executed a variety of tasks in the Red Sox‘ 8-0 loss to the Rays at JetBlue Park. The center fielder finished the day having played five innings in the field, going 0-for-2 with a walk.

Thus far he not only has had no setbacks — this time leading him to play again on Friday. And while performing there has been little signs of rust.

“I’€™m happy with how things are feeling from a body standpoint,” he said. “Just not noticing anything out there. Not having any pain. Not coming in feeling worse the next day. So it’€™s as good as I could have hoped for.”

Sizemore looks to have no hesitation both on the basepaths and in the field. And while he bemoaned the fact the timing at the plate still doesn’t quite feel right, Red Sox manager John Farrell has come away impressed.

“Yeah, you know he’€™s getting down the line well,” Farrell said. “The one thing that continues to impress given his time off is that his timing in the box looks not like a guy that’€™s missed two years. He’€™s running well, he’€™s responding to the workloads, and as we continue to ramp it up he’€™ll be back on the field Friday.”

Sizemore explained that he typically spends an hour to 1 1/2 hours with the medical staff each day, on top of his individual workouts. As he puts it, it is a process that encompasses from “head to toe.”

Yet, even with the solid early returns, the outfielder understands the end-game is a ways off.

“It’€™s weird. I don’€™t feel bad but at times I feel like my body is not catching up with my brain,” Sizemore said. “I want to go faster, but it’€™s not quite there. Or I want to move in this direction, but your legs won’€™t let you. It probably doesn’t look it from the outside, but I can tell things are still a little off.”

As for one of the last hurdles — attempting a stolen base — Farrell said that will have to wait.

“We’€™re holding that in check right now,” said the manager regarding Sizemore’s running game. “We just want to make sure we gradually build through the game situations. There will be a point in time in spring where we want to take that off him but for now we want to continue to build some positives.”

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Clay Buchholz allows 1 run in first spring training outing; Red Sox shut out by Rays

03.04.14 at 1:43 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Making his spring training debut, Clay Buchholz allowed one run on three hits in an inning of work against the Rays.

Taking the mound for game action since pitching four innings in Game 4 of the World Series, Buchholz finished his stint throwing 26 pitches — 14 of which were strikes — walking one and striking out one.

Buchholz was greeted by a double to right off the bat of right fielder David DeJesus, who was followed by a Yunel Escobar ground out to third base and a James Loney walk.

The pitcher said his fastball sat between 88-93 mph, reporting the right shoulder felt completely different than the last time he took the mound in game action.

“I think more than anything, it was good to see Clay back on the mound,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell after his team’s 8-0 loss. “He showed decent arm strength. I don’t want to make too much of an inning of work, but he was able to go through an extended bullpen, almost simulating an inning. In some ways, today was almost two innings of work for him. So a good starting point for him.”

After Buchholz struck out cleanup hitter Wil Myers, Matt Joyce singled in DeJesus with a liner to left field. Buchholz would give up one more hit — a single in the hole between shortstop and third base by Logan Forsythe — before ending the inning on a fly out to left field by Sean Rodriguez.

Buchholz was scheduled to get some additional work in via a bullpen session after the one-inning appearance but didn’t need to because of the pitch count. Coming in for the starter for the second inning was Rubby De La Rosa, who struggled in his two innings, allowing four runs on five hits.

“I was anticipating going two innings but decided to do one and if I needed more I would go out to the bullpen,” Buchholz said. “First-game jitters back from a couple of months ago. Velocity is creeping back up to where I need it to be. No problems throughout the whole thing. A couple pitches spinning off, and that’s all mechanical so that’s an easy fix. Just have to work on it.”

Buchholz also talked about his revamped diet, and how that has translated into improved performance.

“It hasn’t been really that much,” Buchholz said. “I’m pretty finicky when it comes to eating anyway, so basically instead of going out and doing the easy thing, which is pizza or whatever, get some stuff and go home to cook it and go about it that way.”

Turning in encouraging relief outings for the Red Sox were Andrew Miller (IP, BB, K) and Francisco Cordero (IP, H, 2K).

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David Ross on foot injury: ‘I put my orthotics on the wrong way’

03.04.14 at 1:25 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Blame the shoes.

Prior to the Red Sox‘ game with the Rays Tuesday at JetBlue Park, David Ross explained that the issue with his left foot — that is keeping him out of action until Friday — all started before he even got to camp.

“It was over time,” Ross said. “I think I wore some shoes. I put my orthotics on the wrong way. I had my insoles on with my orthotics, which I’€™m not supposed to do. Just something aggravated it and now the more I’€™m on the worse it was getting. There is a little tendon in there that’€™s aggravated.”

An MRI performed on Ross Monday showed no damage to the tendon, leading to the treatment of keeping the catcher off his feel for a day or two.

“It was bothering me in the offseason,” he said. “It got a little better, but as I was running ‘€¦ It’€™s one of those things where I can run straight, but I can’€™t really turn really good. The ligament in there has been kind of aggravated. I’€™ve been running funny on my foot.

“They told me to hold off today, but it feels 100 percent today. I’€™ll probably hit and throw tomorrow and hopefully Thursday, and Friday I’€™ll be in the game.”

Russell Wilson isn’t alone: Why NFL linebacker Brandon Magee is in Red Sox camp

03.04.14 at 10:21 am ET
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Outfielder Brandon Magee is in Red Sox minor league camp. (Twitter @FootballASU)

Outfielder Brandon Magee is in Red Sox minor league camp. (Twitter @FootballASU)

Russell Wilson wasn’t the only NFL player in spring training on Monday.

The Super Bowl-winning quarterback of the Seahawks naturally drew a massive following when he spent Monday in uniform with the Rangers. On a field of big league stars like Prince Fielder and Adrian Beltre, Wilson claimed celebrity status, with the interest in his day of sufficient magnitude that he had to address the media at a podium.

Thousands of miles away, another NFL player unassumingly worked out in Red Sox minor league camp. Yet Brandon Magee does not mind the absence of fanfare so long as the 23-year-old — a star linebacker at Arizona State who completed his rookie NFL season with the Cleveland Browns on injured reserve due to a torn pectoral muscle — gets to wear a baseball uniform.

“Every day I’m trying to learn something,” Magee said last week, shortly after arriving in Fort Myers for his first spring training with the Red Sox. “I wake up every day, I’m blessed, man. To be able to walk and run — there are people unable to run. I’m out here, the weather out here is awesome, I’m with top-flight athletes out here — it can’t get any better than this.”

Magee, a linebacker and special teamer who suited up for eight games and was credited with five tackles in 2013 before his season-ending injury, has been limited to baserunning drills and outfield work (all three positions) while in Red Sox minor league camp thus far. He is expected to get clearance to start swinging and taking batting practice during spring training.

Despite the limited activity, Magee — listed by the Browns at 5-foot-11 and 225 pounds — has been beaming about the opportunity to return to the field. It’s been a long time coming. Read the rest of this entry »

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Red Sox notes: Jake Peavy damaged tendon, nerves in finger but has started throwing; David Ross sidelined by foot issue

03.04.14 at 10:02 am ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Jake Peavy told WEEI.com prior to playing catch Tuesday morning that the fishing knife that led to a laceration of his left index finger actually cut through a tendon, resulted in some nerve damage and required surgery (along with stitches).

The ailment isn’t preventing Peavy from continuing his progression however, with John Farrell telling the media that the starter will participate in a bullpen session Wednesday after Tuesday’s long-toss. Peavy will not use a glove for either exercise.

- Shane Victorino took batting practice for the first time since being drawn back due to a back ailment. The outfielder, who has been participating in soft toss in the batting cage, will continue his workouts through the week, with the Red Sox deciding on Victorino’s availability for game action after that time.

- Catcher David Ross isn’t expected to play again until Friday, having to deal with inflammation in a tendon on his left foot. An MRI revealed no damage to the area.

- Pitching prospect Matt Barnes is being given a few extra days of rest after reporting stiffness in the back of his right shoulder. Barnes, who has had no previous shoulder problems, had made an appearance against Boston College last Thursday.

- Farrell noted that the hope is to get Wednesday’s starter, Chris Capuano, up to four or five innings before the end of spring training. The manager said that if something happens to one of the team’s top five starters, Capuano and Brandon Workman would be the leading candidates to enter the rotation.

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