– Daisuke Matsuzaka threw from approximately 150 feet.
– On Mike Cameron’s groin injury: “Cam is a little sore in the left side of his groin, and with those ones the other day, he’s felt it the last couple of days. Today during the outfield drills he said something to (Ron Johnson), RJ sent him over to me. Because we were getting pretty active with the relays, I told him to come in and get treatment. I don’t think it’s anything. He tested it out, his strength was good, his range of motion was good. But it’s not something we want to make worse now.”
– On Jose Iglesias: “I think the thing that sticks out is the hands, very flashy hands. It’ll be really fun to watch him play. Because the player you see this week won’t be the player you’ll see a couple years from now. It’ll be fun to watch him refine what he’s doing. He’s rapidly learning our game, but our culture. He’s getting a lot thrown at him real quick.”
– On Marco Scutaro’s success relatively late in his career: “He’s worked hard. He got pigeonholed a little bit for whatever reason. I don’t know, I wasn’t there, but he’s not anymore. Good for him. Sometimes you get in a position, they get a chance, and it doesn’t work. They get pigeonholed and have to fight their way through it. He got his chance to play every day, and he did, and he took it and ran with it.”
– On Scott Atchison: “He’s got a couple years in Japan under his belt, he’s going to fight for that bullpen spot. He’ll be one of the guys directly in the competition for that last bullpen spot, real good outlook, he’s excited to be back. Have not seen him pitch a lot, except for in here. Our pitching coach is pretty high on him, so that goes a long way with me.”
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Fifteen seasons in the major leagues has taught Mike Cameron to approach the last day of February markedly different than a few months down the road.
Cameron cut his workout short Sunday, battling a sore left groin. Both the 37-year-old outfielder and his manager pointed to the fact that taking it slow at this stage in the game was the wisest course of action, which is why Sox skipper Terry Francona said Cameron was doubtful for the team’s doubleheader against Northeastern and Boston College on Wednesday.
“It was kind of windy out there, when I got on the bike this morning, got stretched out this morning, it just wasn’t getting loose quite the way I wanted to. I guess this is the first sign of me getting a little bit older. Just having to listen to the body a little bit,” Cameron said.
“I’ll be fine. If I had to play a game I could play a game. I just didn’t want to push it with the body just starting to get shocked into this, starting to do a lot. I didn’t want to get too far behind, get tired, and really hurt something. It’s just kind of precautionary, jump on things quickly. It’s good to sit back and let the body catch up to the mind and listen to it for a change.”
Cameron said he previously hasn’t experienced problems with his groin muscle, or a lot of leg injuries in general, although he did have to miss time in 2009 with a hamstring problem.
“At this point it’s just kind of listening to the body. It tells me I can’t really force it. It wasn’t going to do any good to force it,” the outfielder said. “We’ve been doing a lot of running the last four or five days. Some guys’ bodies respond different. It does me no good to go out here and prove I can be an iron man on Feb. 28.”
FORT MYERS, Fla. — One of the more interesting aspects of the test process for the Red Sox is when Dr. Daniel Laby and Dr. David Kirschen come to town. The two eye doctors have been charged with the task of not only testing the Sox’ players for eyesight issues, but also such functions as hand-eye coordination.
Their work with the Red Sox can be traced back to as far as 2004, when Manny Ramirez came to them midway through the season looking for answers regarding his eyesight. Not only did they diagnose his problem, but the slugger came away with a few eyesight exercises he uses to this day. (Catching a hoop with four Wiffleballs attached while it is being thrust at him from 10 feet away, having to grab the colored ball identified by the person tossing the plastic sphere.)
This is a paragraph I wrote back in spring training of 2007:
This time they are bringing in something new: Equipment to measure the players’ hand-eye coordination. They have two tests, one for simple reaction (not having to identify specifics) and recognition-type of reaction. The recognition reaction test is most interesting with the players having to watch a screen which flashes an image of a hand holding a certain kind of grip on the baseball. For example, if the player is asked to push a button when the fastball grip is shown, than they have to wait out the other possible images (curveball, knuckleball, and slider) before committing to the fastball. An unnamed player from the Dodgers supplied the imagery for the grips.
One thing that the duo mixed in this year was a change to the glaucoma test, which had involved eye drops because of their stinging effect had the players shying away from the process. It also didn’t allow the players to put their contacts in right away, forcing delays on the practice field. Now there is a new machine — recently developed in Finland — that simply pricks the the eye, giving the sensation of nothing more than the touch of a feather. Suddenly the least looked forward to part of the examination wasn’t such an issue.
FORT MYERS, Fla. — David Ortiz spoke recently about the difference he feels this year, having started hitting as early as Jan. 2 after the previous offseason in which his wrist had limited any pre-spring training swinging.
Ortiz isn’t alone in seeing the benefits of the added preparation. Red Sox hitting coach Dave Magadan has noticed a marked difference in the slugger’s swing compared to last year at this time.
“No question about it,” Magadan said.
“It’s still early in the spring, but for the most part he’s a long way from where he was last spring. Prior to the WBC he came in and … for me when I see David hit he has great hands. When he came in last spring there was a lot of body. There was a lot of gearing up to try and generate bat speed and to me that’s not him. When he’s looking handsy at the plate, and inside the ball, and driving it the other way, that’s when he’s on his game. When he’s using a lot of body trying to generate his bat speed, to me that makes him longer and he loses driving the ball to the opposite field. He looks right now like he started to look at the end of last season.”
When Josh Beckett first came to the Red Sox as a 25-year-old, he admitted that changing teams for the first time had led him to try and taking first impressions to a new level. The result was the pitcher not speaking up when the Red Sox’ wanted to emphasize only the fastball and curveball, ditching the pitch Beckett believed set up everything else ‘ his changeup.
John Lackey, however, isn’t about to fall into that trap.
The 31-year-old is in the process of changing organizations for the first time, but said that that isn’t about to affect the way he goes about doing things.
‘It’s been easy here. The guys have been really cool and it’s been easy to fit in,’ Lackey said. ‘I don’t have the urge throw it 110 miles-per-hour. I know it’s too early for that, I’ve been around too long. Josh was a lot younger when he did it, so it’s a little different.’
Was Lackey nervous at all about entering into a new big league clubhouse for the first time?
‘Not really,’ he said. ‘Baseball players are baseball players.’
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Nothing fancy, just the facts. Here’s what transpired on a day Casey Kelly got the Opening Day nod (sort of):
– Kelly was named as the starter in the Red Sox‘ first spring training game, Wednesday against Northeastern. It will be the most celebrated start for the Sox against a collegiate team in … well … about three years. The honor of the highest of profile appearances in the Sox’ spring opener will forever go to Daisuke Matsuzaka, who pitched his first game in a Red Sox uniform in the annual game against Boston College.
The Daisuke game, of course, will be remembered for Boston College punter Johnny Ayers doubling off Matsuzaka on the pitcher’s very first pitch. Ayers, as it turned out, had read quotes from Matsuzaka earlier in the spring saying that his first pitch was going to be a fastball.
As for the rest of the early spring training rotation, it is as follows: Boston College: Boof Bonser; March 4: Josh Beckett; March 5: Jon Lester/Tim Wakefield; March 6: John Lackey; March 7: Clay Buchholz.
According to a report in ESPN.com (via MLB Trade Rumors) a source familiar with the situation has said that the Red Sox are still actively pursuing Cuban first baseman Jose Julio Ruiz. The 25-year-old is a 6-foot-3, left-handed hitter who has been compared to Carlos Delgado. Earlier in the week it appeared as though the Blue Jays had the inside track on Ruiz. Click here for the story (in Spanish).
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Terry Francona just announced the starters for the first few games of spring training. Here it is:
Daisuke Matsuzaka has been pushed back because of his previous back tweak and won’t throw his first bullpen until early next week.