|Red Sox Weekend in Review||03.28.11 at 7:55 am ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — It’s down to the end. The Red Sox are packing up the clubhouse at City of Palms Park as they get ready to break camp on Tuesday following their final two Grapefruit League games.
The team made several moves over the weekend to whittle the roster towards the 25 players who will open the year on the big league roster. Here is a look at the transaction-filled weekend.
The Red Sox have nearly formed their 25-man roster for Opening Day. The position players are set, as is most of the pitching staff, but four pitchers remain in camp competing for the final two spots in the bullpen. Here’s how the roster is composed right now:
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Jason Varitek
Adrian Gonzalez (1B), Dustin Pedroia (2B), Marco Scutaro (SS), Kevin Youkilis (3B), Jed Lowrie (UT)
Carl Crawford, Jacoby Ellsbury, J.D. Drew, Mike Cameron, Darnell McDonald
Jon Lester, John Lackey, Clay Buchholz, Josh Beckett, Daisuke Matsuzaka
RELIEVERS WITH IDENTIFIED SPOTS IN THE MAJORS (5)
Jonathan Papelbon, Daniel Bard, Bobby Jenks, Dan Wheeler, Tim Wakefield
THE BULLPEN BUBBLE: RELIEVERS COMPETING FOR TWO SPOTS (4)
Alfredo Aceves, Matt Albers, Hideki Okajima, Dennys Reyes
To reach this point, the Sox made numerous roster moves:
–The team purchased the contract of Dennys Reyes, who had signed a minor league deal just before the start of spring training, on Saturday, hours before he could have opted out of the deal. By being added to the 40-man roster, Reyes is set to earn $900,000, with incentives that could push the value of the deal to $1.4 million. That Reyes pitched well enough to have his contract purchased is a sign that the health issues that plagued him at the end of 2010 have gone away.
–As of Saturday, the Sox were not actively pursuing any pitchers outside the organization, but they were receiving some signals of trade interest from other clubs in some of their pitchers who are on the roster bubble. Those two developments indicate that the Sox are well positioned in terms of team depth.
–On Friday, the team made seven moves. Most notably, the team optioned Scott Atchison, a key contributor to the 2010 bullpen, to Triple-A. In that same wave of cuts, the Sox also sent down pitchers Rich Hill, Randy Williams, Michael Bowden, Brandon Duckworth and Andrew Miller. Outfielder Ryan Kalish was also optioned.
–Miller will be stretched out as a starter in the minors in hopes of giving him the best opportunity to get in position for long-term success.
–Josh Reddick had been dealing with a measure of soreness in his left side, but the matter proved relatively insignificant — much to the relief of Reddick, given that the injury occurred near the oblique region that he strained in 2009, resulting in a lengthy stretch of missed time. Once healthy and able to play in a game on Saturday, Reddick — who said that he was made comfortable in camp this year in part because of the acquisition of Carl Crawford during the offseason — was also optioned.
A RIVALRY BORN?
Last week, an article about Orioles manager Buck Showalter featured quotes that were critical of Red Sox GM Theo Epstein. On Sunday, Sox manager Terry Francona said that Showalter’s remarks were “out of line.” Showalter said later in the day that he talked with Francona about the matter prior to his team’s 4-3 win over Boston on Sunday. Interestingly, with the Sox playing Showalter’s Orioles on Sunday, the Red Sox’ Game Notes featured a list of some of Epstein’s accomplishments during his nine-year tenure for the first time all spring.
ON THE FIELD…
–The Red Sox have lost 10 straight exhibition games, though by virtue of the fact that many of the games have been decided while reserves have been on the field, no one is particularly hung up about those results. Indeed, when Bobby Jenks got hit around in a six-run ninth that cost the Sox the vaunted Mayor’s Cup (awarded to the winner of the annual fight for Fort Myers supremacy between the Sox and Twins), he found it easy to laugh off his first bad outing of the spring.
–Daisuke Matsuzaka has been little short of dominant over his final three outings of the spring.
–Of less amusement was the outing by Daniel Bard on Friday, in which a fastball got away from the right-hander and hit Blue Jays outfielder Corey Patterson in the head. Bard was extremely relieved, after speaking to Patterson by phone, to learn that the veteran would be alright.
–Josh Beckett will leave Fort Myers with an 0-4 record and 6.64 ERA in Grapefruit League play, but after his most recent outing, he insists that he feels great. Beckett will make one more start against the Astros in Houston before being slotted in as the starter of the fourth game of the Sox’ season.
–Jon Lester had his final spring training tuneup for his Opening Day start on Sunday. He logged five innings in a Red Sox minor league camp game, allowing five runs (four earned) on nine hits while striking out five and walking none. The line wasn’t great, but Lester said he was able to accomplish a great deal, and felt that his last exhibition outing served as an excellent platform to ready him for meaningful games.
–Lester’s Opening Day counterpart, C.J. Wilson, felt some soreness in his hamstring, but the condition was not considered serious, and reports out of Arizona suggest that the left-hander remains on pace to make the start on Friday for the Rangers…much to the chagrin of the Sox, against whom Wilson was 3-0 with a 0.86 ERA in three starts last year.
–Red Sox minor leaguers are not allowed to grow beards, but mustaches are fair game. The result? Some momentous mouth gardens.
–Intriguing outfield prospect Alex Hassan had a solid rooming group set up for spring training, until the trade that brought Adrian Gonzalez to Boston ended up shipping both Anthony Rizzo and Casey Kelly to San Diego. For more on that, click here.
–Right-hander Brandon Workman, a second-round pick of the Sox in 2010, changed agents, moving from Kevin Hubbard to Jeff Berry of CAA.
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