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John Farrell notes on Day 5 of spring training: Chris Capuano provides pitching flexibility

02.21.14 at 2:42 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Chris Capuano can start making his case Saturday for a role on the Red Sox pitching staff.

What exactly that role will be is far from certain, as Red Sox manager John Farrell made clear Friday after the second day of full-squad workouts.

“€œWe don’€™t want to limit it,”€ Farrell said of Capuano’s versatility. “€œWhen he switched to the bullpen last year with the Dodgers there was very good performance, and that’€™s the one thing that attracted us to him, in addition to the experience as a starter.

“€œWe don’€™t anticipate once he joins us that it would be too long before he jumps into the rotation of work here.”

Farrell added that Capuano has been throwing regular bullpen sessions in preparation for spring training, conditioning that made the 35-year-old lefty native of West Springfield, Mass. very attractive to the Red Sox. Farrell said Capuano is expected to join the team Saturday for workouts, despite the fact the team had yet (as of Farrell’s media session) to officially announcing his signing.

“By all accounts he’€™s traveling here and will join camp,”€ Farrell said after Friday’€™s workouts.

The team has reportedly agreed to a major league deal with the veteran for $2.25 million, pending a physical. He has spent the first nine seasons of his big league career in the National League, including the last two with the Dodgers.

“€œExperience of both starting and pitching out of the bullpen,” Farrell said of Capuano, who was 4-7 with a 4.26 ERA in 20 starts last season with the Dodgers. “He clearly gives us a depth starter if that need were to arise, but at the moment, all things considered, he would pitch out of the bullpen for us.”

The Red Sox had success last year stretching out Brandon Workman during the season to make several spot starts. He figures to be in the mix again for that same role should the need arise, along with righthander Allen Webster, who started seven games for the Red Sox in 2013.

If Capuano begins the season in relief, the Red Sox will have three southpaws in the bullpen, with Craig Breslow and Andrew Miller.

Here are some other nuggets from John Farrell from Friday:

  • On pitchers and batters on first day of live BP: “We know going in and a pitcher knows if a guy’s just tracking or looking to swing the bat. If we have a guy on the mound that is showing or has shown more command of throwing the ball in he’ll be a little bit more aggressive by throwing some pitches in this early in camp. Every spring training has got those firsts your getting out of the way. This is the first time they’re seeing hitters. I think spring training is about as much about getting the mind in shape as the body.

    “I think pitchers get a comfort level and they know who’s in the box. It’s their teammate and they’re trying to get repetition rather than risking anything that where a pitch might get away from him. It’s more about how are they responding with so many eyes on them and are they able to channel that potential distraction and are they still making quality pitches?”

  • On having an abundance of pitching: “I don’t think any of us have any false confidence or sense of embarrassment of riches because we’ve seen that pitching is a game of attrition. We went through twenty-something relievers last year. We were fortunate last year, with the exception of Clay’s situation, we were relatively healthy in the rotation but that can change in a moment’s notice.”
  • On development of Rubby De La Rosa and what will determine his status this spring: “It’s going to be dependent on who else is on the staff, where the opportunity lies. We feel comfortable that if he is in the bullpen, he has plenty of physical stuff to suceed in that role. If he’s not with this club and starts in the year in Triple-A, he would be starting in that case. Long term with Rubby, we have not closed the door on one role or the other because when you grade out his stuff, he projects as a starter. He’s had success all the way through the minor leagues and for a short time in the big leagues as a starter. We’re not limiting his role at this point.”
  • On having De La Rosa closer to full strength: “That’s the hope. That’s the intent, to get him back on the track he was, pre-Tommy John surgery. He’ll go into this year with no restrictions as far as April or the early part of May as far as holding him back if he’s in the starting role. Now it’s a matter of going out and performing and compete to win a spot.”

    “By having him pitch a little bit this winter kept him in that game cycle and that conditioning cycle and I think that’s aided in that. But like any guy, the consistency to the routine and maintaining body composition is an ongoing effort by all guys.”

  • On competition between Henry Owens, Matt Barnes and Anthony Ranaudo to make it to the bigs: “Any time you have stiff competition internally, it’s only a good thing. When we brought those three guys to Fenway in September, the thing that really jumped out in meeting with all of them, when they saw Workman, who was a teammate of theirs earlier in the year, pitching as effectively and consistently in the big leagues, I think it started to draw closer their timeline. But you can never replace competition from within. The more you have, the more it brings out of the individual.”
  • Read More: Boston Red Sox, chris capuano, Los Angeles Dodgers, MLB
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