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John Lackey starts Saturday, Jon Lester Sunday, Alfredo Aceves Monday 02.19.13 at 9:34 am ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — John Lackey will make his first start of the spring on Saturday against the Tampa Bay Rays at JetBlue Park. Lackey, who will throw just the first inning, will be followed by Drake Britton, Pedro Beato, Anthony Carter, Jose De La Torre, Oscar Villarreal, Alex Wilson and knuckleballer Steven Wright.

Jon Lester will follow up on Sunday by getting his first Grapefruit League start against the Cardinals in Jupiter. After Lester, Red Sox fans can get their first look at Rubby De La Rosa, followed by Junichi Tazawa, Joel Hanrahan, Andrew Bailey, Andrew Miller and Koji Uehara.

Alfredo Aceves will get his first start of the spring on Monday in a split-squad game against the Rays in Port Charlotte. After Aceves it will be Chris Hernandez, Daniel Bard, Clayton Mortensen (for two innings), Villareal and Wilson.

Meanwhile, in Dunedin at the same time, it will be Wright, Allen Webster, Terry Doyle (two innings), De La Torre, Beato, Carpenter and Carter.

Before the official Grapefruit League games, the Red Sox open with their traditional seven-inning games against Northeastern and Boston College.

Hanrahan will start Thursday’s 1:35 game at JetBlue against Northeastern, followed by Bard, Miller, Wilson Mortensen (two innings), Beato and Carter. Against Boston College at 4 p.m., Doyle (a BC product) will get a pair of innings against his alma mater. Uehara will start followed by Bailey, Villarreal, Doyle, De La Torre and Tazawa.

For more, visit the Red Sox team page at weei.com/redsox.

Read More: 2013 spring training, alfredo aceves, Boston Red Sox, john lackey
Ben Cherington: Conditioning is ‘something we’ve talked to [Felix Doubront] about’ 02.16.13 at 6:39 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — The moment of truth might finally be here for Felix Doubront.

Based on his performance in 2012, the left-hander entered spring training as a member of the rotation upon whom the Red Sox planned to rely. But the question hanging over the 25-year-old Venezuelan is: can he stay healthy?

In a three-season career with the Red Sox, Doubront has a 17’€“19 record with a 4.57 ERA and a 3.17 strikeout-to-walk ratio (228-to-72) in 271 2/3 innings.

Two seasons ago, after promising glimpses as a starter and reliever in the big leagues in 2010, Doubront’s growth was stunted when he reported to camp out of shape prior to the 2011 season. He subsequently came up with forearm tightness in his throwing arm at the start of camp, the first of a succession of injuries — arm, groin, hamstring — that left him in Triple-A for most of the season and rendered his contributions to the big league team minimal.

A minor knee injury slowed him briefly during the 2012 campaign. Still, Doubront entered last season as a starter and started strong, beating out Aaron Cook and Alfredo Aceves in spring training. With Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester getting off to relatively slow starts, and Daniel Bard being demoted to the minors Doubront got off to a good start, going 5-2 in his first 10 starts.

There have been glimpses of greatness. Last June, Doubront took a no-hitter into the sixth inning against the Miami Marlins. He finished the game giving up two runs on three hits and earned a win. He ended the season with a positive first year having a full time starting job, with a record of 11-10 and more than a strikeout per inning.

Now, Doubront is being held back because of shoulder fatigue.

Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington stopped short of calling out the pitcher for reporting to camp out of shape Saturday, lumping him in with the rehabbing Craig Breslow and Buchholz. All three took part in pitchers’ fielding drills Saturday.

“I think we’€™re kind of taking advantage of a longer spring training to go slow, and I guess you could say the same with Buchholz and Breslow,” Cherington said. “Guys that are moving a little bit slower out of the gate. I think if the opening day clock was coming on us quicker, you’€™d probably see them further advanced in their schedules by now. All three of those guys are feeling good and on a schedule now. Felix should be off the mound some time this coming week. So he’€™s got plenty of time.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2013 spring training, alfredo aceves, ben cherington, Boston Red Sox
Jon Lester on shouldering more of the load: ‘Bring it on’ 02.13.13 at 1:37 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Jon Lester is out to prove he’s a better pitcher than the one that finished 2012. He’s also embracing the challenge of leading a starting rotation that has its doubters heading into 2013.

Lester knows how 2012 ended. He knows he went 9-14 with a 4.82 ERA in 33 starts. He knows he was 4-9 with a 4-plus ERA in 17 starts over the final three months of the season. He knows that people are going to be expecting him to turn it around big time if the 2013 Red Sox are going to come anywhere close to competing.

“I love it. It’s great. Bring it on because of what you guys expect of me is nothing what of I expect of myself,” Lester said when asked Wednesday about being called upon to lead the staff. “I expect a lot. That’s why as far as me being serious, that’s why I am the way I am. I try to live up to my own expectations before everybody else’s. Obviously, that’s never going to happen. But I take my job serious and I want to reach those. Just because I don’t doesn’t mean it’s a failed season.

“Every year my expectations have been higher than what I’ve done but that doesn’t mean it’s a failed season. There’s things that are involved in that season that are good and some that are bad. You try to take every offseason and learn from those and throw out the negatives and move on with the positives and hopefully, you just keep building on those, and your expectations keep getting higher and higher.”

Lester made it very clear, that even with the trade rumors this offseason, he still prefers Boston as a place to pitch more than anywhere in Boston. Even as bad as 2012 was, he still loves his job and still wants to call Fenway home.

“I love baseball. I love Boston,” Lester said. “People don’t see me other than the fifth day, and when I’m out there when I’m out there, I’m not out there to kid around, I’m not out there to joke around with hitters but at the same time, I’m having fun. It may not look like it. I may be cussing up a storm and yelling at somebody but I’m having fun. I love to pitch. I love everything that is pitching, I love everything that there is baseball.

“I also don’t want to also come across as lackadaisical and a loaf and don’t really care about working hard. I take everything I do very seriously. I want my workouts to be the way they should be, I want my bullpen to go the way they should be and I want my game to go the way it should be. If doesn’t, I’m going to be pissed, that’s just who I am. But at the same time, I can improve upon on those in-between days where you don’t take it as serious but I would rather be on the serious side and work my way down and not be the goof-off and work my way.”

Lester was asked if performing in Boston can simply be too much sometimes.

“Yeah, sometimes,” Lester admitted. “Sometimes I want to kind of strangle myself. It can be intimidating, especially when you have years like last year. It’s tough. You know you suck and your teammates are trying to pick you up and everybody else knows you suck and you’re just trying to break even on the whole deal. It’s tough but at the same time, it’s the greatest place to play. You just have to take it in stride. You have to live with it and move on. If you can pitch in Boston, if you can play in Boston and survive and do good, I think you can play anywhere. I think anywhere else would be easy, a cakewalk.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2013 spring training, Boston Red Sox, Jon Lester,
John Farrell on D&C: ‘I think this team has the talent to contend and ultimately win this division’ at 9:55 am ET
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New Red Sox manager John Farrell stopped by for a visit with Dennis & Callahan from spring training in Fort Myers, Fla., on Wednesday morning, a day after pitchers and catchers reported to start the task of putting a miserable 2012 season behind them.

“I think more than anything, given what this team has come off of over the last year-plus, I think we have a great opportunity in front of us to rewrite the story that’s been the case of recent years,” Farrell said. “And talking to guys throughout the season, whether that was November 1st on, there was a genuine eagerness to put what has happened behind them and get down here and get back on the field and prepare for this season.”

Expectations are low for the Red Sox heading into the 2013 campaign, but Farrell sees hope. Asked if he thinks the Sox can win the AL East, Farrell said: “I do, yes. And that’s fine [that predictions have the Sox finishing fourth or fifth]. People are going to think what they want, project what they care to. But I think this team has got a lot of depth, a lot of talent. There’s balance. When you look at the lineup up and down, there’s speed, there’s power, there’s left-right balance. Our bullpen emerged as a strength of a year ago, and that’s been fortified with [Joel] Hanrahan coming in here.

“We know that the rotation is the area that we’ve got to get more consistent innings, higher number of quality innings from the group of five. You look at any team, the deeper they go into a season contending or into the postseason, large in part is probably because of the performance of that rotation.”

Added Farrell: “I think this team has the talent to contend and ultimately win this division.”

Injuries were devastating to the Sox last year, and two pitchers already are having issues as spring training begins.

“We started off already, Clay [Buchholz] obviously straining the hamstring yesterday, so that’s going to put him out a couple of days. We’ll get a better read on his condition this morning,” Farrell said. “Felix Doubront is probably six days behind the group. He’ll be back on the mound on Monday.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Daniel Bard, John Farrell, Jon Lester, Terry Francona
Hot Stove: Royals manager Ned Yost on Wil Myers rumors and KC’s pursuit of a starter 12.03.12 at 5:45 pm ET
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Royals manager Ned Yost suggested that outfielder Wil Myers — Baseball America’s Minor League Player of the Year in 2012 after hitting 37 homers in Double-A and Triple-A as a 21-year-old — reminds him of a young Dale Murphy, the former Braves center fielder and two-time NL MVP. He suggested that like Murphy, Myers has 30-plus homer potential. Kansas City plans to let him compete for an everyday job in spring training.

That said, in the aftermath of reports (including from WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford) last week that had the Royals considering trade proposals that would send Myers elsewhere for a front-of-the-rotation starter such as Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester or Tampa Bay’s James Shields, Yost also acknowledged that the Royals are open to the possibility of trading top prospects for a pitcher who can anchor their starting staff.

“Absolutely,” Yost said of the possibility of trading a top prospect for a starter. “But I can give you like nine more scenarios. … We’€™re looking at all of our options. We feel like we’€™re really close to being able to compete, and we’€™re looking at every option that we can. [Royals GM Dayton Moore has] worked really hard over the last five years to fill our minor league system with tremendous prospects that we can use for situations like this. We’€™re looking at a bunch of different options. One may work out; none may work out. We’€™re just going to do what’€™s best for our organization.

“Starting pitching, can’€™t have enough of it,” he added. “I’€™d like to have as much as I can get. But at what cost? That’€™s important to me.”

For now, Yost said, he felt no need to talk to Myers about his spot in the rumor mill.

“We’€™re talking about stuff, just like all organizations are, we’€™ve been locked up in our room, going over 90 different scenarios with 40 different players,” said Yost. “They’€™re just rumors right now.”

Read More: 2012 Hot Stove, james shields, Jon Lester, ned yost
Ben Cherington on trading a starting pitcher: ‘We have to be open-minded’ 12.01.12 at 12:09 pm ET
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In the past, it is the sort of conversation that would never happen with the Red Sox. The idea of trading a front-of-the-rotation starter who is in his prime, with a track record of considerable success, healthy, affordable and under team control for multiple years? There wasn’t a point to the Red Sox discussing such players, and other teams never bothered to engage the Sox about them.

Now, after a 69-93 2012 season, the world looks different. The Sox already showed a willingness to make the type of trade that they never would have considered in the past in August, when they dealt Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford to the Dodgers in one colossal reshaping of the team’s roster and payroll. And so now, perhaps, it should come as little surprise that the team is at least in a position where it has to consider discussing anyone in the rotation in a potential trade, including a pitcher like 28-year-old Jon Lester.

That’s not to say that the team is eager to let Lester go. But if there’s a team that’s willing to consider offering a potentially massive asset — someone like, for instance, Royals outfielder (and Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year) Wil Myers, then the Sox are in a position to listen.

GM Ben Cherington has said that the Sox are looking to add a fifth starter via trade or free agency to a group that already includes Lester, Clay Buchholz, Felix Doubront and John Lackey. But, Cherington acknowledged on Saturday at the Christmas at Fenway event, he won’t rule out the possibility of dealing one of those four pitchers, thus creating a need to add two starters this winter.

‘€œAnything is possible, but certainly it’€™s harder to do that, to subtract somebody from the rotation,” said Cherington. ‘€œWe have a number of players that teams like. We’€™re in a perhaps different situation than we have been in the past coming off the year we did. Maybe in light of that, teams not surprisingly are inquiring about things that maybe they wouldn’€™t have in the past. Look, we have to be open-minded; we lost 93 games. But our primary focus is to build the best team we can for 2013 and one that doesn’€™t in any way get in the way of a great team for a long time. That’€™s our focus, and that will guide us for the next several weeks. But you’€™ve got to be open-minded when you have a year like this, and we’€™re trying to build a team that will sustain a level of success over a long period of time.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: ben cherington, Clay Buchholz, felix doubront, john lackey
Red Sox manager John Farrell: Why David Ross was a priority to sign, and ‘non-negotiable’ rules for Alfredo Aceves 11.23.12 at 11:29 am ET
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Red Sox manager John Farrell, in an interview with the Red Sox Hot Stove Show on Thursday night, touched on a number of topics related to the Red Sox offseason, including detailing the process related to the hiring of the coaching staff, his expectations for reliever Alfredo Aceves, his expectations for the type of lineup that the Red Sox will feature, how John Lackey will be viewed entering spring training and how he views his role regarding work with pitchers with whom he has a history such as Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz and Daniel Bard.

Farrell, who has made no secret of his desire to implement an aggressive, up-tempo offensive style, also suggested that a corollary desire to shut down opponents’ running games played a role in the decision to sign catcher David Ross to a two-year, $6.2 million. The Sox in 2012 ranked 12th in the American League and 26th in the majors by throwing out just 20 percent of attempted base-stealers (well below the league average of 26 percent). That difficulty in controlling the running game of opponents has been a common theme over the last several years, including Farrell’s years as Red Sox pitching coach:

2012: 20 percent caught stealing; 12th in AL; 26th in MLB

2011: 24 percent caught stealing; 11th in AL; 23rd in MLB

2010: 20 percent caught stealing; 13th in AL; 29th in MLB

2009: 13 percent caught stealing; 14th in AL; 30th in MLB

2008: 25 percent caught stealing; 9th in AL; 19th in MLB

2007: 23 percent caught stealing; 10th in AL; 21st in MLB

Ross, meanwhile, has thrown out 37.5 percent of attempted base stealers over the last eight years, the second best percentage in the majors during that time to Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina.

“We brought David in to improve our team. Has he had a track record of being able to throw runners out? Yes he has. But he also brings a number of things that we’re looking for,” said Farrell. “He’s got leadership capabilities and qualities that fit well behind the plate in that position. He’s shown over the course of an entire career to be a very good game caller and to get the most out of pitchers on a given night.

“But on the bigger picture, in the bigger topic that you raise here, going back the last couple of years here [including with] myself as a pitching coach, we were not very good at controlling the running game. We have to become better at that. That will be a main point of emphasis in spring training, and looking back over the last couple of years, finding ways to do just that. It will be, I’m not going to say a hot spot, but a point of emphasis in spring training. The running game has come back to being employed not just in the AL East but across baseball as home run totals have dropped, the running game has become much more a part of it, and controlling it falls much more on the pitchers and catchers to control it and do the best job capable.”

More highlights of the interview are below. To listen to the complete Red Sox Hot Stove Show interview with Farrell, click here. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2012 Hot Stove, alfredo aceves, Clay Buchholz, Daniel Bard
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