Red Sox beginning to take shape at Spring Training
While snow and wind have been battering New England, the Sox have kicked things off in sunny Florida as they prepare for the 2013 season. The Sox have a 2-4 record thus far in Spring Training and are working on putting the pieces together as they prepare for the season opener versus the New York Yankees.
Starters John Lackey, Jon Lester, and Ryan Dempster have all impressed on the mound. Lackey started the first game versus the Rays, throwing one inning and giving up one run. He had a shaky start but soon battled back as he regained his fastball command and confidence. Jon Lester threw two scoreless innings in his start versus the Cardinals, showing a renewed sense of confidence as he attempts to win the hearts of the Fenway faithful once again. Ryan Dempster did well as predicted in his start against the Cardinals; for a veteran player like him, getting into a groove is all that matters.
Mike Napoli and David Ortiz are set to rejoin the team soon as they both recover from injury. Napoli is scheduled to start on Friday versus the Pirates while Ortiz’s return is still being determined. Big Papi has increased the intensity of his workouts, but his Spring Training plans have been delayed while he returns to the Dominican Republic for a personal matter.
Rookie outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. has impressed nearly everyone in camp so far. He spent most of his time in A and AA last season and is expected to rise up to AAA Pawtucket in 2013, but there are a few hints that you could see him this summer at Fenway Park. Bradley Jr. primarily plays center field, making him a likely replacement for Jacoby Ellsbury. The Sox are grooming him to play left field and right field as well.
While the spring has been positive and upbeat for the most part, there are a few injuries that are a cause for concern. Felix Doubront showed up to camp out of shape and reported some soreness in his left arm. He is currently working his way back and will be ready to pitch in a game soon, but with the Sox pinning their hopes on his success in 2013, any sort of injury early this season is a cause for worry.
Will Middlebrooks went down early in the game versus the Orioles on Thursday night, grabbing his right wrist after checking his swing. Middlebrooks broke his wrist last season and was shut down for the year. With very little depth at third base the Sox need Middlebrooks to be healthy or they need to start looking for a suitable replacement should he go on the DL again. Middlebrooks doesn’t seem too concerned though; after some tests were done on his wrist it seems that he thinks he will be ready for Opening Day.
“I have all my strength, we did strength tests, everything is there,” Middlebrooks said. “Everything as of now seems fine. … Just kind of a freak thing and it scared everybody … It’s not serious. It scared me and scared everybody else.”