Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here... highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
That could be an important spot, since starting first baseman Mike
Napoli is not a great defender and the Sox would like someone who could
serve as a late-inning defensive replacement. Also, Napoli's
well-documented hip issues mean he may not always be available.
In a perfect world, the Sox would like that candidate to hit
lefthanded, to complement Napoli, who is righthanded. And, they'd prefer
that the player be able to contribute in the outfield. Involved
in the mix are Lyle Overbay, Mitch Maier, Daniel Nava and Mark
Hamilton. The Sox also had some discussions with outfielder Ryan
Sweeney, for now, there are no plans to have Sweeney try the position
and he remains exclusively an outfielder. "It's important
that we have another first baseman on the roster,'' said GM Ben
Cherington. "We think we have a good chance to find the solution with
the guys that are in here. It would be ideal (to have a person who could
play both first and the outfield). It needs to be someone who can
handle the position defensively and can hopefully produce against a
CSNNE: Red Sox notebook: first base options
Translation: The Sox are going to suck defensively at first this season. No disrespect to Napoli, Nava, Overbay, Maier, and Hamilton, but they are no Adrian Gonzalez. Sorry, I didn't mean to bring that name up.
There is also potential for an all-around weak first base this season. If Napoli's hip becomes an issue during the regular season, and the Sox are left with Overbay and Nava, there will be little offensive production from that spot. It is still very early in spring training, and the Sox are going to throw out a ton of possibilities at a handful of positions.
Still, expect little from first base.
Related: ESPN Boston: Today's takeaways: Who's on first?
On Page 2, More of the same on Bard's progress
In his previous spring trainings, few would have taken notice Daniel
Bard throwing live batting practice for the first time. But on Saturday,
when the righthander took the mound on Field 3, a large crowd gathered.
Red Sox manager John Farrell was watching, as were several members of
the baseball operations staff, general manager Ben Cherington among
them. Television cameras were on hand, too.
Once a premier relief pitcher, Bard became a starter last season and
quickly regressed. His velocity fell off sharply and then his control
vanished. So alarming were the results that he was sent to Triple A
Pawtucket for three months.
Bard is now back in the bullpen and has been throwing well since
arriving in camp. On Saturday, with minor leaguers Jeremy Hazelbaker and
Jonathan Diaz at the plate, Bard needed a few pitches before he started
to consistently throw strikes with some zip to them. It was a
productive session, another step.
“Felt good,” Bard said. “Just trying to work the kinks out. Once I
settled in, I felt fine. … The focus was just being in the strike zone
as much as possible, trying to be down with everything. The second half I
was pretty pleased with. I felt like I accomplished most of those
Globe: A step forward for Daniel Bard
Ben Cherington followed those comments with a request to not make the Bard story and everyday thing. Good request. The nearly daily posts about Bard have become redundant. How many times can you write that a pitcher is looking better than last year? Apparently, a lot.
Give the guy a break and make a story out of it when huge steps are taken, not when a few extra people watch him pitch BP and are impressed.
Related: ESPN Boston: Bard's BP session gives Sox hope
The rest of the links:
Herald: Doubront's conditioning a sore spot | Remade Sox can't burn their bridges | John Farrell's style will fix culture with Sox | Globe: Kalish seeking a little inspiration | For Jonny Gomes, Red Sox are an oppotunity | Daily report from Red Sox camp | Steven Wright isn't joking around | CSNNE: 'Eye Test': Xander Bogaerts | Wakefield to tutor knuckler Wright | McAdam: Possibility Bard starts season in Pawtucket | WEEI: Ben Cherington: Conditioning is 'something we've talked to [Felix Doubront] about |