Pitchers and catchers report to spring training: early notes
Feb 21, 2012; Fort Myers FL, USA; Boston Red Sox pitchers listen to managerBobby Valentine
(not pictured) during spring training at JetBlue Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
The Boston Red Sox have had quite a bit of time to revel in the glory of winning the 2013 World Series. However, today marks the first day that we officially turn our heads forward and change our focus from the triumphs of last season to the task of repeating those triumphs in the new year. Though many Red Sox players have long since reported to camp, today is the official date for pitchers and catchers to report to spring training and with the never-ending media cycle surrounding the Red Sox, there is already some early news.
- Yesterday, before pitchers and catchers had officially even reported, the Red Sox received news of the first injury of the year. Jake Peavy sustained a minor injury to his pitching hand, as he is dealing with some irritation after being struck by a batted ball. However, Peavy commented on the situation, saying “It’s nothing” and suggesting that he might take it easy for a few days but would be fine. Hopefully this is not a setback and Peavy will be back on the mound shortly.
- Felix Doubront has been called out on his work ethic and drive after arriving to camp out of shape two of the last three seasons. However, he seems to have a chip on his shoulder as he has supposedly showed up to camp in the “best shape of his life.” Doubront took part in an intense conditioning program during the offseason and has been in camp for several weeks now. The young left-hander has dealt with fatigue down the stretch the last few years, but being in good shape could help him to stay strong and have the breakout year that will establish him as one of the best young pitchers in baseball. Fellow BoSox Injection writer Paul Prims elaborates on the Doubront situation here.
- Former top catching prospect Ryan Lavarnway reported early to spring training this year; however, he hasn’t been doing so as a catcher. The Red Sox coaching staff has been working to develop Lavarnway as a first baseman and he has seen extensive action there this spring. According to reports, Lavarnway has worked tirelessly this spring to improve his versatility and is making definite progress. If Lavarnway, who is in serious danger of becoming a bust, can add first base to his repertoire, then he will have much more value in a Red Sox system where first base is a weak spot.
- Though he isn’t a pitcher or a catcher, Will Middlebrooks‘s new look has attracted quite a bit of attention on the Red Sox’ Ft. Myers complex. The 25-year old third baseman has added 12 pounds of muscle and looks noticeably stronger. Admittedly, a lack of power was not the problem with Middlebrooks last season. However, it obviously does not hurt to have a young player taking his development seriously. If Middlebrooks can infuse some legitimate power into the Red Sox lineup, that will add an element to an already elite offense.