FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Red Sox trimmed their roster by four players Monday, optioning catcher Dusty Brown and infielder Kevin Frandsen to Pawtucket, and reassigning non-roster catcher Gustavo Molina and third baseman Jorge Jimenez to minor league camp. Frandsen was a late acquisition from the Giants, Jimenez a Rule 5 pick returned by the Marlins.
The roster is down to 35, 10 over the 25-limit for Sunday’s opener against the New York Yankees, but you can count out two other players, Daisuke Matsuzaka (no surprise there) and Boof Bonser, who has been tabbed to remain here Saturday, manager Terry Francona acknowledging -- without putting it in those words -- that Bonser will begin the season on the disabled list.
Dice-K update: Matsuzaka, who threw three innings Monday in a simulated game in minor league camp, will follow Tim Wakefield in the exhibition against the Nationals in Washington (no Stephen Strasburg) on Saturday, then will make an undetermined number of starts in the minors. Weather may be a factor as to where he will be dispatched, at least initially.
Bullpen update: Bonser faced 12 batters Monday in a simulated game and said his reported groin strain was not yet 100 percent. He’s scheduled to pitch a bullpen Wednesday, then stay back here for a camp game Saturday.
Bonser was showing no ill effects from the groin last Friday, when he won a fielding-drill competition among the pitchers. “But I was wearing a brace,’’ he said, “and I’m still wearing a brace. I want to get to the point where I’m not wearing it.’’
Bonser was holding out hope that he could still start the season with the club, even though Francona indicated he wouldn’t be booking flight reservations to Boston in time for Sunday night’s game.
“I feel like it's OK,’’ Bonser said, “but I don’t want to have any setbacks with the leg issue.’’
Manny Delcarmen also threw in a simulated game Monday and was very encouraged by the results.
“I felt like I’m almost there,’’ said Delcarmen, whose velocity has been down all spring while he makes some mechanical adjustments to his delivery. “Today was really big. [Pitching coach John] Farrell said don’t change anything. Today I was staying back pretty good, got a lot of swings and misses on my changeup, which is always pretty good, and my breaking ball actually was breaking for a strike. I’ll take that any day.’’
Delcarmen said physically he feels fine, especially stamina-wise.
“I think I’ll be that guy to go out for 2 1/3, 2 2/3 innings when we’re down by 1, down by 2 and keep us in the game,’’ he said. “Other times I’ll throw later in the game. Farrell wanted me to get that attitude to go out there like no one’s going to touch you. I took that attitude today, threw some pitches inside. I feel great, and hopefully that will carry on to the next time I throw.’’
With Bonser headed to the DL, the competition for the last two spots in the bullpen to open the season is down to four players, lefties Alan Embree and Scott Schoeneweis, and righties Joe Nelson and Scott Atchison.
Atchison acknowledged that there’s a little high anxiety.
“Obviously you can’t be pitching and thinking about it,’’ Atchison said. “Sure, you wish we knew, but with two new guys here, they’re going to take their time. We’ve thrown the ball well, and hopefully we’ll make the decision hard on them.’’