Ultimate 'walk' year? For Yaz, '67

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- A few quick hits, including this enthusiastic postmortem from Red Sox manager John Farrell on John Lackey's three scoreless innings Tuesday night:

“John was outstanding last night,’’ Farrell said Wednesday mornng. “That was one of the more encouraging things of all spring training, and there have been a number of positive things. Just the overall crispness to his stuff. His last two outings, his command has been good, he’s started to throw his cutter a couple of times. That was a very good outing for him last night.’’

Lackey certainly appeared in good spirits Wednesday morning, at one point during a drill standing between catchers David Ross and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, all with their arms around each other as if posing for a picture. Good times.

* Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski was in uniform and on the field, watching batting practice. Yaz will turn 74 on Aug. 22. Never noticed this before, but 1967 would have been Yaz’s free agent year under today’s rules. Yaz was the MVP that “Impossible Dream” year, leading the league in runs, hits, home runs, RBIs, batting average, on-base percentage, slugging, OPS, total bases and OPS-plus. Jacoby Ellsbury, and the Red Sox, should be so fortunate this season.

According to research on baseball-reference.com, Yaz’s salary was doubled after that season, from $50,000 to $100,000.

* David Ortiz was backed off from activity Wednesday, a scheduled “down” day, according to Farrell, but will run the bases again Thursday. Rickey Henderson didn’t run the bases this much in spring training.

* Alfredo Aceves pitched a scoreless eighth inning for Team Mexico in its 1-0 win over Arizona Tuesday night, giving up a hit, walking a batter and striking out two. Aceves will pitch multiple innings out of the pen, Farrell said, “kind of a piggyback situation.’’

* Shane Victorino played in both left and center field for Team USA in its 4-all tie with the White Sox, going 0 for 3 with a whiff. Victorino did throw out Dayan Viciedo at the plate.

* Ellsbury has recovered from his stomach flu, though he was not in Wednesday’s lineup. But the illness, Farrell said, invoking Terry Francona’s favorite term [“intestinal turmoil”] has claimed another victim, infielder-outfielder Mark Hamilton.

* Franklin Morales is responding to medication for the inflammation in his lower back, but Farrell said the Sox intend to be “very careful” with him.

* Outfield prospect Bryce Brentz, who missed out on his first big-league camp because of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, probably won’t be game ready until next Wednesday, when the minor league teams start playing games, Farrell said. But he hopes to get Brentz over to the big-league side for some game action.

* With the Pirates in town, it's worth noting that today would have been Willie Stargell’s 73d birthday. “Pops” has been gone since 2001.