FORT MYERS, Fla. --- Greetings from the Fort, where Jake Peavy makes his much-anticipated Grapefruit League debut today against the Twins -- if he doesn’t get hurt on the grueling eight-minute bus ride to Hammond Stadium.
It’s been that kind of spring for Peavy. Early in camp, he injured his right ring finger when he was struck by a ball, delaying his throwing program. Then, on March 1, he cut his left index finger with a fishing knife just two days before he was scheduled to make his first start against the Pirates in Bradenton.
“We fully expect him to go three innings,” manager John Farrell said. “It’s going to be 55-60 pitches that he has comfortably built up to so far. Making sure he catches ball in the webbing. He was using an outfielder’s glove other day. It just gave him more room to catch them. Whether he uses that today remains to be seen. But the wound is healing up fine and shouldn’t hinder his ability to pitch today.”
Size-ing it up: Jackie Bradley Jr. will start in center field while Grady Sizemore gets three at-bats in a Triple-A game today. “We just wanted to get Jackie with our regular lineup and get him in the mix there,” Farrell said. “With yesterday’s off day and tomorrow’s long trip [to Dunedin], that’s why Grady’s getting his at-bats at the Triple-A level today.”
Roster moves: The Red Sox optioned/reassigned 12 players out of camp: pitchers Matt Barnes, Anthony Ranaudo, Henry Owens, Miguel Celestino, Alex Wilson and Noe Ramirez, catcher Blake Swihart, outfielders Bryce Brentz and Alex Hassan, shortstop Heiker Meneses, third baseman Garin Cecchini and first baseman Travis Shaw.
“I will say this as a whole: Maybe with the exception of Barnes, because he was slowed with shoulder stiffness, I thought the guys showed very well,” Farrell said. “I think it speaks of the unity that the major and minor leagues have. I thought the guys came in and handled themselves well. They handled the environment well.
“On the field, there were a lot of positive signs, whether it was the consistency of at-bats by Hassan to Brentz to the way a young guy like Blake Swihart showed behind the plate. Not that we’re overvaluing or over-evaluating our own players, but there’s a lot of talent that was just sent out of camp.”
Farrell on Brentz: “One of the things he had hoped to display here was the all-field approach he showed more of in winter ball. That was the case. Equal to all the power he shows, when he was in two-strike situations, there was more of a pronounced two-strike approach where he looked to go the other way. His defense was more consistent. Those are attributes that make him a strong prospect.”
On Owens: “The thing that stands out to me is the other day up in Sarasota. Things were not going his way, but it was the mound presence and poise. He didn’t get rattled. As we mention to every first-year pitcher who comes in here, that to me is one of the tell-tale signs more than anything. How do they respond when situations aren’t going well on the mound? I thought he passed it with flying colors. For a young guy facing an ‘A’ lineup, he didn’t back away from the challenge. He didn’t start walking people. They hit him, but he controlled his emotions very, very well. That is something I thought was impressive.”
Road trip: When the Red Sox go to Dunedin on Friday, they will take Bradley, Jonny Gomes, Mike Carp, Ryan Lavarnway and Clay Buchholz. Shane Victorino and David Ross will get at-bats in a minor-league game.
Here are today's lineups:
1. Daniel Nava, LF
2. Shane Victorino, RF
3. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
4. David Ortiz, DH
5. Mike Napoli, 1B
6. A.J. Pierzynski, C
7. Xander Bogaerts, SS
8. Will Middlebrooks, 3B
9. Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
SP -- Jake Peavy, RHP
1. Aaron Hicks, CF
2. Brian Dozier, 2B
3. Joe Mauer, 1B
4. Josh Willingham, LF
5. Oswaldo Arcia, RF
6. Travor Plouffe, 3B
7. Jason Kubel, DH
8. Kurt Suzuki, C
9. Danny Santana, SS
SP -- Phil Hughes, RHP
Also scheduled to pitch: RHP Samuel Deduno