FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Certain pitchers like to work specifically with certain catchers, and vice versa.
The battery pairings during the first week of camp for pitchers and catchers has varied. Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine was asked whether he would stick with certain pairings once the Grapefruit League exhibition games get under way.
“I would say that by the eighth of March we should have things under way where pitchers have been through twice and we’ll be able to sort things out a little,” Valentine said. “For the most part, the three (Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Kelly Shoppach and Ryan Lavarnway) will get the majority of playing time and all will be asked to work a little extra to get us as many reps with as many different people as possible.”
Valentine also made it a point to give minor league catching prospect Luis Exposito some love.
“He’s shown great strides from what I’ve read in reports and heard,” Valentine said. “I think he’s also a guy who is trying to take a step into his time. He looks very good.”
* First full-squad workout Saturday changes Bobby V’s focus: “I have been focused so much on pitchers and catchers. I briefly said hello to Dustin (Pedroia), saw him once out here. I’ve barely seen anybody else of the position players. I had a couple of nice little talks with Carl (Crawford) because he was early. But tomorrow that page turns. Tomorrow is the full squad.’’
* Carry a third catcher?: “I haven’t thought about it yet. The American League affords you the opportunity to bring an extra pitcher; right now I’m thinking about carrying that person. I would think a third catcher would have to be able to play other positions pretty well. But DH is a position.”
* On his first few days here: “To me, I’m still trying to get to know everybody. That’s my main chore.
“I’d like to get that first meeting (full squad, Saturday morning) over with. I heard there’s a lot of introductions, talking. I want to get pitchers on the field with players. We’ve got 60-plus players in camp, there are six practice fields we’re trying to utilize all the time. It’s a lot more work than, ‘Oh, good, this is really enjoyable.’’’
* On new pitcher Chris Carpenter, awarded as compensation for Theo Epstein: “I had a chance to briefly speak with him on the back fields. The reports on him is that he’s got a pitcher’s name (a la Chris Carpenter of the Cardinals) and he’s got a pitcher's arm. He throws the ball as fast as anyone in the game. He needs to learn to corral it, harness the velocity and work on other pitches. That’s it. And I saw him play catch.
"(Carpenter) said he was better today mentally, so it must have been a little confusing for him. I can understand that. (The decision came) so late. Leave the house, get settled in, then have to leave and move your family, it’s very difficult I think. How he views this opportunity, I have no idea if he’s thinking this is a better place to be or not as good a place, if he’s been told something.
“It’ll be a footnote (being traded for Epstein). We should take the kid into consideration. It is difficult.’’