FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Good morning from the Fort, where the Red Sox aren’t exactly reeling from reports that the Miami Marlins were “outraged” by the absence of regulars from the lineup the Sox sent to Jupiter on Thursday.
Sox manager John Farrell told reporters he’d heard that the Marlins might have filed a complaint with the commissioner’s office, but a Marlins spokesman said Friday morning that was not the case.
Farrell didn’t deviate from the explanation he gave Thursday morning, saying that the team’s regular infielders had stayed behind for intensive work with infield instructor Brian Butterfield.
“You’re dealing with travel, you’re dealing with availability of players, you’re dealing with what we’re trying to get done," Farrell had said.
Technically, the Red Sox did not abide by the directive teams receive regarding the composition of lineups for road games, which states that clubs should bring “a minimum of four players who are regulars on the previous year’s major league team or who were platooned on the previous year’s major league team on a regular basis, or who have a reasonable chance to be regulars on the major league club’s squad during the upcoming season. Each of those regulars, excluding pitchers, must play a minimum of three complete innings."
Still, there are some extenuating circumstances that should be taken into account. One, the Sox played back-to-back games in Jupiter. On Wednesday, the Sox sent Daniel Nava, Jackie Bradley Jr., Xander Bogaerts and Will Middlebrooks for the game against the Cardinals, along with a semi-regular, Mike Carp. All but Bradley Jr. returned to camp, which is typical for teams when they have back-to-back games in the same vicinity.
Thursday, Farrell said, had been earmarked for the infield work.
“It was a day that we go through every spring training," Farrell said. “Our starting infield, Butter begins to re-establish all the terminology, all the spots on the infield when we go into shifts. To have the projected starting infield together was critical. That’s what yesterday was about, in addition to some individual work that took place here."
Farrell also pointed out that both veteran catchers, David Ross and A.J. Pierzynski, were unavailable because of foot injuries, and that starting right fielder Shane Victorino has yet to play in a game.
“You can’t speak to what goes on inside another team’s camp," Farrell said. “There are reasons why they bring the team that they do, just as we had our very concrete reasons why we had the team we had in Jupiter. I can’t speak for other teams but we had specific work, in addition to having two catchers who needed time off and a right fielder unavailable. We’ve got work and injuries we’re contending with, and we just used players who were available."
The Marlins’ sensitivity to Boston’s no-name lineup -- Bradley was the only regular -- likely stems from the fact that they charged “super premium” prices for the Boston game, tacking on from $10 to $12 per ticket. It was the only game this spring that they did so. Despite playing in a two-year-old stadium, the Marlins ranked 29th in attendance out of 30 big-league teams, drawing 1.586 million fans. And a club source said ticket sales are lagging badly again this season.
The Marlins, with a lineup sporting seven of their regulars, managed just two hits and were held to a scoreless tie by the Sox irregulars.
“I thought we played a pretty darn good game," Farrell said. “As a matter of fact, it was the cleanest game we’ve played all spring."
A few other tidbits from Farrell’s morning session: Ross, as expected, was back in the lineup Friday, with Pierzynski expected to catch Saturday. Jake Peavy, with his finger wound still healing, is expected to throw an extended bullpen Friday, then make his first spring start March 12. That would give him four more starts before he would be needed to make his first regular-season start, which Farrell believes should be enough time for him to be ready, but they will monitor his progress. The Sox medical staff will probably fashion some kind of protective device for Peavy to wear underneath his glove. ... Matt Barnes, who had reported some stiffness in his shoulder, is back on a throwing program.
Here are the lineups:
1. Grady Sizemore, CF
2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
3. David Ortiz, DH
4. Mike Napoli, 1B
5. Jonny Gomes, LF
6. Daniel Nava, RF
7. Xander Bogaerts, SS
8. Will Middlebrooks, 3B
9. David Ross, C
Felix Doubront, LHP
1. Jason Heyward, DH
2. B.J. Upton, CF
3. Justin Upton, LF
4. Ryan Doumit, RF
5. Chris Johnson, 3B
6. Ernesto Mejia, 1B
7. Gerald Laird, C
8. Tommy La Stella, 2B
9. Ramiro Pena, SS
Alex Wood, LHP