FORT MYERS, Fla. -- With the sound of infield coach Brian Butterfield barking out instructions on bunt plays serving as background, here is the early word from the Fort Wednesday morning.
David Ortiz is being kept out of games the next few days, manager John Farrell said, because he has had some dehydration issues. The weather has been warmer than a typical spring (Farrell declined to get into a discussion about global warming), and Farrell said a few other players will be given Thursday off altogether.
“There’s been a little bit of fatigue," Farrell said. "We’re looking to give a bit of a blow to some of the guys. David is one of them. The last couple of days we’ve had guys come out with cramps. We’ve got to be careful that we don’t overload them at this point of time.
“I know it might sound a little crazy, but the intensity we’re going at it in the morning, guys are putting in very good work, we’ve got to monitor and back off when needed. We’re backing off [Ortiz] a few days."
Third baseman Pablo Sandoval, for example, took part in Wednesday’s bunt drills with a bottle of water stuck in his back pocket.
The Sox are playing the Blue Jays in Dunedin on Thursday, so after three straight home games, it was unlikely more than one or two regulars [if that] would be making the trip. But it didn’t take long for commentary about the time off eliciting reaction on social media.
“Sometimes even I can’t defend baseball or baseball players," tweeted former Sox infielder and WEEI sports-talk host Lou Merloni.
Joe Kelly (biceps tendinitis) is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Thursday. The Sox will decide afterward whether he needs to be backed off his scheduled start Sunday against the Phillies.
Koji Uehara (strained left hamstring) will throw off flat ground, but will not return to the mound until the Sox are satisfied that he is ready. Farrell said the injury does not compare to the strained left hamstring that kept Uehara out of 28 games in 2010 with the Orioles.
“He felt a twinge [Tuesday]," Farrell said. “Just precautionary, backing him out."
Outfielder Rusney Castillo (strained oblique muscle) was scheduled to play center and have two at-bats in a minor-league game Wednesday. He will do the same Thursday. Christian Vazquez (sore elbow) also was scheduled to take some at-bats Wednesday and Thursday. Outfielder Quintin Berry and catcher Ryan Hanigan also will be playing in minor-league games Thursday.
The Sox made their first roster cuts, sending first baseman Travis Shaw and infielder Sean Coyle to Pawtucket, and reassigning pitchers Noe Ramirez, Keith Couch and Miguel Celestino and first baseman Bryan LaHair, the Worcester, Massachusetts, native, to minor-league camp. LaHair had one 1 hit in 17 spring at-bats.
Shaw hit .350 in nine games, with two doubles and a home run.
“He had a very strong camp," Farrell said of Shaw. “He’s a guy who might have been a little bit -- I don’t want to say in awe of his surroundings -- but still he was much more comfortable, more aware of who he is as a player. More aggressive in certain situations, specifically against left-handers, more confident. He swung the bat very well, and for a guy his size he moves well [at first], and has soft hands. But you can see his bat making strides."
Here are Wednesday’s lineups:
Danny Santana, SS
Shane Robinson, RF
Trevor Plouffe, 3B
Kennys Vargas, DH
Oswaldo Arcia, LF
Aaron Hicks, CF
Chris Herrmann, 1B
Eric Fryer, C
James Beresford, 2B
Mike Pelfrey, RHP
Mookie Betts, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Pablo Sandoval, DH
Hanley Ramirez, LF
Mike Napoli, 1B
Shane Victorino, RF
Xander Bogaerts, SS
Ryan Hanigan, C
Jemile Weeks, 3B
Rick Porcello, RHP