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John Farrell doesn't expect Koji Uehara to have problems with new role

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Koji Uehara will miss at least two days of training camp with a sinus infection contracted during his flight to Florida, according to Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell.

"We just want to give him a couple of extra days to get his feet under him," Farrell said Friday after the morning workout.

Also, left-hander Edwin Escobar has a strain of the flu that is so severe that he has been quarantined and given medication, and will be out for about a week.

Uehara, who converted 25 of 27 save opportunities last year before a fractured wrist ended his season on Aug. 7, is moving from his role as closer to setup man for newly acquired closer Craig Kimbrel. Farrell said he doesn’t expect Uehara to have any problem adjusting.

"The atmosphere of the ninth inning won't be there, but if you look at what Koji's done when he's not been the closer, it's probably equal to what he was as closer," Farrell said. "Koji is the true definition of a very good pitcher, regardless of if he started for Baltimore for the first five innings of a given game or when he went to the bullpen in Texas or when he ultimately came to us.

"He's been a very good pitcher regardless of the role, and he’s a veteran. He knows himself and what he needs. We’re confident whether it’s the ninth inning of a given day or earlier than that, he’ll pitch very well."

Other takeaways from Farrell's media session Friday:

  • He said he has been told that Pablo Sandoval will arrive Saturday, and although he doesn't have an exact date for David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia, he expects them to arrive by next Monday.

  • Allen Craig, who is owed $21 million by the Red Sox over the next two years, is unlikely to make the roster. But Farrell said the team is focused on getting him regular repetitions.

    "He's a guy that has performed best when he has had regular ABs," he said. "That has been difficult for him since he's been over here. The foot injury -- that's documented. He'll be the first to admit that things haven't played out as he's hoped and expected. But he will get regular at-bats here in camp to try to find that stroke that made him one of best RBI guys in the National League. That's what we're here to do."

  • The work is only beginning for Hanley Ramirez with infield coach Brian Butterfield, who is trying to transform Ramirez from one of the worst defensive outfielders in baseball into a serviceable first baseman. They spent about 15 minutes together on a practice field Friday morning.

    "The more they get a chance to work one-on-one ... the nuances of the position are being talked about in addition to fielding ground balls," Farrell said. "So it's his footwork, how he anchors to the bag, it's his positioning, it's different angles to anchor to the bag when he's in an overshift position. So there's a lot of background to the movements as there is to just fielding ground balls in those one-on-one sessions."

  • Clay Buchholz has never started 30 games or pitched 200 innings in a season. Last year was a microcosm of his career as he was limited to 18 starts and did not pitch after July 11 because of an elbow strain.

    Asked what the Red Sox can do to keep him healthy the whole season, Farrell said: "We've had a very thorough structure around him in terms of a shoulder program, strength and conditioning regimen. Those are tailored to the individual needs of the pitcher, and that doesn't change this year because it's his seventh year with us. It's still specific to him as it is for David Price or anybody else on our staff. More importantly, I think Clay has come into camp in good fashion. He gets the chance to get on the mound tomorrow for the first time, but he's thrown six or seven bullpens already. [He had] prolonged down time last year, but you almost look at an every-other-year contribution from Clay, and hopefully this is the year we’re on the upside."

    Frustrating?

    "Players are going to give you what they have," Farrell said. "It's no fault of anyone's. Clay gives us what he can year in and year out. Sometimes that has been a greater and higher performance than others. We fully expect that to be the case this year."