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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Spring Training Workouts

On Wednesday we headed back to JetBlue Park for another day of workouts.  When we arrived at 9:00, we saw that some players had already taken the field.  Reclamation projects Aaron Cook and Ross Ohlendorf as well as Chris “The Other One” Carpenter, whom the Sox just received as compensation for losing Theo Epstein to the Cubs, were throwing on the back fields.  Cook and Ohlendorf are being brought along slowly since they’re coming back from injuries, so they haven’t been throwing on the same schedule as the other pitchers.  Cook threw off a mound to various players from minor league camp.  (I recognized Sean Coyle, Garin Cecchini, and Bryce Brentz as recent high draft picks who are currently in the low minors.)  Ohlendorf wasn’t even throwing to batters yet; he was just practicing pickoffs.

Ross Ohlendorf is trying to come back from a shoulder injury.

Ross Ohlendorf - formerly of the Pirates and Yankees - is working his way back from a shoulder injury.

When the pitchers wrapped up their sessions, we went up to the main field, where the players were just coming out and doing their stretching.  It looked like it wasn’t as many players as usual, and we soon realized none of the pitchers or catchers were there.  We had read in the morning’s paper that they were considering giving the pitchers and catchers one day off since the majority of them had arrived early and been working for several weeks straight.  The paper said that would happen on Friday, but we figured out that they had changed it to today.  I never saw where the infielders ended up, but I stayed at Field 1 to watch the outfielders.  They were practicing running in and catching (without gloves) balls thrown by the coaches.  Then they switched and did the same drill but running back away from the infield.  When they finished that drill they all disappeared, and we soon learned they were all inside the stadium practicing fielding off the replica Green Monster.  The bummer about that is that fans are not allowed in the stadium (they even halted the tours that usually run every hour) so we had to wait about a half-hour for them to come back out to the practice fields.

Will Middlebrooks could be at Fenway by the end of the year.

Will Middlebrooks could be playing at Fenway by the end of the year.

When the players re-emerged it was two groups of prospects who came out to take batting practice.  Shortstop Jose Iglesias has already made his debut last year, and is expected to take over the position for good once he’s had a little more seasoning in Triple A.  Third baseman Will Middlebrooks is ranked as one of the top prospects in the whole organization, and could get called up this year if Kevin Youkilis gets injured, or as a September call-up.  Centerfielder Che-Hsuan Lin is good defensively and could be an option in a couple of years if Jacoby Ellsbury leaves as a free agent.  They were joined by journeymen Jason Repko and Darnell McDonald.  On another field a group including Alex Hassan, J.C. Linares, Nate Spears, and Oscar Tejeda practiced baserunning – home to first, first to third, second to home, etc.

Che-Hsuan Lin is an outfield prospect.

Che-Hsuan Lin is an outfield prospect.

As the players left Field 2, I called Alex Hassan over and he signed autographs.  I’ve liked Hassan ever since the Futures at Fenway game last August, when he put his offensive and defensive skills on display.  I also got Lin’s autograph as he departed from Field 1.  When they went in, the only action was Bobby Valentine instructing a player in workout clothes, not a uniform, whom we quickly recognized as Ryan Kalish.  He’s rehabbing from a shoulder injury and can’t swing a bat yet, but he was bunting balls out of a pitching machine with Valentine instructing him much the same as he had done with Carl Crawford the day before.  When Bobby V. finished his lesson and left Kalish to work with the coaches, he also stopped to sign for the handful of fans who were left at that time.

The Spaceman makes an entertaining appearance.

The Spaceman makes an entertaining appearance.

We soon saw another small group of fans converging, and lo and behold there was Bill “Spaceman” Lee, the colorful lefty from the Red Sox teams of the 70’s.  When I came over, he was telling everyone how he owns a company that makes bats which are used by several major leaguers.  Someone asked him to sign a bat (the bat was black, and Lee had to ask the crowd if anyone had a silver Sharpie, which someone quickly produced).  As he looked at the bat, he said, “This is one of my bats.  I made this bat.  Chopped down the tree myself.”  When it was my turn, he stopped and admired the photo I had brought before signing it.

At that point, the only player left on the field was Mike Aviles, who had already changed out of his uniform and into regular workout clothes and was just talking with some of the coaches.  We hung around, and he did come over to sign.  I had gotten his autograph last month on the Red Sox Road Trip, but he signed for both my parents and was such a good sport that he posed for pictures with them and a couple of other people.  It’s cool how this day with an abbreviated schedule and a less-than-full roster ended up being one of the more fun and fulfilling workout days.

Posted on February 29, 2012 · Permalink · Share on Facebook
Posted in: 2012 Spring training

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