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Tuesday, February 25, 2014 – JetBlue Park, Ft. Myers

Spring Training Workout

Tuesday was the sixth day of full-squad workouts, and the schedule we were given when we entered the complex showed that it would be a slightly different format from the other days.  It looked like the pitchers were being given a day off from throwing, with no bullpen sessions or live batting practice on the docket.  They would be using only two of the six practice fields, and the guys on the big league roster would be taking B.P. inside the park, where fans can’t see them, for 45 minutes.  But we still managed to turn it into a fun and productive day.

Reliever Burke Badenhop was acquired from the Brewers during the off-season, and he figures to play a role in the Red Sox bullpen this year.

Reliever Burke Badenhop was acquired from the Brewers during the off-season, and he figures to play a role in the Red Sox bullpen this year. (He also wears stirrup socks instead of the solid red ones, which earns him points in my book.)

Since we were among the first fans in in the morning, we were almost alone when the first players began to come out to the fields.  They had to walk right past us, and since we knew who they all were and called them by name, we were able to snag a few early morning autographs.  While the players are supposed to be “turning the page” from the excitement of last season’s World Series win, it’s my duty as a fan to keep reliving and savoring the victory.  Toward that end, I printed off a photo of me with the trophy, and I’m trying to get as many players from the 2013 team as I can to sign it.  Of course I’d love to get all the big names (though that can be hard), but I also have a fascination with the lesser-known guys who only played in a handful of games, and yet in some way made a contribution to the effort.  My thinking is that even a guy who pitches a few innings in a loss can help out the team by eating innings and leaving some other pitcher fresh for a win the next day – that’s how the 2013 Red Sox managed to go the whole season without ever losing more then three games in a row.  That concept leaves me obsessed with Brayan Villarreal, who came over from the Tigers in the Jose Iglesias/Jake Peavy trade last July and got into just one game (facing only one batter, whom he walked on four pitches) for the Red Sox.  But he was part of the championship-winning team, so he’ll be getting a ring, and today I successfully called him over and asked him to sign the trophy picture.  I was also happy to be able to add fellow champions Brandon Workman, Alex Wilson, Xander Bogaerts, Daniel Nava, and Felix Doubront to the trophy pic later in the day.

Felix Doubront was walking down the sidewalk right among the fans, when he stopped to sign autographs for a polite and appreciative crowd.

Felix Doubront was walking down the sidewalk right among the fans, when he stopped to sign autographs for an appreciative crowd.

After the players did their initial stretching, they did some brief drills based on cut-offs and relays.  Next on the schedule was batting practice, which was taking place inside the ballpark today.  While the players who’ll be on the major league roster were whisked off to do that, a few groups of minor league hitters stayed out on the practice fields to do their B.P., and we went over to Field 2 to watch what was listed on the schedule as “Baserunning – all pitchers”.  American League pitchers don’t need a whole lot of baserunning practice anyway, but what it turned out to be was the pitchers all sitting on the ground (like story hour at the library) and listening to coaches Brian Butterfield and Arnie Beyeler give a lecture on different baserunning scenarios and how to protect against them.

Catchers David Ross and A.J. Pierzynski confer during practice.

Catchers David Ross and A.J. Pierzynski confer during practice.

That didn’t make for the best spectator sport (other than trying to take pictures of Drake Britton’s mohawk while he had his hat off), but when the pitchers departed, the catchers arrived and participated in an actual baserunning drill.

Minor league catcher Dan Butler is rounding third and heading for home in a baserunning drill.

Minor league catcher Dan Butler is rounding third and heading for home in a baserunning drill.

Drake Britton's mohawk...

Drake Britton's mohawk... 'Nuf Ced.

By the time that drill finished up, the major league position players had come back out to do some running, and they were being timed while they ran 90 feet.  The video below shows David Ortiz, Jonny Gomes, Brock Holt, Mike Napoli, and Dustin Pedroia in this drill.  Pedey sure goes all-out in everything he does!

While we waited for the final players to come off the field, we saw Shane Victorino come out to one of the back fields to do some running.  He’s still recovering from a number of injuries and is working on core conditioning before being cleared to play in games.  We were impressed with his brightly-colored attire – yellow and orange sneakers, socks with the Red Sox logo, and a t-shirt that read “This is our f#@king city -Ortiz” on the front and had the “B Strong” logo on the back.  (We heard that Jonny Gomes had a bunch of shirts made up for his teammates today that said “Turn the page”.  Maybe that’s what he’ll be wearing tomorrow.)

Shane Victorino is still rehabbing various injuries, but came out to do some running.

Shane Victorino is still rehabbing various injuries, but he came out to do some running.

While the day was cool and overcast when the park first opened, the fog burned off and the sun rolled in, making for another beautiful baseball day.  Practice finished up around 12:30, leaving us plenty of time to spend the afternoon at Lighthouse Beach on Sanibel Island.

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