The boys of summer are starting to head down to Fort Myers, and actual baseball things are happening for the first time since October. While the cold might still be lingering in the northeast, only 66 short day separate Red Sox Nation from the baseball season, which alone should be enough to warm you up.
Of the early arrivals to the Red Sox facility in Fort Myers are pitchers Justin Masterson, Rick Porcello, and Craig Breslow. Boston has also seen a few position players make the trip ahead of schedule, as Mike Napoli, Jackie Bradley Jr., and top prospect Blake Swihart could be seen getting some swings in.
The official date for pitchers and catchers to report is February 20th, while position players will follow shortly after on the 24th. Boston will play their first game(s) of the spring in split squad action against Boston College and Northeastern University on March 3rd.
- Last season, the Red Sox held one of the least productive outfields in the majors. In turn, Boston devoted the tail end of 2014 and a portion of the winter towards beefing up their outfield core. While the team did manage to add premium talent through multiple avenues, the Red Sox are now faced with a roster log jam with Spring Training right around the corner. While depth is always a strength, and something the Red Sox will undoubtedly boast one way or another, the team will still be faced with the decision of who to keep and who to cut. (Red Sox outfield depth will force difficult decisions)
- After injuries hampered Justin Masterson’s 2014 season, the right-hander took an important first step towards a healthy second tenure in Boston. Masterson, who ran through his usual spring training ramp-up on Wednesday, did so without any lingering effects from the injury sustained during the previous season. (Why Wednesday was so important to Justin Masterson)
- After leaving the Red Sox to sign with the rival Yankees in 2005, Johnny Damon didn’t maintain many supporters in New England; despite his role in Boston’s 2004 World Series. Over a decade later, the now retired Damon spoke, er, tweeted, with Red Sox owner John Henry for the first time since his departure from Boston. (Damon clears air with Red Sox owner: “There are no hard feelings there”)
- Red Sox top prospect Henry Owens was one of eight minor leaguers to receive and invite to major league camp on Friday. Since being selected in the first round of the 2011 draft, the 22-year old southpaw has emerged as Boston’s top pitching prospect; amassing 469 punchouts in 395.2 career minor league frames. Along with Owens, fellow lefty starter Brian Johnson and slick fielding shortstop Deven Marrero were among those extended an invitation to join the major leaguers. (Henry Owens among eight invited to Boston Red Sox spring training)
- Tweet of the day: Pitchers throwing baseballs!