With little over a week until the official report date for pitchers and catchers to Fort Myers, the Red Sox have already seen a plethora of players make the early trip down. Red Sox newcomers Justin Masterson, Rick Porcello, and Anthony Varvaro have all been spotted at the Red Sox complex. Fellow hurlers Clay Buchholz, Craig Breslow, and Matt Barnes are also among those who have joined camp ahead of arrival. Boston’s projected catching tandem of the future, Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart, have both been spotted in Fort Myers, while newcomer Ryan Hanigan is set to follow soon after.
In addition to pitchers, Boston has seen quite a few position players make their way to Fenway South a little less than 2 weeks before the report date. Among the early arrivals are outfielders Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. Mike Napoli, who won’t be ready for game action after undergoing sleep apnea surgery over the winter, has also been getting some early work in. Newcomer Pablo Sandoval was one of the first arrivals at spring training, as he looks to get familiar with his new comrades.
- The Philadelphia Phillies don’t appear to be balking at the idea of obtaining at least one of Boston’s top prospects in exchange for starting pitcher Cole Hamels. Philadelphia is reportedly holding out for blue-chip catching prospect Blake Swihart, or up-and-coming outfield sensation Mookie Betts. While the Phillies are right to expect a sizable return for their ace southpaw, Boston appears steadfast in their desire to build their club internally. (So, evidently Phillies really want Blake Swihart or Mookie Betts)
- For Justin Masterson, it was his familiarity with the Red Sox organization that landed him back where his whole career began. Despite his shoddy 2014 campaign, which was marred by injuries, the right-hander ultimately decided that Boston’s coaching staff and medical staff gave him the greatest opportunity to reestablish his value as a starter. (Justin Masterson back in comfortable surroundings with Red Sox)
- With Pablo Sandoval taking over at the hot corner and the outfield depth chart busting at the seams, Red Sox prospect Garin Cecchini knows the odds aren’t in his favor in Boston. But knowing this won’t stop the 23-year old from loosing hope on grabbing a roster spot in Boston. Still, the former fourth round pick plans on making a contribution in Boston one way or another in 2015. (Garin Cecchini looks to create his own opportunity with Red Sox)
- To Red Sox fans, the name Shaq Thompson might ring a bell for all the wrong reasons. After being selected by Boston in the 18th round of the 2012 draft, Thompson sported an 0-for-39 in rookie ball striking out 37 times. But upon his departure from baseball later that season, Thompson undertook a career in football at the University of Washington. Three years later, the former failed Red Sox prospect is projected by many to be a first round pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. (NFL first-round prospect Shaq Thompson’s failed baseball career)