Tagged: spring training

Who’s the DH?


David Ortiz

David Ortiz (Photo credit: Keith Allison)

As many of you know there’s a very good chance that David Ortiz will open the 2013 on the DL with a heel injury. This heel injury is said to have nothing to do with the Achilles injury that sidelined him for much of last season. I seriously doubt that that is the case because the Achilles attached the heel to the ankle and it would make sense that a partially torn Achilles tendon would relate to pain in the heel, but I’m no doctor. Anyways, with this injury the Sox are left with an opening at DH and with no concrete way to fill the hole. Some options to take his spot on the roster are Lyle Overbay, Mike Carp, Ryan Lavarnway, Mauro Gomez, Jeremy Hazlebaker, or everyone’s favorite Red Sox this spring Jackie Bradley Jr.

Of all of the option I mentioned the only one who projects to make the Opening Day roster is Mike Carp. If he does take over the DH spot in Papi’s absence then the most likely candidate to take the open roster spot would be Lyle Overbay. Overbay would serve as the backup first baseman behind Mike Napoli and a left-handed bat off the bench, the same roles Carp is projected to have now.  Carp and Overbay could also split time at DH especially if Carp struggles early on, but that’s unlikely. I think Carp would be the best option, because, aside from Overbay whose far pat his prime, he’s the only one whose had success at the big league level. It may not have been much success but putting up decent numbers in limited play time at Safeco is better than anything else the Sox have.

Ryan Lavarnway is an interesting case. When the Red Sox signed David Ross it appeared that Lavarnway would be the odd man out, but Ortiz’s injury has given him some hope of making the Opening Day roster. Unfortunately, his numbers this spring aren’t helping his cause at all. He has just 5 hits in 33 at bats with only one of them being an extra base hit. Another thing working against him is he’s right-handed. In an already right-handed heavy lineup, Ortiz provided power from left side, but Lavarnway would just add another righty to the lineup which would make creating matchups fairly easy for opposing managers. One thing he could do is be a right-handed complement to Mike Carp, but other than that I don’t see any way of Lavarnway getting the job.

Mauro Gomez got a chance to showcase his ability in last years debacle and actually played rather nicely. He fits the mold of a DH, but has the same issue as Lavarnway, he’s a righty and his spring numbers are very similar. I can see him as a much more likely candidate to platoon with Carp. This is because the Sox aren’t concerned with him getting playing time and consistent at bats like they are with Lavarnway. Also Gomez is more versatile as he can play both first and third. I definitely think Gomez will be given serious consideration for the job.

Jeremy Hazelbaker is the longest of long shots, but I’ve heard his name mentioned in the discussion. He’s a lefty, so that’s one positive. He’s got some power and a lot of speed, in 2010 he stole 63 bases in 80 attempts. The big issue is he’s already been sent to minor league camp and I doubt they’d bring him back up, but the more I think about it he does seem like a good fit, but his lack of experience (7 AAA games) is a strong enough case against him to say it’s not going to happen.

The scenario that everyone is talking about is Johnny Gomes DHing and Jackie Bradley Jr. starting in left. Bradley is having a monster spring and it seems as if everyone believes he’s ready to be an everyday major leaguer. He’s expected to take over center field after Jacoby Ellsbury departs, if he actually does, following this year, but people are saying his time is now. This situation has created a very convenient situation for Bradley, but I don’t see it happening, at least not right away. The first issue is he’s never played a game above the AA level, but it wouldn’t be the first time a players skipped the AAA level. Also at some point in late April, the date I’m not sure of, the Red Sox gain extra year of control over Bradley. If they wanted Bradley on the major league roster they’d most likely wait for that date because a few early season games in April isn’t worth a year of service.  This seems to be the scenario that’s being talked about, but I still believe it’s a long shot for Opening Day.

These aren’t the only option the Sox have to choose from , but they seem the most likely. Who knows though, they could decide to rotate players in the DH slot or pick a guy who I never suspected. All things considered I think on Opening Day we’ll see Mike Carp as the Red Sox DH.

 

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The Injury Bug is Already Biting


Spring Training has just begun, but bad news has already come out of the Red Sox camp. Felix Doubront, Clay Buchholz, and David Ortiz have all had news regarding their health come out and none of it has been positive. Doubront has suffered a “setback” in his throwing shoulder, Buchholz has an issue with his hamstring, and Ortiz still hasn’t gotten over his Achilles injury (or Bobby Valentine but that’s a different story). All three of these injuries are huge blows to the Red Sox. If none of these guys are 100% for Opening Day, the Sox are down 2 of their top 3 starters and their most productive hitter. This a team that has a shot at making the postseason, but their not overly talented so every game matters and getting off to a good start is critical to their success. If their is a bright side to this it’s that a couple of the younger guys could get an extended look not just in Spring Training, but potentially in April. Steven Wright and Rubby De La Rosa would be the 2 most likely candidates to fill those roles and Mauro Gomez or even Ryan Lavarnway to replace Papi. Either way spring games haven’t even started yet and the future is already starting to look bleak. Hopefully, none of these injuries are serious and they can all come back at full strength and be ready to go Opening Day.

Player to Watch: Steven Wright


It’s been a long while since I’ve last updated this blog, but in this snowstorm I figured I might as well write something again. With players starting to show up in Fort Myers it’s time to start talking about the players in camp, and the players that are the most fun to talk about are the ones almost no one has ever heard of. The most interesting of that group of nobodies has to be righty Steven Wright. Wright was acquired at the trade deadline last year from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for former top prospect Lars Anderson.  Wright sounds like any other run of the mill prospect being brought into camp, but he has something that makes him very special, the knuckleball. Although he’s never pitched a major league game in his life (and only 5 in AAA) John Farrell said he has a chance to make an impact in the majors this year. Whether or not that means making the opening day roster or even being in the rotation remains to be seen. Regardless, he’s a very interesting case. He could be the next Tim Wakefield or the he could end up being the next Charlie Zink, which is what makes him so interesting  Will he be great or will he fall into oblivion without anyone noticing? Odds are it’ll be the latter, but I’m hoping the Sox will get another knuckleballer in the rotation. This year it’ll be tough for him to fit in with the rotation looking set with Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Felix Doubront, John Lackey, and Ryan Dempster, and even if one those 5 get injured he wouldn’t be the first option with Franklin Morales and Rubby De La Rosa waiting for their shot in the rotation. Even though it’s a long shot how he performs this spring could have him leapfrog over both Morales and De La Rosa and give himself a very good shot to get sometime in the big leagues this year. Despite everything I’ve said though he most likely needs more time in AAA with, like I said earlier, just 5 games there with only 4 of them as starts. Hopefully sometime this year he’ll get his shot, but for now all we can do is watch him this spring.

 

No Tommy John For Atch


 

Today Bobby Valentine said that Scott Atchison won’t get Tommy John surgery on his slighty torn UCL in his pitching elbow. Instead he will just rest and rehab the shoulder as advised by Dr. James Andrews, who generally performs Tommy John surgery for any baseball player who would need it. Valentine said that Atchison may start throwing in September. That’s good, but throwing and pitching are two different things. There’s a good chance that he won’t pitch for the remainder of the season. Even though he may not contribute this season this is still good news, because he will be ready for spring training and should compete for a job on the opening day roster should the Red Sox decide to re-sign him.

File:Scott Atchison on July 15, 2010.jpg

 

It’s Spring


Since I have nothing better to do I thought I might as well do a quick post.
The Sox are off to a great start, and are up 2-0 in the Mayor’s Cup. So far in the race for shortstop I think Aviles has the lead with Iglesias in second and until Punto can get a hit he’ll be in last. Also Clay Bucholz looked great today. Despite the pair of walks and the HBP he was great not allowing a hit. Hopefully everyone on the Sox has a healthy and successful spring.
Lastly I was asked to mention the Celtics in this post so I’ll give them a shoutout. They’re coming up on a key strech of games as they try to move in and capture the Atlantic divison title from the 76ers.