4 Boston Red Sox Who Must Impress in Spring Training
As is the case with every team, there are question marks about the Boston Red Sox' roster heading into the 2012 season.
Spring Training is a place that positions are won—and lost.
Young players try to show they belong in the big leagues and washed up veterans have the chance to show they still have something left in the tank.
This spring will be important for many players on the Red Sox; big leaguers and minor leaguers.
Let's take a look at four players who must impress this spring.
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Alfredo Aceves was a pleasant surprise for the Red Sox in the 2011 season and they are looking for the same kind of production out of Aceves this season.
Aceves will be looking to cement a spot at the back-end of the rotation, a move from his long-relief spot last season.
Aceves won 10 games for the Red Sox, splitting time in the bullpen and in the rotation. He also had an ERA of 2.61 with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 2:1.
If Aceves has a strong camp, he is almost assured to start the year in the rotation. However, with a poor performance, Aceves could find himself back in the bullpen before long.
Daniel Bard finds himself in a similar situation to Aceves.
Bard is making the leap from setup man to starter and must show he has the stamina and makeup to be a big league starting pitcher.
Bard had a shaky performance down the stretch in September of last year, but if he can put all of that behind him, he could turn out to be a quality starter.
Just like Aceves, if Bard shows he isn't ready to be a starter, he will be sent back to the bullpen and the Red Sox will have to fill the gaps some other way.
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Jose Iglesias probably won't start the season on the Major League club when camp breaks in April.
However, Iglesias could silence some critics by putting up good offensive numbers this spring.
Iglesias is known for his tremendous defensive ability, but some question whether or not he is good enough offensively to be a quality Major-Leaguer.
Iglesias will get every opportunity to prove his worth this spring and if he puts up the numbers at the plate, he could find himself playing shortstop at Fenway very soon.
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Ryan Lavarnway is in the opposite situation as Iglesias.
Lavarnway has already has shown, at every level, that he can mash the baseball.
However, questions about his defense have called into question whether or not he should make the Sox' opening day roster.
The problem that Lavarnway faces is the Red Sox already have two catchers—Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Kelly Shoppach—and likely won't carry a third.
Lavarnway could serve as a back-up DH but he can't play defensively at any other position, making it hard for Bobby V to carry him.
If Lavarnway shows improvement in his defense, he could be a mid-season callup for the Red Sox.