The Red Sox have re-calibrated themselves as a team this spring.
With the 2013 regular season just weeks away, the Boston Red Sox are sifting through a mountain of player performances to help determine their final 25-man roster. A full update of surprises, busts and injuries at Boston’s camp is needed to see how the team is shaping up.
Last spring training, the major story was manager Bobby Valentine and the unique style he brought to the team. Unfortunately, the they lost 93 games in 2012, prompting his termination following the end of the season.
A lot has already happened this spring, as the Red Sox try to figure out their team for Opening Day on April 1 against the New York Yankees.
Click through for a full update of the surprises, busts and injuries that have come out of Boston’s camp so far this spring.
Ortiz hasn't been able to get off the bench this spring.
The 37-year-old slugger has played in just one game since July 16, 2012 because of a partially torn Achillies.
He is yet to play in any games this spring, and has only been able to run intermittently because of lingering discomfort. This caused him to recently get MRIs on both of his heels to see if doctors could pinpoint a cause for his pain.
However, with each passing day, it is looking less likely that Boston’s designated hitter and cleanup man will be ready. If that’s the case, the team will find it difficult to replace him and the 1.026 OPS he produced last season.
De La Rosa has asserted himself as one of Boston's young pitchers this spring.
Acquired in last season’s big trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the 24-year-old right-hander was considered an intriguing pitching prospect, but had some prominent unknowns because of his recent Tommy John surgery.
De La Rosa did well in parts of two major league seasons with the Dodgers, posting a combined 3.96 ERA and averaging nearly a strikeout per inning.
He’s pitched even better for Boston this spring, displaying electric stuff and impressing people throughout the organization.
Despite his sparkling spring, it’s already been determined he will start the season in the minors, but will assuredly see Boston before long if he continues pitching this way.
Webster has fit right in with the major league pitching staff this spring.
Webster, who was also acquired in last season’s trade with the Dodgers, has matched his fellow prospect De La Rosa’s electric spring.
WEEI’s Alex Speier recently detailed how the 23-year-old right-hander has impressed with an upper-90s fastball and shutdown results that have led to 11 strikeouts in eight innings.
Webster’s ascent as a prospect has been particularly surprising, since he’s only been pitching full-time since being drafted by the Dodgers in 2008, according to The Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham.
The youngster should start 2013 in the minors, but could be a valuable asset for the Red Sox later this season in either a starting or relieving role.
The normally reliable Breslow hasn't been able to throw a pitch yet this spring.
When the left-handed Breslow signed a two-year contract extension this past offseason, it was done with the intention of him being an integral part of this year’s bullpen.
Having averaged 70 appearances and a 3.20 ERA for the past four seasons, Breslow had been the picture of consistency, but that appears to be ending in 2013.
The Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham recently reported that Breslow is expected to start the season on the disabled list because of a weak throwing shoulder.
Because he has yet to get in any work this spring, even if he heals quickly, his return could be delayed more than usual because of the time it would take for him to get ready.
Morales is trying to build on a strong 2012 season.
The left-handed Morales was surprisingly effective transitioning from Boston’s bullpen to starting last season. He had a 3.23 ERA in 28 relief appearances, and a 4.14 ERA and more than a strikeout per inning in nine starts.
Unfortunately, a sore shoulder shut his 2012 season down prematurely.
He has only thrown one inning so far this spring because of a bad back. MLB.com’s Ian Browne reported that there is no timetable for his return.
The Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham reported that like Breslow, Morales will also likely start the regular season on the disabled list.
As long as Morales’ injury isn’t serious, it could be a blessing in disguise, as he wasn’t even guaranteed a roster spot because of the team’s deep pitching staff this season.
Bard has looked rejuvenated so far this spring.
Bard, who was once among the most dominant setup men in baseball, looked lost trying to convert to starting last season. Between bouts of wildness, diminished velocity and a demotion to the minors, he posted just a 6.22 ERA in 17 games.
He entered this spring without a guaranteed roster spot, but that hasn’t stopped him from looking much better than the last time he was seen on a mound, as he’s not been scored on in three spring games.
The Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham wrote that Bard struck out the side in his second game, and even reached 97 mph on the radar gun.
If he can prove his resurgence is no fluke, he may end up on the 2013 major league roster yet.
Victorino hasn't done much on the field for the Red Sox this spring.
It came as a bit of a surprise this past offseason when the Red Sox signed Victorino to a three-year, $39 million free-agent contract. After all, the 32-year-old switch-hitter was coming off his worst season as a pro, hitting just a combined .255 with the Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers in 154 games.
Victorino was heralded as a good character player with risky upside by Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan, which was the kind of player being sought by the rebuilding Red Sox.
The outfielder has done nothing to alleviate concerns about his possible decline, as he went hitless in 11 spring training at-bats before departing camp to play for Team-USA in the WBC.
Obviously, it’s still incredibly early, but Victorino has done nothing yet to indicate he’ll justify his large contract.
Bradley has proven to be quite the catalyst.
Although Boston media has seemingly anointed the 22-year-old Bradley as center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury’s replacement if he leaves as expected following the 2013 season, the prospect’s spring training has still come as a surprise.
The left-handed hitting Bradley has been the star of Red Sox camp, reaching base in over half his plate appearances and playing effective defense all over the outfield.
His production caught the eye of manager John Farrell, according to the Boston Herald’s John Tomase.
It appears that Bradley will start the season in the minors, as it would only make sense to keep such a young player in Boston if he were receiving regular playing time. However, with the uncertain health of David Ortiz, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that a roster spot could come open for the rookie.
Napoli has looked comfortable at the plate and playing first base this spring.
Napoli was the major storyline this past offseason, agreeing to a three-year, $39 million free-agent contract. However, when a chronic hip condition was discovered, his deal was reduced to one-year and $5 million (plus incentives).
Unsure of how his hips would respond, the Red Sox eased Napoli into spring training action.
Despite his health concerns and becoming a full-time first baseman for the first time in his career, Napoli has starred this spring. He leads the team with three home runs and has shown respectable glove work.
If he can play regularly and come close to his 2011 season, when he hit .320 with 30 home runs with the Texas Rangers, he may be able to make back the money and years lost from his original contract with Boston.
Hanrahan has had a hard time getting outs lately.
Bringing in Hanrahan was seen as a necessity because Andrew Bailey, who entered 2012 as the team’s closer, finished with just a 7.04 ERA and six saves in 19 games.
If what ailed Bailey last year was contagious, it appears Hanrahan may have caught it this spring.
In four innings, he has given up nine hits, four walks and six earned runs.
Some have speculated that Hanrahan has been distracted by the impending birth of his first child.
Regardless of the reason, four innings is too small a sample size to make definitive judgments. But, even by spring training expectations, he’s been a huge bust and needs to pitch better so Boston fans can breathe easier as the season approaches.
Statistics via Baseball-Reference