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Spring Training Blog: Will Middlebrooks Impresses In BP, Red Sox Work On Base Running On Day 1

By Dan Roche, WBZ-TV
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WBZ-TV's Dan Roche Dan Roche
Dan Roche is an award-winning sports anchor and reporter for WBZ-T...
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FORT MYERS, Fla. (CBS) –  The Red Sox were indeed able to get outside on Friday here in Fort Myers as they hit the fields for their first official full squad workout under cloudy skies.

Prior to the workout, there was a 50-minute meeting where John Henry, Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino introduced themselves. John Farrell also spoke to the players as a group for the first time. Werner told me that Farrell’s speech was “inspiring.” Farrell said it was an honor to speak and that he hoped it set the tone for the season.

  • The Sox went out and worked for two hours. It began with base running, which Farrell continues to emphasize early on. Expect Farrell’s Sox — especially Jacoby Ellsbury, Shane Victorino, and Dustin Pedroia at the top of the order — to do more stealing of bases and be more aggressive on the base paths this year.
  • Jon Lester threw another bullpen and looked strong again. Farrell and pitching coach Juan Nieves were again closely monitoring his session, commenting quite often and working hands-on with Lester. John Lackey again looked smooth as he was hitting David Ross’ target over and over again. Prospect Rubby De La Rosa was impressive with his velocity as well as keeping the ball down.

Watch: Rochie’s 1-on-1 with Tom Werner

  • Meanwhile, the Sox are hoping to get Mike Napoli’s MRI results on his hip on Friday. The plan is to let him do all baseball activities if things come back OK.
  • I watched Will Middlebrooks take batting practice again and thought the same thing John Farrell did: “The sound off his bat is different than most.” His power is ridiculous. I’m anxious to see his sophomore season and the adjustments he’ll have to make.
  • There was a great moment watching BP with photographer Matt West of the Boston Herald. He happened to whirl his camera after a ball was hit toward the right field gap at Jose Iglesias. Iglesias leaped high in the air as the ball was tailing away from him and made an acrobatic catch. Matt, skilled photographer that he is, got a great sequence of him catching it step-by-step. He showed Iglesias after he came in, who immediately asked for copies! Pretty cool!
  • Farrell said the Sox aren’t planning to have an intrasquad scrimmage down here nor do they expect to have any B games. Although Farrell did say if they needed them, they could always call the Twins, who have a complex about three miles away.
  • Farrell also said Felix Doubront will long toss Saturday and hopes to be able to throw off a mound Monday. Doubront is noticeably heavier than he was last season. Not a good sign after he threw 160 innings last season and was fatigued the second half.
  • Meanwhile, Clay Buchholz is rapidly improving from his strained hamstring. He’s throwing from 120 feet and it’s likely he’ll be back throwing off the mound before he does any more PFP drills, according to Farrell.
  • Workouts continue into next week. The Sox’ first exhibition games are next Thursday when they host Northeastern (1:35 p.m.) and Boston College (4:05 p.m.) at jetBlue park.

Follow WBZ-TV’s Dan Roche on Twitter @RochieWBZ. Tune in to his updates from Red Sox Spring Training in Fort Myers, Florida all week on WBZ-TV, WBZ NewsRadio 1030 and 98.5 The Sports Hub!

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