FORT MYERS, Fla. (CBS) — Red Sox pitchers and catchers took the field Saturday for their first official workout of the spring here under sunny skies in Fort Myers.
The big story of the day was the Red Sox signing manager John Farrell to a two-year contract extension with an option for a third. With the new deal, Farrell is under contract through at least the 2017 season.
Ben Cherington told the assembled media that there’s a lot more than decision-making in innings 1-9 that come with the Boston managerial job, and Farrell does it all well.
Here’s some thoughts and observations from Day One:
— Farrell has done a solid job in his two years of work in the Sox dugout. He pushed a lot of the right buttons in 2013 — sticking with Stephen Drew for his defense, riding a hot bullpen, switching to David Ross, etc. Yes, you can second guess some of the decisions he made, but they won a World Series. As for last year? Injuries and youth did him and the team in. And, a last place finish doesn’t really matter. They could have finished 3rd, 4th or 5th; the bottom line is they weren’t a playoff team. He was part of that failure and you can place some of the blame on him.
WATCH: Players React To Farrell Extension
However, we’ll get a better read on Farrell as a manager after this year, in my opinion, because this is a playoff contending team.
— Pitchers and catchers look ready to go as they begin workouts. Clay Buchholz threw his eighth bullpen of the spring on Saturday, a good sign for him. He looks locked-in already. Health is the big key for Clay, but all signs point to him being in a good place to start down here.
— Interesting that my colleague Peter Gammons thinks knuckleballer Steven Wright could be a big part of the 2015 Red Sox, citing his versatility and work with Charlie Hough this offseason.
— Watching Rick Porcello makes you think of one word: Smooth. Everything he does seems effortless.
— Pitching coach Juan Nieves tells me he looks at this rotation and thinks he has a group of “highly intelligent” pitchers.
— I’m still amazed at the hand and forearm strength of catcher Christian Vazquez. He makes framing look effortless and he’s always in position to throw after he receives the ball.
— Two players who are highly motivated starting camp: 1. Dustin Pedroia, who finally had the ability to work out without any restrictions this offseason, and 2. Pablo Sandoval, who is ticked off about the picture of him that showed up on the web this past week that said he looked like he hadn’t missed too many meals in the offseason.
— I hope you’ll join us for Sports Final Sunday night at 11:35pm on WBZ-TV. We’ll have plenty more on the first few days of Red Sox camp, and hope to have a special guest.
Updates From Earlier: It’s still bitter cold in Boston, but spring is in the air down in Florida.
Pitchers, catchers and a good portion of position players are already down at the Red Sox spring training complex, and pitchers and catchers will have their first official workout Saturday morning.
WBZ-TV’s Dan Roche is with the team in Florida, and will be bringing you updates throughout the day. Nothing warms you up from a brisk winter chill like baseball!
— The Red Sox announced on piece of news while the team was on the field Saturday morning. Manager John Farrell has agreed to a contract extension through the 2017 season with a club option for 2018. Farrell is expected to speak to the media after the team’s workout.
— He is neither a pitcher, nor a catcher. But Dustin Pedroia is officially in the house. The Red Sox second baseman arrived in Fort Myers on Saturday.
Follow WBZ-TV’s Dan Roche on Twitter @RochieWBZ.