BOSTON (CBS) — After a tumultuous offseason of uncertainty, the Boston Red Sox are eager to get things going at Spring Training. Pitchers and catchers don’t have to officially report until Tuesday, but a handful of players got an early jump at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Florida.

And, of course, Dan Roche was there too. The WBZ-TV sports reporter was in heaven on Monday morning, and shared all the sights and sounds of spring from down in Fort Myers:

– Baseball is here, but boy is there an odd feeling in Fort Myers. Alex Cora is gone, leaving a gigantic void on the bench (more on that shortly). And now that the Red Sox and Dodgers have agreed to a revised Mookie Betts trade, Mookie and David Price are no longer around either.

Players who spoke on Monday said they’re focused on what they can control, but they can feel the void left by a strange offseason.

– Among the pitchers to get some work in on Monday was Nathan Eovaldi, who tossed just 67.2 innings for the Red Sox during an injury-plagued 2019 season. He’s looking to bounce back in a big way in 2020 after sporting a 5.99 ERA in 2019.

– Lefty Eduardo Rodriguez was also on hand, though he won’t he here Tuesday, when he’ll fly to Phoenix for his Wednesday arbitration hearing with the Red Sox. On Monday, the veteran pitcher spoke about the gigantic losses of Mookie Betts and David Price, touching on how much Price helped him during their time together in Boston.

“Every time I was throwing a bullpen he was out there with me, seeing what pitches I was throwing and my location,” Rodriguez said of Price. “He helped me have a lot of success last year.”

To make things even tougher on Red Sox players, they’re also dealing with the loss of manager Alex Cora, who Rodriguez said was like a father to him.

“It’s kind of hard, especially for me. He was pushing me all the time, and knew what I was able to do and showed me how to do it every day,” said Rodriguez. “That’s kind of hard to off-set; he was like a father to me.”

– Red Sox relievers were also hard at work on Monday. The Red Sox still haven’t declared a closer, though Brandon Workman is the likely front-runner after he notched 16 saves last season and went 7-for-7 in his September save opportunities.

– Sandy Leon is no longer around to back up Christian Vazquez behind the plate, but newcomer Kevin Plawecki introduced himself to his new teammates on Monday.

– Several position players have reported early as well. Outfielder Andrew Benintendi (fresh off of signing a two-year deal over the weekend), third baseman Rafael Devers, second baseman Michael Chavis and center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. already down in Fort Myers.

Chavis spoke with reporters in the afternoon, and expressed some optimism for the 2020 Boston Red Sox:

“I think we have a good team, I really do. We have a lot of good players, a lot of good guys, and as close as we are as a team, I really do think we’re going to be solid,” he said.


– And though we still don’t have an official word on who will be the next manager of the Boston Red Sox, bench coach Ron Roenicke is reportedly expected to land the gig as soon as MLB finishes up their investigation on the 2018 Red Sox. That could come within the next day or so.

Roenicke reported for duty in Fort Myers on Monday, though he wouldn’t say if he’d be getting a promotion when greeted by WBZ NewsRadio’s Jonny Miller:

The waiting game continues on that front, but there is no doubt that baseball is indeed back.

Comments

Leave a Reply