FORT MYERS, Fla. - Jonathan Papelbon made some disparaging remarks about Red Sox fans on Thursday, telling a Philadelphia radio station that Phillies fans understood baseball better. Andrew Bailey respectfully disagreed on Friday.
“Growing up a Phillies fan, they’re great, too. But so far the Nation is pretty good,’’ said Bailey, whom the Red Sox acquired to replace Papelbon as the closer. “There’s no reason to cause drama from my perspective. Your fans are the ones who go out and support you. For me, I loved them all . . . The Red Sox have a very intelligent fan base.’’
Bailey didn’t know what Papelbon had said until he was approached by reporters. He found it amusing.
“To say one fan base is better than the other, I’ve never really seen that,’’ Bailey said. “It’s definitely welcoming to be here. This fan base has been awesome.
“Papelbon’s got to do his own thing down there. He’s got to embrace that fan base. I’m thankful to be here and I’m looking forward to the opportunity . . . It’s going to be fun.’’
Of more importance to Bailey is that he is scheduled to pitch in his first game Monday. The righthander fell behind the other pitchers because of a strained muscle behind his shoulder on the second day of camp.
“I feel great and I’m anxious to get out there,’’ Bailey said. “I won’t need too many innings to get ready. But it’s nice to finally get started.’’
Carl Crawford made 35 throws from 60 feet, his first action since being shut down eight days ago because of inflammation in his surgically repaired left wrist.
“He was pain free,’’ manager Bobby Valentine reported.
The next step for Crawford would be easy swings at balls on a tee. Valentine said the training staff and coaches are working on a program to try to prevent another setback. There is little chance Crawford will be ready for Opening Day.
“Carl understands that this is like a tree, if you will, or your garden. In time, the fruit will be there. But we can’t rush the process. We can’t allow what happened last time to happen again,’’ Valentine said. “I’m making plans without him and eventually he’ll be here.’’
Scare for Morales
Lefthanded reliever Franklin Morales said he went back to Boston this week to have his heart examined after his precamp physical detected something.
“I was scared, of course, but I’m fine. The doctor said I’m fine,’’ he said.
Morales has started playing catch again and will ramp up from there. He has yet to appear in a game.
First baseman Lars Anderson, once considered a blue-chip prospect, will get some time in left field this spring.
With Adrian Gonzalez at first base, the 24-year-old Anderson has a dim future with the Red Sox, who nearly traded him to Oakland last summer. He hit .265 with Triple A Pawtucket last season with 14 home runs and 78 RBIs.
Valentine doesn’t see Anderson as being ready for the majors quite yet.
“He’s close, but he’s not there. I like what I see, I like what I hear, I like him,’’ he said.
The Red Sox signed 16 players on the 40-man roster to one-year contracts. Junichi Tazawa, whose previous deal was for three years and $3.3 million, received $920,000.
From there, the salaries were largely based on service time. Lefthander Drake Britton, third baseman Will Middlebrooks, righthander Stolmy Pimentel, and infielder Oscar Tejeda received the major league minimum of $480,000.
Andrew McCutchen was 3 for 3 with a pair of RBI doubles off the replica Green Monster as the Pirates beat the Red Sox, 7-4, Friday night at JetBlue Park.
Clay Buchholz allowed two runs on three hits over three innings. Vicente Padilla was rocked in the fifth inning, giving up four runs on five hits, three of them doubles.
David Ortiz had a solo home run off lefthander Tony Watson in the fourth inning. Mike Aviles and Cody Ross added RBI singles. Darnell McDonald homered in the seventh.
Buchholz, who threw 51 pitches, was working on his changeup.
“It felt good. That’s what I wanted to do, I wanted to go out and throw changeups behind in the count to get a feel for it,’’ he said. “It’s a pitch I feel I have to throw to complement the fastball and the other pitches that I have. It’s always been a good pitch for me.’’
Valentine suggested that the No. 5 starter, whoever that proves to be, might not be on the Opening Day roster. The Sox would not need a fifth starter until April 11 in Toronto, giving them the opportunity to carry an extra reliever for five games . . . Lefthander Andrew Miller, who was skipped Thursday because of triceps inflammation, is set to start throwing again Saturday . . . Righthander Aaron Cook, a starter candidate, is scheduled to appear in his first game Sunday. He was brought along slowly because of a shoulder injury . . . Righthander Ross Ohlendorf, slowed by a back injury, is scheduled to appear in his first game Monday . . . Doubront is the tentative starter against the Yankees in Tampa on Tuesday night . . . Minor league games will start next week and Valentine said some of the pitchers could pick up innings there . . . Valentine was asked if he was prepared to name his Opening Day starter. “I am prepared to do it,’’ he said. “But I’m not going to. I want to be last. Can I be the last one to name an Opening Day starter? I can do that, right?’’ Indications are Jon Lester will get the nod.Peter Abraham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.