PROVIDENCE — Red Sox manager John Farrell is going to get a firsthand look at some of his pitchers in the next few days.
Farrell will meet with righthander John Lackey in Dallas Friday before traveling to the team complex in Fort Myers, Fla., to sit down with Felix Doubront and Franklin Morales. The two lefthanders from Venezuela arrived a few days ago.
On Sunday, Farrell and pitching coach Juan Nieves will be in Mississippi to watch Daniel Bard throw off a mound.
Farrell will then return to Boston for three days of organizational meetings.
“It’s a continuation of reconnecting with a number of guys either in person or over the phone,” Farrell said. “Getting in front of guys, I thought, was important this year.”
Lackey, who missed last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, is expected to take a spot in the rotation.
Doubront returns to the rotation after going 11-10 with a 4.86 earned run average in 29 starts last season.
Morales split time as a reliever and a starter. He will work as a starter in spring training in case a need arises.
Bard is the most intriguing of the group. The righthander, once a dominant late-inning reliever, lost his command and velocity after being converted into a starter last season. He is returning to the bullpen.
Farrell has been speaking with Bard regularly over the winter. There are changes, physical and mental, in the works.
“The most encouraging thing in a situation like this is he’s aware of the changes that have taken place,” Farrell said. “Unwinding those changes and getting him back to the basics and what he was doing previously and the strengths that he has, he has a clear view of where that needs to settle in from.”
Farrell said Bard tried to be “too fine” as a starter and lost the aggressive approach that once defined him. Over the winter, Farrell has noticed Bard becoming more confident.
“As he’s picked up a ball and gotten back into the throwing program, he’s felt some things naturally come back, particularly his arm slot,” Farrell said. “I’m not going to say time cures all. We’re not going to put his challenges aside and pretend they didn’t happen.
“But as he’s gotten further away from it, he’s had a fresh outlook. The workouts he’s done through this offseason have been very consistent and strong.”
Bard will throw off a mound for the first time this offseason Sunday.
Farrell recently spent time with Jacoby Ellsbury, Jonny Gomes, Daniel Nava, and Dustin Pedroia in Arizona.
The Sox signed the first of their nine arbitration-eligible players, as catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia received one year and $4.5 million.
Saltalamacchia, 27, hit .222 with 25 home runs and 59 RBIs last season. He led the Red Sox in home runs, the first catcher to do so since Carlton Fisk had 26 in 1977.
There were no discussions beyond a one-year deal. Saltalamacchia will be eligible for free agency after the coming season.
The Sox will exchange figures with their unsigned players Friday. If deals cannot be reached, hearings start Feb. 1 in Phoenix.
Cherington said the team wants to sign more players before figures are exchanged.
“We’ve been working all week,” said the GM. “We’ll work tonight and tomorrow and see if we can settle some more.”
The Red Sox have not gone to an arbitration hearing with a player since 2002, when they could not settle with righthander Rolando Arrojo.
“Every year we’re focused on trying to settle and trying to find a fair number,” said Cherington. “But we have to be prepared for [a hearing]. Right now we’re focused on trying to see what we can do.”
Victorino in WBC
Outfielder Shane Victorino is the only Red Sox player on the provisional World Baseball Classic roster for Team USA. Victorino projects as a backup to Ryan Braun, Adam Jones, and Giancarlo Stanton.
Victorino hit .316 over eight games for the US in the 2009 WBC. Pedroia played in the 2009 Classic but was held back this season because of injury concerns.
Only three other Sox players were selected for the WBC: righthander Alfredo Aceves (Mexico), shortstop Xander Bogaerts (Netherlands), and righthander Jose De La Torre (Puerto Rico).
Cherington said the experience should be a good one for the 20-year-old Bogaerts. With shortstops Andrelton Simmons and Jurickson Profar on the Dutch roster, Bogaerts will likely change positions.
“I wouldn’t expect him to put on the catcher’s gear or anything like that,” Cherington said.
The Red Sox Town Hall, taped Thursday at La Salle Academy, will air on NESN Saturday at 11 p.m. During the show, Farrell said he anticipates hitting Victorino second against lefties, Pedroia second against righties . . . Third baseman Will Middlebrooks will appear at the Red Sox Kid Nation Winterfest at Fenway Park Jan. 26. The events runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is open to all.