FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox, a team decimated by injuries last season, saw one of their starting pitchers limp off the field only 20 minutes into their first workout of the year.
Clay Buchholz strained his right hamstring while covering first base during a spring training drill Tuesday.
It doesn’t appear to be serious. But that is often the case when it comes to hamstring injuries that keep players out for several weeks.
“It’s the best thing that it happened now and not when we’re getting ready to pitch in games,” Buchholz said. “As far as they told me, it’s mild as it can be. For how I’m looking at it, get here early and do the treatment on it and hopefully I’m back in the next four or five days.”
Manager John Farrell said Buchholz would be evaluated Wednesday and is day-to-day. He described the strain as mild.
“Time will tell how many days he misses,” Farrell said. “He’s in good shape. When he reached down for a ground ball on the move covering first base, he felt a strain. We weren’t going to take any chances at that point.”
Farrell said the strain is in the middle of the hamstring, away from the knee and buttocks.
“In terms of the placement of it, it’s probably the best that you can hope for in this situation,” said Farrell. “It’s a matter of treatment.”
Buchholz wasn’t scheduled to pitch in an exhibition game until the second week of the schedule. He doesn’t expect he will have to miss that start.
“Nah. I don’t think it’s that,” he said. “I’m able to walk around. I wasn’t able to walk the last time [he strained a hamstring] in 2010. I feel like it’s not going to take a whole lot of time.”
Napoli takes it easy until MRI
New first baseman Mike Napoli took batting practice Tuesday, but he will not do any running or work in the field until he has an MRI on his hips later this week.
“He’s still restricted from any kind of impact or pounding,” Farrell said. “Right now it’s a matter of him taking batting practice and keeping his arm in shape.”
Napoli was found to have avascular necrosis, a degenerative disorder that restricts the flow of blood into the bones. It can eventually lead to the joint being replaced.
Napoli said he has yet to show any symptoms and feels fine. He could be playing in the field this weekend or early next week.
The Red Sox initially agreed to give Napoli a three-year deal worth $39 million. That was reduced to a one-year, $5 million contract with $8 million in incentives based on playing time.
“It was definitely tough, but the Red Sox, they stuck with me,” Napoli said. “It took so long because I had to go see about my health. I had to look at my health before my professional career.”
Overbay in the outfield?
Lyle Overbay, signed to a minor league deal, is in camp trying to earn a spot as Napoli’s backup at first. The 36-year-old lefthanded hitter has talked to the Sox about playing some left field, too. “Funny, I was an outfielder in college and converted to first base,” Overbay said. “We’ve had some discussions about it.” Overbay has hit .211 with 11 home runs in 510 at-bats for the Pirates, Diamondbacks, and Braves the last two seasons. He said Arizona hitting coach Don Baylor made an adjustment in his swing that shortened it up, and he has felt better at the plate since.
Iglesias remains confident
Shortstop Jose Iglesias was surprised the Red Sox signed Stephen Drew, a move that is likely to send him back to the minors. “Out of my control,” Iglesias said. “But my confidence didn’t change. I know I can help this team. I just have to see when that is.” . . . Jason Varitek, now a special assistant to the general manager, was in uniform and working with the catchers . . . Three of the organization’s top prospects — Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley, and Deven Marrero — took batting practice together. General manager Ben Cherington and a number of other team officials were on hand to watch. Bogaerts will be here for about two weeks before joining the Dutch World Baseball Classic team for a minicamp in Arizona. Then he will travel to Taiwan for the tournament. “I have some long flights. But it’s going to be fun,” Bogaerts said. “I think I’m going to learn a lot.” Bogaerts, a shortstop, will likely play third base in the WBC, and the Red Sox will give him some work there to aid the process . . . Of the 59 players coming to camp, 53 have reported. Infielders and outfielders are not due until Thursday, when they take their physicals . . . Former Sox manager Bobby Valentine tried to educate the players last season by having the clubhouse televisions show constant highlights of basic plays being executed properly. The televisions were back on CNN and MLB Network this year.Peter Abraham can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.