FORT MYERS, Fla. — For the first time since winning the World Series, the Red Sox will gather as a group on Thursday morning before the first full-squad workout of spring training.
There will be a few speeches and some reminders about rules and procedures. But for manager John Farrell, it presents an opportunity to make a critical first impression on this particular team.
“It is a chance to outline the expectations that we’ll set forth in this camp,” Farrell said Wednesday. “It gives us a platform to work from and begin the season. You get one first day with them and I think it’s important to emphasize the core things we value and the things we brought to life last year.
“The bottom line is to skip no steps along the way and that means the first-day message. I don’t think we want to take anything for granted.”
Farrell feels it will take 35-40 games to get a true feel for how players fit in certain roles.
“How [will] we respond to challenge in that first set of games?” Farrell said. “But what can’t be taken away is this is a high number of players that return and there was a very strong character that was formed last year. We were relentless in everything we set out to do. That will be the situation again, I’m confident.”
The veteran players have started to spread Farrell’s message, a process that started via text messages in recent weeks.
Dustin Pedroia, David Ross, and other returnees have been quick to squash talk of last season and turn the focus to the coming season.
“I think to a greater extent it’s a reflection of the selection of people that were brought in here,” Farrell said. “Regardless of the outcome, they’re the same people and driven by the same pride and motivation and collectively they’re not going to let anybody think it’s going to automatically happen.”
Farrell has said he likes the idea of Shane Victorino batting leadoff and could work Daniel Nava into the mix, too.
A third candidate entered the ring on Wednesday when Jonny Gomes was mentioned.
Gomes has hit leadoff only twice in his career, both games coming in 2007. But he has a .360 on-base percentage the last two years.
“I don’t want to, again, eliminate anybody who might give us on-base ability in that leadoff spot,” Farrell said. “Could there be a particular pitcher we face or a day that Shane needs a day down and we find that Daniel has settled into another spot? Jonny is another potential for the leadoff spot.”
A bling thing
The players have been getting fitted for their World Series rings in recent days . . . Fox Sports reported the Red Sox could have interest in 35-year-old lefthander Chris Capuano, a native of Springfield, Mass. Capuano would provide some veteran depth after the departure of Ryan Dempster. But Farrell said he is comfortable with the young starters in camp. “I like the group that’s here right now,” Farrell said. “We also recognize that where we start the beginning of the year isn’t always where we end up. There’s no shortage of talent. I don’t think we’re in a dire need to add veteran presence.” . . . A.J. Pierzynski is renting a home here with Twins minor league manager Doug Mientkiewicz, the former Red Sox first baseman. The two came up together in the Twins’ system . . . Before he sat down with reporters, David Ortiz grabbed a chair on one of the practice fields and spoke informally with a group of reporters. Some subjects that came up was his friendship with Bruins forward Shawn Thornton and how much he enjoys watching NBA games.