FORT MYERS, Fla. — Red Sox manager John Farrell was gushing Saturday over the camp that Grady Sizemore has had, and he’s looking forward to what’s ahead for Sizemore.
“Given what we’re seeing right now we’re looking forward to it [seeing him in games],” Farrell said. “But we’re going to have to temper that. His [injury] history is well-documented. He feels great, and two days ago he had a phenomenal day out there. He was running the bases full speed, his defensive work was at full speed, handling live pitching well.
“Everything has been very good. But we’re either going to have to temper our enthusiasm or really how much we push him as he gets into game shape.”
Farrell said Sizemore has bounced back from tough workouts, a sign that he’s responding so far. “After the workout a couple of days ago he had a little soreness, but that next day he felt great,” Farrell said. “No need for different treatment or any concerns. So far, so good.”
Sizemore likely will be moved around to all three outfield positions once the exhibition games begin. The Sox are curious to see how his knees and legs respond to the physical pounding of games.
Players took the field much later than usual, about 10:45 a.m., the result of the Major League Players Association giving its annual address. Former Red Sox first baseman Tony Clark has taken over as executive director from Michael Weiner, who lost his battle with brain cancer Nov. 21.
Clark spoke about a variety of issues. One at the forefront is the chance of reopening the talk on free agent compensation, which has affected a few players who have not yet signed because teams are unwilling to part with draft picks, particularly first-rounders. That has subsided a bit the past few days, however, as the Orioles signed both Ubaldo Jimenez, who required compensation, and outfielder Nelson Cruz, who did not.
“We weren’t exactly sure what was happening in the first year,” Clark said. “We have a better understanding of what’s happening this year. The value clubs are putting on those draft picks are definitely the issue and we have to explore how we can ensure that teams can complete their teams with very qualified players without worrying about the draft picks.”
Clark said there’s a legal procedure necessary to reopen the basic agreement.
Another major issue is the new catcher collision rule. There’s growing thought among baseball people that protecting catchers may put the base runner at risk.
“The home plate collision, it’s more than just catchers involved,” Clark said. “We’ve got to be very careful that we’re not affecting the integrity of the game itself. We want to make sure runners and catchers are protected. But we need to crawl before we can walk here. We’re all for the catcher and runner being protected, but in a way that the game isn’t radically changed.”
Hall of Famer Dave Winfield and former NESN analyst and Red Sox psychologist Bob Tewksbury were present as part of Clark’s team, and former major leaguers Bobby Bonilla and Jose Cruz Jr. also were on hand.
Will Middlebrooks and Craig Breslow are the Sox’ player reps, but that could change when a formal vote is held soon.
Farrell also likes what he’s seen from lefthanded reliever Andrew Miller, who threw an impressive batting practice. “We’re looking for him to be a mainstay in our bullpen,” Farrell said. “Losing him last year was a big blow to our bullpen. His ability to get both righthanders and lefthanders was huge for us.” . . . Daniel Nava has had a stiff neck and has missed the last two days of workouts, but he has been on the field as an observer. Nava said he slept the wrong way and hurt his neck . . . The Red Sox held an open house at JetBlue Park, with fans able to roam the field, participate in on-field games, and eat dollar hot dogs. Attendance was 4,262, a record for a workout at Fenway South . . . Francisco Cordero threw hard but was a little erratic while pitching BP. Tommy Layne and Brayan Villarreal also threw . . . Bench coach Torey Lovullo led bunt drills with Dustin Pedroia, Sizemore, Xander Bogaerts, and Mike Napoli . . . Jake Peavy threw a bullpen, with no ill effects from the irritation he had in his right ring finger after being struck by a ball.