ARLINGTON, Texas — Red Sox manager John Farrell took another approach to fixing his foundering team, meeting with five veteran players on Sunday morning.
Farrell provided only general details but it was learned that he met with Mike Napoli, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Hanley Ramirez, and Pablo Sandoval. No other coaches were present.
The 45-minute discussion came a day after a sloppy 8-0 loss against the Texas Rangers.
“There was a group of guys I had in to talk about a number of things,” Farrell said. “I guess the short version of it would be for us to play with some aggressiveness and some smartness inside the game situation.
“It was an opportunity to meet with our veteran group to re-emphasize the importance of the role that they provide for the younger players and how they go about and execute inside the game.”
Farrell said there was an exchange of thoughts. The Red Sox (22-28) have lost eight of 11 games and are a tremendous disappointment given the high preseason expectations.
“I guess the best way to describe it is that there was an opportunity for them to speak,” Farrell said. “I wanted to get their feedback. I wanted to give them some additional expectations that exist; some ideas that I think need to be carried out. And it was a chance to talk through those and what do we do going forward.”
Clearly part of the agenda was finding a way to get Ramirez going. The 31-year-old has played poorly in left field, the latest example coming on Saturday when he let a catchable ball fall at his feet.
“Part of the message I referred to earlier was to play aggressively, use your instincts as players have demonstrated many, many times before. And those are reminders that are clearly given. While we recognize that [Ramirez’s] transition is ongoing to the position, still there’s, I think, an instinctive aggressiveness that can continue to come along,” Farrell said.
Farrell said the focus of the meeting wasn’t on Ramirez. But clearly he expects a better effort from the players and hopes the veteran group is able to get that message across to others
“As you play the game, if you make aggressive mistakes you can live with those,” Farrell said. “That’s for all of us to subscribe to.”
Farrell has held a series of meetings with the players, both individually and as a group, over the last few weeks. But Saturday’s game — which Pedroia called “terrible” — was unsettling to him.
“You’re always looking for opportunities to identify things and make changes or adjustments as you feel is the right way to go,” the manager said. “Ultimately it comes about how we go out and play the game in a smart way. But yet not be what I thought last night was a very tentative approach to the game.”
LHP Ross optioned
The Red Sox optioned lefthander Robbie Ross Jr. to Triple A Pawtucket and replaced him on the roster with utility player Jeff Bianchi. The Sox designated Bianchi for assignment on Thursday and he declared free agency after being outrighted to Pawtucket. Bianchi stayed in Texas, knowing he could be needed again.
Follow Peter Abraham on Twitter @PeteAbe.