Red Sox pitchers and catchers are due to report for spring training on Feb. 18, but a few players have decided to get an early start.
Globe reporter/photographer Stan Grossfeld recently spent some time at the Red Sox’ Fenway South complex in Fort Myers, Fla., and observed catcher Christian Vazquez, infielder Yoan Moncada, and pitcher Matt Barnes working out ahead of the 2016 season. Not even a tornado warning slowed them down as they practiced.
Moncada signed a $31.5 million signing bonus with the Red Sox before the 2015 season. He struggled at times at Single A, committing 23 errors at second base. Considering that Dustin Pedroia is entrenched at second in Boston, it’s possible that the Red Sox could move Moncada to third base or the outfield.
Vazquez continues to make his way back after missing the 2015 season following Tommy John surgery. He played for three teams this winter in Puerto Rico for a total of 33 games and had 133 plate appearances, all as a designated hitter. He has been working to build up his arm strength, and will begin to throw to bases once spring training starts.
Former Red Sox catcher Rich Gedman is also in Fort Myers. He will be returning to the Pawtucket Red Sox for his second season as hitting coach.
Barnes has struggled on the major league level, but the righty could contend for a roster spot in the bullpen. The Red Sox initially developed Barnes to be a starter, but he finished strong in a September stint as a reliever.
Players have not been the only early arrivals in Fort Myers. Red Sox Truck Day is Feb. 10, but some of the equipment has already arrived in Florida.
With New England in the midst of a cold stretch, and a potential snowstorm heading to the area this weekend, an early start at Fort Myers doesn’t seem like a bad idea.
Meanwhile, work continues to make sure Fenway South is ready when all the Red Sox arrive.
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