FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox players who reported early to spring training had the weekend off. Mookie Betts and three teammates decided to play golf Sunday.
That’s when the story took a turn — or a tumble, to be more precise.
Betts forgot a club on a hillside on one of the holes and took a cart back to retrieve it. When Betts turned around, the cart was rolling into a pond and was soon fully submerged.
“Thought I pushed the brake; but it didn’t brake, obviously,” Betts said. “That was probably one of the more helpless feelings. But it was kind of funny, I have to admit.”
Betts and his playing partners — Travis Shaw, Deven Marrero, and Pat Light — posted photos of the mishap on Twitter and the story went national quickly.
“I did not drive into the water,” Betts clarified.
Course workers helped Betts and Light retrieve their clubs, keys, and wallets. But their phones were a loss. It was the second phone Betts has ruined in a span of a few days. He accidentally dropped the first one into some water.
“I was smart enough not be in his cart,” Marrero said.
Betts was asked how much the golf cart would cost.
“No idea,” he said. “I’m probably going to find out.”
Even president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski joked with Betts about the incident.
“Good team bonding, right?” Betts said. “It was something funny.”
For the record I didn't drive into the pond. It rolled in there. Just clearing that up— Mookie Betts (@mookiebetts) February 15, 2016
Carson Smith is 6 feet 7 inches and throws the ball with an almost sidearm motion. It’s easy to understand how the 26-year-old righthander struck out 92 batters in 70 innings for the Seattle Mariners last season and had a ground-ball rate of nearly 65 percent.
Of the 49 hits Smith allowed, only two were home runs, and the last one of those was on June 9.
Smith is a fastball/slider pitcher who has averaged a little more velocity with his slider. He sat at 92.2 miles per hour with the pitch last season and can hit 95 or 96 with it.
“It’s been helpful to have velocity and movement,” Smith said. “I don’t worry about velocity. If my ball is sinking and moving, I’m trying to get a ground ball. The fewer pitches you throw, the better.”
That the Red Sox were able to obtain Smith from Seattle was a surprise. But Seattle needed a starter and sent Smith and lefthander Roenis Elias to the Sox for lefthander Wade Miley and righthander Jonathan Aro.
“You never expect a trade,” Smith said after completing a workout at Fenway South. “I let it soak in a little bit, and once it did, I was excited to be a part of the Boston Red Sox.”
Smith is familiar with Sox pitching coach Carl Willis, who was with Seattle in 2013. They worked together a bit in spring training that season. He also has spoken to manager John Farrell a few times to get a better sense of what will be expected of him.
Smith had 13 saves last season. With the Red Sox, he’ll join Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara as set-up men.
“I’m young in my career,” Smith said. “[Closing] is not something I’m focused on.”
Approximately 30 of the 55 players are in camp, with the official report date for pitchers and catchers not until Thursday . . . Along with Smith, other newcomers Monday included Uehara, Tazawa, Xander Bogaerts, and Rusney Castillo . . . Single A second baseman Yoan Moncada is not in major league camp but took batting practice with the big leaguers. The $63 million prospect from Cuba is built like an outside linebacker but for now remains a second baseman.