Cameron eager to make Red Sox debut
Outfielder having fun amid pressure and expectations
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- It is just the exhibition season, and Mike Cameron has played through a lot of those. But at the age of 37, he still has that same zest to get things going again.
So after watching his teammates play for the past two days, Cameron -- who has been slowed by minor tightness in his left groin -- will enthusiastically jump into the fray on Friday afternoon and make his debut in a Red Sox uniform.
Cameron, one of the key additions made by the Red Sox this offseason, will be in center field and wearing No. 23 when his team makes the seven-mile bus ride to Hammond Stadium to play the Twins.
"Yeah, it's always good to get a chance to go out there," said Cameron. "It was pretty cool [the last two days] just to see the guys run out there. It will be even better when I get a chance to go out there and run around and try to get a couple of hits and make a couple of plays and score a couple of runs and try to get out of there healthy."
Cameron will be joined by J.D. Drew, who will serve as the designated hitter in his Grapefruit League debut, and Victor Martinez as members of manager Terry Francona's starting nine. Top shortstop prospect Jose Iglesias is also on the traveling squad.
Lefty Jon Lester will get the start and be piggybacked out of the bullpen by venerable knuckleballer Tim Wakefield, who will be pitching in a game for the first time since undergoing back surgery in October.
For Cameron, a veteran who has played 1,829 games in the Majors, it will be a treat to play behind those two well-respected pitchers.
"I only saw Lester on TV," said Cameron. "I haven't really seen him pitch up close. It will be a first to try to get to see them, not only when I'm playing the game and they're pitching but to just kind of watch and see what they do, you know? I'll try to get a feel for every guy that's on the mound. Obviously, they're only throwing one inning or maybe two, but for the most part, it's just a chance to go out and get my eyes and ears and my body opened up, just so I can get a grasp for what's going on."
2010 Spring Training - Boston Red Sox
News & Features
- Ortiz, Drew move closer to joining active roster
- Worth noting
- Farrell has 'successful' first camp as Sox manager
- Red Sox lineup may be altered on daily basis
- Doubront, Red Sox close spring slate on high note
Sights & Sounds
Spring Training Info
Jacoby Ellsbury, the speedster who is moving to left field this season to make way for Cameron, has enjoyed interacting with his new teammate.
"He has a lot of energy," Ellsbury said. "He's going to be fun to play with this year. I think the biggest thing with Cam is he just enjoys being around the guys, being around the clubhouse. He looks like he's having a fun time."
When there is baseball to talk about or play, Cameron is pretty much always going to be having fun. He has made that clear in the brief time he's been with the Sox.
Cameron, who signed a two-year, $15.5 million pact in December, gets almost incredulous when asked if he is ready for the pressure and expectations that come with playing for the Red Sox.
"Most definitely -- otherwise I wouldn't have showed up here," he said. "The expectations are always high. You're a team with really good players and a team that has won two of the last six World Series. Expectations are always going to be high. And the team that's in this room now is very good, so that's what the expectancy level of it is, and that's what I'm looking forward to -- to take part in it."
Cameron will help by providing some power from the right side and, of course, his defense in center. But it already seems apparent that he will become a very positive clubhouse presence. Just ask utility man Bill Hall, who played with Cameron the past couple of years in Milwaukee.
"He's my best teammate of all time," said Hall. "I was only with him for two years, but what he brings to the clubhouse, what he does on a daily basis, he's the same guy every day. He's going to be fun to watch."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.