FORT MYERS, Fla. -- General manager Theo Epstein knows full well that the dramatic moves he made over the winter have made his team a potential juggernaut in the minds of many pundits. Optimism is filling the clubhouse as well, as Josh Beckett said earlier this week that the 2011 Red Sox have the capability of winning 100 games.
But from where Epstein sits, the hype means very little.
"I think it's nice that those players feel good about themselves and their teammates and what they have here, but let's be honest, we haven't done anything yet," Epstein said. "All we have is a bunch of guys in this clubhouse here to try to set out and do a job. We've got a lot to prove."
"We've got to prove that we're not a third-place team in this division. We've got to prove that we can stay healthy," Epstein said. "We've got to prove that we can repeat performances -- what guys have done in the past, they can do it again in 2011 or improve upon those performances. We've got to prove we can come together as a team. We don't have win No. 1 yet. We have a lot to prove, and the work is just starting."
Still, Epstein is glad to hear players like Beckett feel so optimistic about the team.
"I like that these guys feel good about themselves, their teammates and our chances," Epstein said. "I don't think they're getting ahead of themselves, because they know how much work they need to do."
Adrian could start swinging bat next week
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Adrian Gonzalez has been bat-less during the early days of Spring Training, but when he has a consultation on his surgically-repaired right shoulder next week, the lefty slugger hopes he'll get clearance to start swinging again.
"He's going to have a checkup in about a week here to get the go-ahead to start swinging the bat," said general manager Theo Epstein. "It would be about a week ahead of the initial timeframe."
That would be great news for the star slugger, who is eager to start fine-turning his stroke for his new team.
"I'm looking forward to that day -- counting the days down," Gonzalez said. "Hopefully once the doctor sees me, he clears me and I can start swinging that day or the following day."
What has it been like for Gonzalez going through all the daily drills at Spring Training but being unable to participate in batting practice?
"It's different," Gonzalez said, "but I'm definitely in no rush. I want to get swinging already, but it's a process, and you don't want to get too ahead of anything. It's good for me to just be able to hang out and talk to the guys and get to know the guys' swings and take a step back and watch everybody else."
The good news is that Gonzalez doesn't think the later start with batting practice will have any impact on his season.
"There's zero discomfort, there's zero limitations," Gonzalez said. "I'm exactly where I need to be at this point, post surgery. Everything is going as planned, and it feels great. I know I could swing today if I wanted to, but there's no rush."
Crawford makes debut at Red Sox's camp
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- After years of competing against him, it was somewhat surreal for the Red Sox to see Carl Crawford put on his Boston uniform for the first time on Thursday.
Crawford spent a lot of time chatting up David Ortiz and other Red Sox veterans during batting practice.
"It's a nice feeling," said manager Terry Francona. "I hated him in that other uniform. It's amazing how you can hate somebody in one uniform and love them in another."
The speedy left fielder will have a news conference on Friday, after the position players undergo physicals.
"You know what he brings to the table," said outfielder Mike Cameron. "He just adds another element to this ballclub. He's able to do everything. When you have those kinds of players that are able to do anything, that makes the game more worthwhile, because there's not one way the guy can't beat you."