BOSTON -- Jon Lester, Andrew Bailey and Kevin Youkilis are among the Red Sox's expected early arrivers in Fort Myers, Fla., and the team's Spring Training organizers have worked hard to have a plan in place once workouts begin.
A lot of camp planning falls on the manager and the bench coach, and to that end, skipper Bobby Valentine and the recently promoted Tim Bogar have been working closely. That Valentine has time to do much of anything is notable. He's constantly making public appearances -- like Wednesday night at NESN's Red Sox Town Hall event in Worcester, Mass. -- although he feels his job doesn't really begin until camp kicks off.
"[Bogar] does it, I do it. I do it, and he does it," Valentine said when asked who's organizing camp. "Bogie's been great. He's been in five times in the last 10 days. We've ironed out all the kinks of how it could be. We were on the phone with [hitting coach Dave Magadan] today to make sure the program that's being sent out to all the players is something that's palatable, and it is. [Strength and condition coach] Mike Boyle, there's a lot of new guys. It's very interesting. I've been down [in Florida] twice and I still don't have a perfect feel for the flow. It'll be a work in progress for sure."
Lester is scheduled to arrive on Sunday or Monday, Valentine said, while Bailey wrote on Twitter he is leaving for Florida on Saturday. Valentine is due to arrive Feb. 12, with general manager Ben Cherington preceding him sometime early next week. Pitchers and catchers are due to report by Feb. 19.
No matter how refined the spring plans become, there's always going to be kinks, particularly with all that's new in the system: the coaching and medical staff, the training facility in Fort Myers and so on. That's on top of the already tricky environment spring creates for evaluation.
Valentine has made it clear he's not focusing only on the Grapefruit League statistics, while Cherington named health and raw physical ability as the most reliable assessments to be made.
"You rely on your evaluators and you make sure you're not fooled by results," Valentine said. "The reason Spring Training is a bad indicator is a lot of people use the results of Spring Training as the indicator of the evaluation. That's foolish, I think."
"If a guy's healthy, that will show up in Spring Training, normally," Cherington said. "You can combine that with track record and get a pretty good sense for what a guy's capable of doing. When you're talking about a role change, such as would be the case with [Daniel] Bard or [Alfredo] Aceves, that's a little bit more involved. We've got to look at different things. We've got to look at how they're responding to different things and bouncing back in their work between outings."
Cherington reinforced how much Bard himself wants to be in the rotation, as opposed to being solely pushed by the team to start. If there is an innings limit on the 26-year-old righty, Cherington isn't making it public at the moment.
Bard threw 73 innings last season and 74 2/3 frames in 2010. Although he was a starter for a time in the Minors, Bard has never thrown more than 77 2/3 innings in pro ball, and that was in '08.
"I don't think we want to put a number on it," Cherington said. "It's certainly something we'll be aware of, but I think there's indicators that we would look at to determine when someone is kind of reaching their peak, their max, their limit. Some of it might be the raw innings number, but it's other things, too.
"Guys that really take care of themselves, are efficient, throw strikes, etc., sometimes they can throw more innings than a guy who doesn't no matter what they did before. It's certainly something we'll be aware of, if indeed there's someone in our rotation who was in the bullpen the year before."
Too few innings, meanwhile, presents a different problem on the Major League side in Spring Training, and that is a problem Valentine has expressed concern for more than once. There's too little time in Florida to see so many arms, and rainouts can further complicate things.
"That's something we've talked about and that we'll have to manage," Cherington said. "It's a challenge. There will be a way to do it, but it's a bit of a challenge. We may have to add some competition somehow through 'B' games, Minor League games, whatever. We'll see, but I'm sure there's a way to work it out to get enough innings for everyone."