FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine stands corrected on Derek Jeter's flip play from the 2001 American League Division Series against the Oakland Athletics. After conferring with Gary Tuck, his catching instructor who used to work with the Yankees, Valentine retracted his assertion that Jeter and the Yankees couldn't have practiced such a play.
In fact, Jeter and the Yankees were working on that very drill during Wednesday's workout in Tampa.
"I asked Gary Tuck," Valentine said. "He said they do practice it. Total mistake on my part that they don't practice it, that's for sure. And he said that when they practiced it, Jeter always got there late in practice. In that game, he got there on time."
Valentine wanted to make it clear he was talking about the play only in the pure context of baseball fundamentals, and he left no mystery about how he feels about Jeter.
"I love Derek Jeter," Valentine said.
As for the play itself, in which Yankees right fielder Shane Spencer airmailed two cutoff men and Jeter was on the first-base side of the pitcher's mound and flipped home to get Jeremy Giambi?
"So it's interesting," Valentine said. "As I said yesterday, the shortstop there is being aware, but it's hard to practice that, because why are we going to practice a bad throw? It's not what we're doing here, but I get it. I get it. Believe me."
Shoulder better, Kalish starts throwing program
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Throwing a baseball used to just be part of life for Red Sox outfielder Ryan Kalish. But after a 2011 filled with health woes -- some of which trickled into the offseason -- it was exciting for Kalish to be able to throw on Wednesday.
It was the first time he had done so in six or seven months, Kalish estimated.
While playing for Triple-A Pawtucket, Kalish had a severe collision in the outfield last April, and he has been recovering ever since. Finally, Kalish feels as if he's close to being a baseball player again.
"It was great. It was fun. It was something new. It's been six, seven months since I've gotten to throw a baseball," said Kalish, who had to undergo surgery for a torn labrum in his left shoulder. "It was really fun to do. It was a little shaky -- it was the first day -- but it's just the start to getting it all back. It was 20 to 30 throws at 45 feet. [It was] very simple [and] nothing crazy. It was fun though. It will be cool when I play in a game."
When will that be?
"That's what's hard to tell," Kalish said. "I would love it to be soon, but I don't think it will be that soon. Hopefully it won't be too long."
Manager Bobby Valentine seemed enthused by Kalish's progress.
"He looks pretty healthy," Valentine said. "Of course you have to see, once guys start new activities, how they feel later. But he did a workout, and then he went down and bunted with [third-base coach Tim Bogar] for a while. He was bouncing around. He's a pretty good-looking athlete. That's about where we are right now. But he's not hurt. He seems to be recovered pretty nicely -- maybe not 100 percent, but pretty nicely."
Bard, Aceves to pitch in 'B' game vs. Twins
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Red Sox will have some actual competition on Thursday, when they make the short trip to Hammond Stadium to play the Twins in a "B" game.
While the lineup will be filled by Minor Leaguers, the Red Sox will have two mainstays pitching in the game -- Alfredo Aceves and Daniel Bard. They will each work an inning.
What will manager Bobby Valentine look for from his pitchers?
"Getting through healthy, throw strikes, work on the plan that they've been planning -- that they work it in a game," said Valentine. "[I'm] probably going to see them do some of the stuff that they've seen here, probably going to have them do a pitchout once in a while and a pickoff that wouldn't normally be done.
"But you'll see them try to take what we've been doing here into a semi-competitive situation. This is like minor surgery. It's only a 'B' game for those guys who aren't playing in it, for the most part."
The Red Sox will have one more practice day on Friday and then start their game schedule Saturday with a college doubleheader against Northeastern University (2:35 p.m. ET) and Boston College (7:05 p.m. on MLB.TV).
The first Grapefruit League contest comes against the Twins on Sunday at 1:35 p.m. at JetBlue Park at Fenway South. That game will also air on MLB.TV.