FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Prospect Lars Anderson thinks he has neared the end of the development phase in his career, but the problem is that there's no spot for him on the Red Sox's roster. Adrian Gonzalez is the first baseman and David Ortiz is the designated hitter.
That's why it was interesting to hear manager Bobby Valentine say that Anderson will spend some time working in the outfield during Spring Training.
Because of Anderson's lack of experience in the outfield, it seems doubtful he would play any Grapefruit League games out there this spring. But perhaps it could broaden his viability down the road.
"I agree totally with him when I talk with him and he says that he's in a developing stage of his career, but he's up toward the height of his development where he feels he's ready to take some really important steps," Valentine said. "That wouldn't be in my mind at the big league level. Those steps would be getting to the big league level. He's close, but he's not there. I like what I see and I like what I hear. I like him."
Bailey to make Red Sox debut Monday
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Closer Andrew Bailey will pitch for the first time in a Red Sox uniform in Monday afternoon's 1:35 p.m. ET home game, which will air on MLB.TV, against the Miami Marlins. The righty, who faced hitters in batting practice on Friday, had been sidelined by a minor lat injury, but he is now good to go.
"It's Spring Training," said Bailey. "You've got to get out there and get your work in. This went a little longer than I wanted, but I'm looking forward to it."
Because Bailey has had durability issues in the past, the Red Sox have set out a conservative schedule for him during Grapefruit League action. He will only pitch seven innings before Opening Day.
"I think it's really important that Andrew spends the time getting comfortable with this group, and them getting comfortable with him a lot more than me seeing him perform," said manager Bobby Valentine. "Yeah, he's going to have to have a little success down here. Everyone needs it."
Bailey is replacing a four-time All-Star in Jonathan Papelbon. While the Red Sox hope Bailey will put up similar numbers, it's doubtful he will have the same penchant for controversial quotes as his predecessor.
In an interview with a Philadelphia radio station earlier this week, Papelbon opined that Phillies fans "tend to know the game a little better" than Red Sox fans.
Though Bailey is coming from the Oakland Athletics, he grew up in New Jersey as a die-hard Philly sports fan.
"From what I've experienced so far, Boston fans are great," Bailey said. "I've never played in Philly, so I don't know what those fans are like. But for me growing up there, growing up a Phillies fan, they're great, too. But so far the Nation is pretty good."
Bailey didn't feel like making a comparison, a la Papelbon.
"To say one fan base is better than the other, I've never really seen that, but it's definitely welcome to be here," Bailey said. "This fan base has been awesome."
Padilla struggles in second relief appearance
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- If Vicente Padilla is successful in his quest to win a pitching spot with the Red Sox, he probably won't look back at Friday's outing against the Pirates as a reason.
The righty gave up five hits and four runs over two innings in Boston's 7-4 loss. Padilla wasn't nearly as sharp as his previous outing four days earlier.
"You know, he had that 0-2 count, the 1-2 count and he wasn't executing two strike pitches," said manager Bobby Valentine. "I think it was the first time that Kelly [Shoppach] was catching him, and I think there was a little quandary where to go when he got ahead of a couple of those hitters."
For whatever reason, Padilla didn't have the same command of his pitches as in other outings during camp.
"I don't know that, for my money, his arm speed was what it was last time or the last couple of times," Valentine said. "It was pretty good. His location was decent. He was executing early. He just didn't execute late, from what I saw. I know he had the slow curveball the one time and he went to throw the cutter away, and it looked like the ball was on the plate."
Padilla is one of several pitchers competing for the final spot in the rotation, but he's versatile enough to pitch in the bullpen, too.
Crawford ramping back up, starts throwing
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Earlier this week, Red Sox left fielder Carl Crawford was told to curtail hitting or throwing for a few days due to some inflammation in his surgically repaired left wrist. On Friday, Crawford was cleared to start throwing again.
"Next is going to be some light swinging -- in the cage, off the tee, in a controlled environment," said manager Bobby Valentine. "I asked about him running the bases, and the time is not for that yet."
When camp started, Crawford thought he might be able to return by Opening Day. But once the inflammation occurred, it became almost a foregone conclusion that Crawford will start the season on the disabled list.
"I never try to have the calendar dictate the health of a player," Valentine said. "I think Carl understands that this is like a tree -- if you will, or your garden. In time, the fruit will be there. We can't rush the process. You can't allow what happened last time to happen again by letting the calendar dictate the healing process.
"It takes time. When we allow him that time, I think he's going to be healed physically so that he can play without pain, without cause of concern. I don't know when that is. I'm not planning on him [for Opening Day]."
Valentine said he is comfortable with his depth in the outfield. Ryan Sweeney, Cody Ross and Darnell McDonald will all be asked to fill in during Crawford's absence.
"Yeah, if everyone is able to perform like I'm hoping they're able to perform, and again, I haven't seen a whole lot of it," Valentine said. "We're up to 16 at-bats per outfielder. They're all rusty at-bats. We'll see. You build on those 16, get up to 35, then you start to see what you really have after about 30, 35 at-bats."
McDonald makes loud impression on Valentine
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Darnell McDonald waited around for the first six innings of Friday night's game against the Pirates and was starting to get a little antsy.
Manager Bobby Valentine found an opening in the seventh inning and gave McDonald some encouragement.
"I said, 'You're going to get two at-bats, not one. Make the best of them.' Geez, he sure did," Valentine said after the Red Sox's 7-4 loss.
In the bottom of the seventh, McDonald walloped a towering homer over the Green Monster. In the eighth, he ripped a double to left-center.
"Those were two loud sounds," Valentine said. "It shouldn't go unnoticed. He's a guy that, at times, is going to come off the bench. He's a guy who's fighting for a job. Thus far this spring, he's made the best of his opportunities to play good baseball."
Miller back on track after elbow stiffness
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Given that he's very much in the mix for either a rotation or bullpen spot, the last thing Red Sox Andrew Miller needed was an injury setback. That's why the left-hander is relieved that his recent bout with elbow stiffness turned out to be as minor as he thought.
Miller will get back on a throwing program Saturday, and he could pitch in a game within a few days.
He is glad that the club took a conservative approach.
"I'd rather miss three days here than three weeks or whatever later on," said Miller. "I think it's early enough that I don't think I'll really be that far behind. It's such a short time frame. Maybe it's a good thing. [I] Get a chance to recharge everything."