FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Red Sox outfielder Ryan Sweeney is day to day with a left quad strain, while shortstop Jose Iglesias may be able to play Friday after dealing with a strained right groin.
Sweeney hasn't played since leaving early from Monday's 5-3 win over the Marlins. Iglesias was scratched from a "B" game Sunday morning because of his strained groin, which had been nagging him for almost a week.
"[We will] just kind of see how it goes," Sweeney said Thursday morning. "I think tomorrow I'll probably start hitting again, and then as far as a timetable for running, I don't know. [We will] just kind of see how it is and kind of get that muscle spasm out of there, stuff like that."
Sweeney said his legs were sore for a couple of days before Monday, and he first felt a spasm in the field and then a twinge on a check swing. Sweeney didn't try to take himself out of the game, but he did tell the team he wouldn't be able to run well, and the Sox pulled him out of the game.
"Iglesias probably could have played today. Sweeney couldn't. Sweeney thinks he's probably another day away," manager Bobby Valentine said. "Iglesias, we were here [at the training complex during Wednesday's off-day], [and] he felt good yesterday. I told him we were going to give him one more day, just to be sure."
Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia was not in Thursday's lineup at home against the Cardinals because he has "a little hip situation," Valentine said, and he wanted to rest Saltalamacchia ahead of Saturday's split-squad action. Half of the team will travel to Sarasota, Fla., to play the Orioles, while the other half will remain at JetBlue Park to face the Marlins.
Valentine isn't pleased Boston plays at home Friday night and then has two games Saturday.
"It's cruel and unjust punishment, but we had an off-day yesterday, so we'll be ready," said Valentine. "With that, [Saltalamacchia is] probably going to have to play two days in a row somehow, so we're resting him today."
Youk looks for old stance to improve timing
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The feet won't be as close together, the bat won't be wrapped around quite as much.Kevin Youkilis has returned to an older batting stance, the one he used in 2008, hitting coach Dave Magadan said. Spring performances are always to be evaluated cautiously, particularly with veterans, but Youkilis' timing has been off this Grapefruit League season, and part of that could be an adjustment period to the revised stance. "Well, you know, the last couple years his feet were pretty close together and his bat was really ..." Magadan said as he gestured up toward his head with his hands to show Youkilis' signature high position. "So we've tried to kind of calm that down a little bit, get his bat a little closer to where he wants to be, and spread him out just a little bit. So he gets ready sooner and it allows him to stay inside the ball and keep the ball fair." Youkilis first tried to implement the change at the end of last season, but he didn't take to it right away, then practiced hard this winter to make it second nature. "He tried it a little bit last year, was uncomfortable with it towards the end of the year and then really worked on it in the offseason," Magadan said. "So it's just a matter of getting the comfortable level with it and getting the time of it. He's getting better and better every day." Youkilis is batting .143 this spring and went 0-for-2 with a walk and a strikeout Thursday in a 9-6 loss to the Cardinals. He said he was not concerned with his performance. "No. Just putting together good at-bats and I think just trying to get your timing down," Youkilis said. "The great thing about Spring Training is they don't count and your baseball card doesn't show it. ... I think the big thing is just getting out of Spring Training healthy." Youkilis batted leadoff on Thursday, but manager Bobby Valentine said that was an unlikely usage during the season. Valentine said he put Youkilis there to get him quicker at-bats.
Valentine: Crawford to start hitting soon
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- In his Thursday morning meeting with reporters, manager Bobby Valentine said Carl Crawford was going to start hitting in the next day or two, before saying later in the session that Crawford would start hitting only soon.
"I don't know when that is," Valentine said. "Soon."
After undergoing offseason left wrist surgery and then developing an inflammation during Spring Training, it's highly unlikely Boston's left fielder will be ready for Opening Day. Valentine said he did not have a timetable for Crawford to play in any Grapefruit League games.
"I'm sorry, I wish I could give you that one," Valentine said, "but [in] talking with Carl, the work that's gone unnoticed I think is going to pay dividends. He's been religious and conscientious about standing over there when pitchers are throwing balls that he has taken it upon himself to find a pitcher every time he's thrown, stand there and see it, I think is going to speed up his timing process, which is that thing you're asking about."
Valentine characterized Crawford as someone who could not jump into game action from spring without a hearty amount of reps and preparation, as some players have an ability to do.
"Just from the information I gathered, I don't think that he's a less reps guy," said Valentine.
Boston getting ready to make first wave of cuts
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Cubs reduced their roster size five days ago, and the Mariners made a few moves the day before that. Around the league, trims have been more commonplace the past two days, and they're coming soon for the Red Sox.
"I think we'll make a cut soon so we'll have less numbers to deal with," manager Bobby Valentine said Thursday morning. "Everybody who we wanted to be on schedule within their individual program seems to be on schedule."
The Red Sox have 64 players on their roster for big league camp. Asked about decisions looming in the bullpen and the rotation, Valentine didn't detail any of the competitions, but said he expects to have his fourth and fifth starters settled after those in competition get two more turns in the rotation.
"I'm trying to see what it looks like and keep as open mind as possible in making those decisions," Valentine said. "How long will it play out? The games and the innings will dictate that, but it's not now, that's for sure. I'd say there's a date over there, probably two rounds from now, that it will be relatively settled."
Sox get Kurcz to complete Theo compensation
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Red Sox acquired right-hander Aaron Kurcz on Thursday as the player to player to be named later to complete their compensation for Theo Epstein, who became president of the Cubs during the offseason.
Another pitcher, Chris Carpenter, was already sent to the Red Sox as compensation for Epstein's departure from the Sox's organization.
A 10th-round pick in 2010, Kurcz was one of nine players to be drafted that year out of the College of Southern Nevada, the most noteworthy one being No. 1 overall pick Bryce Harper.
Kurcz is an undersized righty (5-foot-11) who's athleticism works very well for him on the mound. He's pitched well in his brief professional career, with a 2.98 ERA and an 11.4 K/9 ratio. He's both started and relieved so far, making 12 starts and 20 relief appearances in the Class A Advanced Florida State League in 2011.
His stuff and performance ticked up in the bullpen. He was throwing his fastball 91-95 mph late last season as a reliever and was touching 96 mph in Minor League camp this spring with the Cubs. He has a solid feel for a slider and changeup as well. Kurcz gets high marks for his makeup, a big reason why the Cubs likely felt comfortable with sending him to the Florida State League at age 20. His size and stuff may make more sense coming out of the bullpen long term, but the Red Sox will wait until they get him in their Minor League camp before determining his role this year.
-- Jonathan Mayo