3/22/2013 6:00 P.M. ET
Overbay on bubble for spot on Red Sox bench
By Ian Browne / MLB.com
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Veteran first baseman Lyle Overbay should know by Tuesday if he's going to break camp with the Red Sox. That is the day he can opt out of his contract.
Overbay has pretty much been as advertised during Spring Training, providing professional at-bats, strong defense and a steady demeanor.
But the Red Sox have several people on the bubble for bench spots.
In Friday's road game with the Blue Jays, Overbay started at first base.
"He's done well," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "We're going to take every day available to us to make the decisions how our bench is going to round out. But he's a proven big leaguer and a dependable Major League player."
The one thing that still stands out about Overbay is his defense. But Daniel Nava and Mike Carp are other players who could play first base off the bench.
"You look at every player's strengths and you try to match them up, either in combination with others or, in [Lyle's] case, a veteran presence who has been in that role the last couple of years coming off the bench so he's accustomed to it," Farrell said. "But ultimately how that group on our bench complements one another is where things will settle."
Aceves' effort against Toronto has dominant feel
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Friday was one of those dog days of Spring Training for Alfredo Aceves. His arm felt sluggish. He didn't feel like the ball had a lot of life coming out of his hands.
"Not good," Aceves said. "I was kind of sore because of Spring Training. I've been throwing a lot. Thank God, I got an opportunity to get through the game."
Sometimes the way a pitcher feels does not translate into the way he pitches. Aceves was on the good side of this equation against the Blue Jays.
The righty fired five scoreless innings, allowing two hits. Aceves walked two and struck out five.
"It all depends. Everything is involved. Good plays -- double plays," Aceves said.
If Aceves can return to what he was in 2011 (10-2, 2.61 ERA, 114 innings) the Red Sox would have one of the best swingmen in baseball.
"It's too far to think like that. At least not the same like last year," Aceves said. "I try to do less bad things. Then at the end of the day, God is going to give us the result."
Perhaps the reason Aceves struggled last year is because he spent most of the season in one role -- as a closer.
The beauty of Aceves is his ability to adapt on the fly, and pitch in every conceivable role on the staff. That's what he did in '11.
"His versatility, his durability, is invaluable," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "He's a guy that if he doesn't start for a while, you can call on him and he can give you four or five innings without being in a regular rotation. And today, he shows the ability, like I said, to use his offspeed pitches behind in the count against some power lineups. He did a good job."
Though the Red Sox have stretched out Aceves this spring, he will open the season in the bullpen.
Drew ready to move past concussion symptoms
DUNEDIN, Fla -- Red Sox shortstop Stephen Drew isn't sure when he will play baseball again, but he's pleased that his concussion symptoms have decreased enough that he can start getting back into game shape.
And after his exhaustive tests at the University of Pittsburgh with a concussion specialist, Drew is also confident that the ordeal will soon be in the past.
"I never knew what a concussion really was," Drew said on Friday morning from Fort Myers, Fla. "Going through it now, it's no fun. You're kind of in limbo out there because you can't really do anything to try to make it better. It just takes time."
Thanks to his visit to Pittsburgh, Drew now has a better idea of his recovery plan.
"There are things I can do now with training my eyes just to get everything coordinated back to hopefully sooner than later. At the start, it was a lot of dizziness and unbalanced feeling, very tired," Drew said. "Going through that and where I'm at now, the tiredness is going. Now it's just getting everything back in sync. Still, the symptoms are there a little. I'm just trying to knock that out as quick as possible."
For Drew, it's a pointless exercise to guess when he might play again. He sustained his concussion on March 7.
"I don't even know. I wish I could tell you," Drew said. "From two weeks ago, it's a lot better than it was. It's good. It's reassuring that it's healing up. Hopefully, like I said, these symptoms go away sooner than later."
Though there's been no official proclamation as of yet that Drew will open the season on the disabled list, it's all but inevitable. Due to the fact he had a concussion, Drew can go on the seven-day disabled list instead of 15 days.
"Right now, I'm thinking about getting back into baseball form and feeling normal every day," Drew said. "I feel a lot better. There's times that it is gone away and it kind of shows up again. You're like, 'Is this all gone?' And no matter what, it doesn't matter what I do, there's symptoms still there. It's just a healing process. It's healed up a lot more over the past two weeks than what I thought it would do, which is good. That's a positive about it."
Farrell isn't planning on personal catchers
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- At least at the start of the season, Red Sox manager John Farrell doesn't plan on pairing any of his pitchers with personal catchers. Loosely, Jarrod Saltalamacchia is Boston's starting catcher and David Ross is the backup.
However, Ross figures to see more action than most backups.
"You know, with David here, it's more [a case where he's] getting used to the guys he's going to handle," Farrell said. "We haven't identified a tandem that we'll look to maintain through the rotation. He's not going to handle one guy every time out."
When Josh Beckett pitched for the Red Sox, he worked almost exclusively to Jason Varitek. Ditto for Tim Wakefield and Doug Mirabelli for a few years.
"You know, I think there's a place for those [situations]," Farrell said. "They work well because your lead catcher is going to have a planned down day. They can work towards it with their other routine they keep up on. At the same time, we're not looking to say that David has one or two guys specifically in our rotation."