3/25/2013 5:40 P.M. ET
Regulars get payoff for taking impromptu road trip
By Ian Browne / MLB.com
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Mike Napoli, Jonny Gomes, Shane Victorino and Will Middlebrooks were not on the original travel list for Monday's game against the Orioles. They were supposed to get their at-bats in a Minor League game back in Fort Myers.
But with Opening Day a week away, they told manager John Farrell they'd rather face Major League competition.
It turned out to be a good decision. Middlebrooks went 3-for-4. Gomes was 2-for-3 with a home run. And Napoli served as the DH, going 2-for-3 with a double. Victorino went 0-for-4 in a 12-9 loss to Baltimore.
"Yeah, I just wanted to go three days in a row, get 10-12 at-bats in three straight days and get a rhythm, especially going into the beginning of the season, going into an off-day tomorrow," said Middlebrooks. "I didn't want to have two days off. It felt good. I feel really comfortable."
"We're kind of in a spot where I've done my work in the cage; I've done my work in the weight room. I've done all the drills," said Gomes. "It's time to get game adjustments. Some people can find it in the cage, some people can find it on video. I'm more of a game type. If I had the opportunity to play in a Minor League game or a big league game, and these guys being in the AL East, I'd rather come up here and play."
Red-hot Bradley comes off bench, keeps on hitting
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Jackie Bradley Jr. sat around for the first six innings of Monday's road game against the Orioles, but the idle time did not cool off his bat.
The prospect, who is still strongly in the mix to land a roster spot for Opening Day, aided his cause yet again, delivering a pinch-hit, two-run single up the middle and banging a triple off the wall in right.
It was just another day in the spring of Bradley. In 54 at-bats, the outfielder is hitting .444 with four doubles, a triple, two homers, 11 RBIs and a 1.190 OPS.
In Bradley's first at-bat, he faced right-hander Pedro Strop, who was a dominant reliever for the Orioles last season.
"You never know when you're going to be called upon, so you might as well be ready," said Bradley. "They told me I was going in. I had to get my mindset right. The rest was history."
When Bradley came up in the ninth, he was facing lefty Chris Petrini. Manager John Farrell paid particular attention to this sequence, considering Bradley had been handcuffed in his final two at-bats on Sunday from offspeed pitches from lefties.
"Against a left-hander who has decent stuff, he takes a strike," Farrell said. "He's not afraid to hit deep in the count with two strikes and then he gets a breaking ball middle of the plate. Yeah, he has a very consistent approach. And what was even more impressive I think, is after a day yesterday when some left-handers tied him up a little bit, he came back today against a left-hander with some quality stuff and put a good swing on the ball."
Bradley should know of his roster fate within the next few days. Like all of the rabid followers who make up Red Sox Nation, he is looking forward to hearing the decision.
"You always want to know where you're going to go, just so you can make arrangements, if you've got to get an apartment or something," Bradley said. "Not only are y'all waiting, but I am, too."
Overbay plays waiting game as Red Sox mull his fate
SARASOTA, Fla. -- As much as Lyle Overbay tried to downplay it, Monday was more than just another day for him in the grind of Spring Training.
Not only did he make the start at first base against the Orioles, but it was likely his final appearance before the Red Sox decide his fate.
The team is off on Tuesday, which is when they can take some time to form some final evaluations for the Opening Day roster. That also happens to be the date Overbay can be released if he doesn't receive assurances that he will be added to the 40-man roster within 48 hours.
"It's going to work out either way. If it's meant to be, it's meant to be," said Overbay, who went 1-for-5 with a run scoreed in a 12-9 loss to the Orioles. "I'm just kind of getting ready for the season, doing what I need to do. I'm not going to lie and say you're not thinking about it, but it's something you can't really control, so it's something I'm going to put on the backburner and not worry about it."
With a professional approach from the left side and a solid glove at first, Overbay will probably have no trouble finding a landing spot if things don't work out with Boston. The rival Yankees are without Mark Teixeira for a significant chunk of the regular season, and also have several other players hobbling, which could make Overbay a good fit.
"Hopefully there's something out there that will work if this isn't the right place for me," Overbay said.
Overbay's preference is still the Red Sox.
"That's why I signed up with this team. This was the opportunity that I liked and it excited me," Overbay said. "Those are things from the beginning and they haven't changed."
The 36-year-old Overbay has pretty much been the player the Red Sox expected when they signed him. Now, it's just a matter of how he fits into the team's overall roster construction.
"He's done what we thought, yes. He's been as advertised," said Boston manager John Farrell. "The way he's performed over the last couple of years, he's moved into that bench role. He's pretty accurate with who he is as a player and what his strengths are. There's no surprises here."
It would seem that Overbay, Mike Carp and Ryan Sweeney could be fighting for one roster spot. Overbay and Sweeney are non-roster invitees, while Carp is already on the 40-man roster. All three of those players are out of Minor League options.
The fact that Daniel Nava -- who is expected to make the team -- has shown the ability to play first base could hurt Overbay's chances.
"Like I said, I understand there's numbers and it has to work out," Overbay said. "They have to be comfortable with what they're doing. I understand that. Hopefully they decide my way."
Sweeney, who went 0-for-4 on Monday, has an opt-out clause that can be triggered on Thursday.
"Before I was kind of worried about it," Sweeney said. "Sometimes I would be kind of thinking about making the team or whatever. But I've kind of just come to the realization that whatever's going to happen's going to happen. We'll see what happens. If I make the team, great. If not, then the opt out's there."
Farrell hopeful Ellsbury will return Wednesday
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury was predictably sore Monday, a day after leaving the game with a jammed right heel. However, this injury is not expected to linger and manager John Farrell expressed hope that Ellsbury will be right back in the leadoff spot on Wednesday against the Marlins.
The Red Sox don't play on Tuesday.
"Jacoby came in today feeling a little bit sore after he rolled the ankle yesterday," said Farrell. "But taking him out of yesterday's game was as much precautionary as anything, so we're hoping today and tomorrow gets him ahead of it a little bit. We're going to keep him off his feet and not take any BP today, so Wednesday would be ideal that he gets back on the field."
In other injury-related news, Stephen Drew continues to improve as he distances himself from a concussion sustained on March 7.
"Stephen will go through the same day he did yesterday," Farrell said. "He took about 50 ground balls at shortstop and came out of it feeling well. After we get through today, we'll hopefully get a better read on what we can get accomplished before camp breaks."
Prospect Bogaerts reassigned to Minor League camp
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Xander Bogaerts, who many consider to be the top prospect in the Red Sox's farm system, was reassigned to Minor League camp following Monday's 12-9 loss to the Orioles.
Bogaerts came off the bench on Monday and went 0-for-1. Though Bogaerts was thrilled to represent the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic, the experience forced him to miss a large chunk of his first Major League Spring Training.
The shortstop took seven at-bats for the Red Sox, getting two hits.
"Very mature," Red Sox manager John Farrell recently said of Bogaerts. "You know, he's very much at ease in this environment. He hasn't seemed to be in awe in any type of way. I think the WBC experience for him was tremendous, given the settings he played in, the players and teams he went up against."
The Red Sox haven't announced where the 20-year-old Bogaerts will start his season, but Double-A Portland seems like the most logical destination.
Boston also reassigned infielders Jonathan Diaz and Drew Sutton to Minor League camp.