12/14/2013 3:45 P.M. ET
Nieves: Pierzynski 'a nice fit' for Red Sox
By Tim Healey / Special to MLB.com
BOSTON -- Count Juan Nieves among those excited to see A.J. Pierzynski with the Red Sox.
The pitching coach and catcher know each other from their time together with the White Sox, and they touched base during the World Series when Pierzynski was working with FOX. With the seed planted, Nieves was happy to see it blossom into a one-year, $8.25 million contract.
"When you see A.J. as an opposing player, you don't like him," Nieves said during "Christmas at Fenway" on Saturday. "But when you see him on your own team, you're going to see a guy that comes in every day and plays hard.
"He's a very knowledgeable guy, very attentive and very talkative during the game. ... He will be a nice fit on the team."
Ryan Lavarnway, who has split time between the Major League team and Triple-A Pawtucket the last three seasons, was brief in discussing Boston's new backstop.
"A.J.'s a good player," Lavarnway said. "He's been pretty established, he's had a lot of success at the plate and behind it. We want to win. ... I haven't had any conversations with [general manager] Ben [Cherington] about [playing time], so I don't know [about my own situation].
"I'm excited to defend [our World Series] championship next year, I don't know what else I can tell you."
With Pierzynski in the fold, Lavarnway's future is in uncertain. Pierzynski and David Ross are expected to be with the big league team, while prospect Christian Vazquez is waiting in the wings at Pawtucket.
Breslow planned wedding with eye on October
BOSTON -- About a week after Craig Breslow and the Red Sox found themselves on top of the baseball world, the left-handed reliever picked up a ring of a different, and more important, sort: a wedding ring.
Breslow -- who was at "Christmas at Fenway," the Red Sox' annual ticket-sales kickoff event, on Saturday -- said he and his now-wife, Kelly, set their plans to get married back in July 2012, around the time the D-backs traded him to the Red Sox. They chose the first week of November, with potential October baseball in mind.
You know, just in case.
"When we set the date back in 2012, people thought I was out of my mind factoring in postseason plans," Breslow said. "But, as the season unfolded, it looked like I was wiser and wiser. And ultimately, obviously, it's a pretty good thing that we did [wait]."
Boston's journey was improbable, yes. But it's better to be safe than sorry, and Breslow was anything but sorry after the whirlwind stretch that included a two-week stay in South Africa.
"Things were pretty bleak here in Boston for a while," Breslow said. "But I like to think that I recognized there was a talented core here that knew themselves, knew that they had underperformed and were committed to turning things around."
Lavarnway, Butterfield discuss plate collisions
BOSTON -- Ryan Lavarnway knows how he feels about MLB's plan to eliminate home-plate collisions, and it has to do with sponge baths.
During a Little League game in eighth grade, Lavarnway was on the wrong end of a slide when an opposing runner tried to score. He broke two bones in an ankle and spent three months in a full leg cast, hence the less-than-ideal cleaning method.
But then he learned how to protect himself while protecting the plate.
"I've talked to a few of the other catchers, and I think that in general we all want to see [the rule] the way it is. We think that [home-plate collisions are] a part of the game," Lavarnway said. "But I understand where the owners are coming from, they're trying to keep us healthy. I think that their intentions are in the right place, and I think that we can find some middle ground. But if it was up to me, I'd leave it the way it is."
Third-base coach Brian Butterfield is going to wait to see the exact verbiage of the rule before making any judgment.
"[There is] too much unknown for me right now," Butterfield said. "But I'm a baserunning guy, that's going to be very important to me. It's important for me and it's important for my runners' safety. I don't want any of my runners getting hurt."
Butterfield explained that if home-plate collisions are illegal, catchers will feel more comfortable taking a step or two up the line for an imperfect throw, whereas in the past they might be hesitant with a runner barreling in from third.
"I'm not saying I'm all for the runner and not for the catcher. I don't want to see catchers get hurt, but I also don't want to see runners get hurt," Butterfield said. "I want to wait until they come out with definitive rules and interpretations before I say anything."
Long season won't alter pitchers' winter work much
BOSTON -- It's only been six weeks since the Red Sox's championship parade, but pitching coach Juan Nieves already has the wheels turning when it comes to plans for his hurlers in 2014.
Nieves said the fact the team pitched so deep into the fall won't have much of an effect on offseason training regimens, but some pitchers will take it easy at the beginning of Spring Training.
Left-handed reliever Craig Breslow, for one, has yet to start throwing. During a typical offseason, he starts his workouts around the beginning of December.
"I think I can undertake a pretty normal offseason," Breslow said. "I'll get to work out pretty extensively and spend a lot of time getting myself as strong as possible, but not pick up a ball until a little bit later."
According to Nieves, that should be the norm for Red Sox pitchers -- working on strength while not throwing as early or as violently during their down time.
When it comes to Spring Training, Nieves said most pitchers should be good to go. The exceptions will be starters Jon Lester and John Lackey, as well as the bullpen big three of Koji Uehara, Junichi Tazawa and Breslow. Those five saw arguably the highest volume of high-intensity innings of the entire staff.
"You have to take into consideration the innings of last year [when managing the staff in 2014]," Nieves said. "Remember one thing: When the bell rings, they have to be ready. March 31 is Opening Day, and that game is just as important as the last game of the season."
Tim Healey is a contributor to MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.