3/13/2014 5:57 P.M. ET
Brentz, Cecchini, Ranaudo among first cuts
By Ian Browne / MLB.com
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- In their first batch of spring cuts, the Red Sox sent several of their top prospects back to the Minor Leagues.
But whether it was the solid plate approach from Bryce Brentz and Garin Cecchini or the impressive arsenal displayed by pitchers like Anthony Ranaudo, there was a lot to like. And a lot to build on.
"I thought guys showed very well," said manager John Farrell. "I think it speaks loudly of the unity that Major League and Minor League has. I thought guys came in and handled themselves well. They handled the environment well."
Right-handers Ranaudo and Alex Wilson, third baseman Cecchini,and outfielders Brentz and Alex Hassan were optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket.
Right-handers Matt Barnes, Miguel Celestino and Noe Ramirez, left-handed pitcher Henry Owens, catcher Blake Swihart, and infielders Heiker Meneses and Travis Shaw were reassigned to Minor League camp.
"And on the field, there were a lot of positive signs, whether it was the consistency of at-bats to Hassan, to Brentz, to the way a young guy like Swihart showed behind the plate," said Farrell. "Not that we're over-valuing or over-evaluating our own players, but that's a lot of talent."
The Sox now have 46 players left in big league camp, 35 of whom are on the 40-man roster.
Barnes, who along with Ranaudo and Owens are perhaps the three most intriguing pitching prospects in the organization, didn't get a chance to show much, due to shoulder woes.
"He's out to 120 feet today. We expect him to be back on the mound by the end of the month," said Farrell. "How that affects his actual start at the Minor League level remains to be seen. But he's making excellent progress."
Healthy again, Peavy incorporates splitter
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Red Sox right-hander Jake Peavy is so awed by Koji Uehara's splitter that he sees no reason not to add it to his own arsenal.
And in his Grapefruit League debut, during Boston's 4-3 win over Minnesota, Peavy started integrating his newest toy on a day he allowed two hits and a run over three-plus innings.
"That pitch is Koji Uehara," said Peavy. "That is him. If he doesn't have that pitch, he's not him. I thought to myself, 'Why wouldn't I try?' So that's where it came from."
Peavy was pleased just to be able to get back out there for a game.
At the start of camp, he endured a mysterious case of tendinitis in his right ring finger. And then there was the unfortunate mishap with a fishing knife that led to Peavy suffering a laceration of his left index finger.
The good news for the veteran righty is that he's over both injuries and is on target to start the season on time.
"I know I will, yes sir," said Peavy. "Lord willing, and as long as nothing happens from here on out. I'm going to stay away from knives, and I'll see you on Opening Day."
And Peavy hopes you'll see his splitter when the season starts.
"It's got some action in the bottom of the zone," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "Not too many offered swings at it. It's something that he's been working on here as he's got to camp. But in addition to that, the one thing he talked about last year was trying to kill some of the speed of his curveball. You saw some in the mid-70s, which was good separation from his fastball. For the first time out, he had a good assortment of pitches today."
Farrell tests replay challenge system
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- When the Twins' Darin Mastroianni narrowly reached on an infield hit with two outs in the sixth inning of Boston's 4-3 win over Minnesota on Thursday, it was the perfect opportunity for Red Sox manager John Farrell to test the new instant replay system.
The umpires went through the process, and the ruling was upheld -- Mastroianni was safe.
"Again, we don't have the full system there [in Spring Training]," said Farrell. "I just went out there and said, 'Hey, I'd like you to take a look at it.' In-season, with a play that close, I'm sure there will be a little more time elapsed where there's an acknowledgement from the dugout -- either it's challengeable or don't."
In the top of the sixth, when Mike Napoli's blast down the left-field line was ruled foul, Farrell also had the umpires review that.
Again, the call stood. Potential home runs were already challengeable before this season's expanded replay changes.
"That looked like it was fair, Napoli's home run," said Farrell. "That's not a challenge, that's just a review on a ball that leaves the ballpark. That doesn't fall into the heading or category of the challenge. That's just a review."
Farrell hopes to keep Workman in one role
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- One of the most valuable things about righty Brandon Workman is that he already proved last year he can be effective in the Major Leagues as a starter and a reliever.
That said, manager John Farrell thinks it would be best if the organization could find one role for him this year, and keep him there.
"I think if you make the shift, then you stick to whatever shift you move to," Farrell said. "But to go back and forth, that takes a lot out of a pitcher, regardless of age. In some ways, you can put a guy a little bit more at risk because it would change a role and a difference in routines. I think you're asking a lot when you do that. He could pitch in either role for us, but we would not want to switch back and forth with any regularity."
The way the numbers are shaping up now, Workman figures to start the season at Triple-A Pawtucket unless the Red Sox suffer an injury in the rotation and the bullpen.
But he could become a cornerstone at the Major League level. Last season, Workman pitched in relief in the two big Game 6 clinchers -- against the Tigers in the American League Championship Series and the Cardinals in the World Series.
"He's a dependable person," said Farrell. "That combination of skills and personalities really gives you a lot of belief that he's going to be a key performer for us. Who knows how much this year, but as we move forward."
Healthy Pedroia showing more pop at plate
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Forget about the .105 batting average Dustin Pedroia took into Thursday's game against the Twins. The key is that he is fully recovered from the left thumb surgery he underwent Nov. 13.
Pedroia suffered the injury on Opening Day last season and was hampered from a power standpoint, hitting nine home runs, his lowest total since 2007.
"I see better bat speed," said Sox manager John Farrell. "You see the bat travel through the zone much more aggressively. There's more freedom. Even in his BP, you see his ability to get to the pull-side a little bit more readily. You see the freedom in the swing pretty clear."
Despite the injury, Pedroia was able to hit .301 last year and play a career-high 160 games.
Of the early slump in Grapefruit League action, Farrell said, "He's just trying to get his timing down. It's just kind of getting back in the flow of things."
• After playing back-to-back games for the first time in Spring Training on Monday and Tuesday, Grady Sizemore played in a Minor League game on Thursday rather than taking the short trip to Hammond Stadium to face the Twins.
"Just want to get Jackie [Bradley Jr.] with our regular lineup and get him in the mix there," said Farrell. "With yesterday's off-day, tomorrow's long trip [to Dunedin, Fla., to face the Blue Jays], that's why Grady is getting his at-bats at the Triple-A level."
• Rather than have Felix Doubront or John Lackey face the AL East-rival Yankees on Tuesday in Tampa, Fla., they will both pitch in Monday's home game against the Cardinals. Lackey is expected to start and be piggy-backed by Doubront.