MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

MLB Pipeline checks in from Red Sox camp

Top two prospects -- Swihart, Owens -- look fit, determined at big league camp

MLB Pipeline checks in from Red Sox camp

Every Spring Training, prospects get a chance to show what they can do as they prepare for the season ahead. Some are competing for jobs in big league camp, while others are prepping for the season as they vie for spots at Minor League affiliates throughout the team's system. MLBPipeline.com is visiting all 30 camps this spring. Today, we check in on the Boston Red Sox.

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Sometimes, the rich get richer.

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Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com and writes a blog, B3. Follow @JonathanMayoB3 on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bogaerts finding comfort zone entering second season

Moving, thinking faster could have major impact on Red Sox shortstop's defense

Bogaerts finding comfort zone entering second season

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- For all the talk to this point in Spring Training about the improved first-step quickness of Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts, the other area he's gotten quicker in is every bit as important.

Bogaerts is now thinking faster entering his second full season, and that could have an immeasurable impact on his defense at the all-important position of shortstop.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

To prep for opener, Papi to play first base later in camp

Pitchers may do some hitting as Red Sox begin season in NL ballpark

To prep for opener, Papi to play first base later in camp

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- There are times when David Ortiz can keep his first baseman's mitt stored away in some corner of his locker for a few weeks and not even miss it. But the slugger will work a little more on defense this Spring Training due to a rare scheduling quirk.

The Red Sox open their 2015 season on the road against Philadelphia. For the first three games of the season, Boston won't have a designated hitter.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Red Sox open spring slate with pair of college doubleheaders

Buchholz to oppose Northeastern, followed by Miley taking on Boston College

Red Sox open spring slate with pair of college doubleheaders

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Red Sox will continue their recent tradition of opening their Spring Training game schedule with a college doubleheader Tuesday, hosting Northeastern at 1:05 p.m. ET, and then Boston College shortly thereafter.

When Clay Buchholz takes the mound in the first game, the eight players who charge out of the dugout behind him might be the same who fill out manager John Farrell's lineup on Opening Day in Philadelphia on April 6.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Calif. church boos Sox scout after Sandoval signing

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Calif. church boos Sox scout after Sandoval signing

Gary Hughes is a scout for the Red Sox, but he goes to church in northern California, where people have some pretty strong feelings about the Giants. Specifically, they're a little sore about a certain third baseman. 

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Rusney, Mookie to share center field during spring

Red Sox don't have front-runner between improving outfielders

Rusney, Mookie to share center field during spring

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Red Sox manager John Farrell said there is no front-runner to win the job as the starting center fielder, and he added that he will try to get Rusney Castillo and Mookie Betts equal playing time during Spring Training.

"Like we said at the outset of camp, we'll take all of camp to determine that," said Farrell. "They're going to get equal playing time. But I think it's important they both get comfortable with the combination of the guys on the flank because of communication, the responsibilities for balls in the gap, fly ball communication and those priorities."

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Red Sox impressed with Panda's leadership qualities

Sandoval can help mentor young players such as Bogaerts, Betts and Castillo

Red Sox impressed with Panda's leadership qualities

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Though the Red Sox mainly signed Pablo Sandoval for his bat and glove, they are quickly learning that leadership is another thing he can provide.

"He takes pride in that," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "It's been refreshing in a way that he asks ... is it OK for him to impart some of the things he's been taught to younger guys. You only get reports on an individual before they get to you, but once you interact with a guy, in Pablo's case daily, you recognize he cares about his teammates and the way the game is played in addition to being a very talented guy. So that has been above and beyond what we anticipated."

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Betts feeling more comfortable after outfield transition

Potential Red Sox starter 'taking some strides' since switch last May

Betts feeling more comfortable after outfield transition

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- At the crack of the bat, Mookie Betts was off and running. He glided toward the baseball and met up with it just before the chain-link fence, snagging it in the gap in right-center. Teammates such as David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia and Shane Victorino cheered with encouragement.

It was just a drill during batting practice on Sunday morning, but also a telling sign of how much more comfortable Betts is in the outfield these days than when he first transitioned out there in May 2014.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Healthy again, Masterson seeking career reboot in Boston

Back with original team, righty throws free and easy in first batting practice session

Healthy again, Masterson seeking career reboot in Boston

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- It's easy to look like a former All-Star in live batting practice.

Justin Masterson threw the ball free and easy Saturday in his first shot against hitters, and he said after that it was a positive step toward reestablishing himself. Masterson, an All-Star in 2013, was plagued by injuries with Cleveland and St. Louis last year before signing with Boston in December.

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Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nava contemplating hitting only from left side

Red Sox outfielder's swing, approach to remain same, but he'll likely alter stance

Nava contemplating hitting only from left side

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Daniel Nava is going to try switching out of being a switch-hitter. He is taking on a huge chore this spring in learning how to hit left-handed against left-handed pitchers.

The Red Sox think their outfielder can be more productive if he only swings from the left side of the plate, and they have a litany of statistics to support their cause. Nava, 32, is a career .293 hitter with a .428 slugging percentage against righties, but he sinks to .209 and .298 against left-handed pitchers.

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Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kelly's stuff, location sharp in first spring session

Red Sox righty uses fastball on Pedroia, Napoli to paint spots down and away

Kelly's stuff, location sharp in first spring session

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Joe Kelly lived up to advance billing Saturday when he took the mound for live batting practice for the first time this spring. Kelly threw 25 pitches to veterans Dustin Pedroia and Mike Napoli, using his fastball to paint spots down and away to catcher Christian Vazquez.

Manager John Farrell, speaking a few hours later, came away impressed.

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Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Baserunning early point of emphasis in camp

Manager Farrell wants stolen-base success rate of 80 percent in 2015

Baserunning early point of emphasis in camp

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Red Sox don't expect to run wild on the basepaths this season, but they do hope to have more skill at stealing bases. Boston was one of just seven big league teams with fewer than 70 stolen bases last season, and it ranked 17th in stolen-base percentage (.716).

Brock Holt led the Red Sox with 12 stolen bases in 2014, and nobody else was able to reach the double-digit steal plateau. Part of that was due to injuries and inconsistent personnel, and manager John Farrell hopes his players are able to be a little more successful and daring on the basepaths in 2015.

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Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Farrell: Opening Day starter will sort itself out

Farrell: Opening Day starter will sort itself out

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- It's never too early to ask about the Opening Day starter.

The Red Sox are more than a month away from the start of the regular season, but that won't stop the media from speculating as to whom will get the ball first for Boston. Manager John Farrell entertained that question Friday, but he said there wasn't much information to share yet.

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Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB raising awareness about domestic violence

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Red Sox will have several important things to do on the field Saturday, but they'll also have a pressing matter in the clubhouse. Boston's players and coaches will sit down with Major League Baseball staff for a primer in how to avoid domestic-violence situations.

"This is new. It's mandated for everyone to take part in," said manager John Farrell of the impetus for the meeting. "We as a staff are not allowed to be in with the players. That's their time. We'll go through that education separately, but everyone is required to go through it."

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Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Victorino likely to resume switch-hitting

Injuries forced veteran to hit from only right side of plate starting in '13

Victorino likely to resume switch-hitting

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Look for Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino to return to switch-hitting this season, something he hasn't done since August 2013.

Thanks to a variety of injuries, Victorino hit right-handed only for the final two months of Boston's World Series championship season in 2013, and he got red-hot in the process. He remained as an exclusive right-handed hitter for that postseason, and in his injury-plagued season of '14.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tek's tutelage paying off for Vazquez

Red Sox's everyday backstop soaking up wealth of knowledge from former captain

Tek's tutelage paying off for Vazquez

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Christian Vazquez sometimes feels like he has an encyclopedia at his disposal each morning as he goes through catching drills at Spring Training.

"Great, great teacher," Vazquez said of former Red Sox catcher and captain Jason Varitek. "I call him the Google of baseball. It's so great to have somebody like him. It's a pleasure."

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Mike Bauman

Pitching will eventually determine Red Sox's fate

Lack of ace to lead rotation not a concern to Farrell, Nieves

Pitching will eventually determine Red Sox's fate

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- There has been much attention paid to a dramatically improved Red Sox lineup, and justifiably so.

But so often, entire seasons rise or fall on the performance of the pitching, particularly the starting pitching.

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Mike Bauman is a national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Holt will once again embrace being jack of all trades

Farrell plans on keeping utility player involved at various spots all year

Holt will once again embrace being jack of all trades

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Most players come into camp wanting a defined role. Brock Holt is no different. It's just that his defined role consists of playing here, there and everywhere. And he wouldn't have it any other way.

Holt played seven positions for the Red Sox last year, and he didn't hurt the team defensively at any of them. The only thing Holt didn't do was pitch and catch.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Despite logjam, Nava not fretting about playing time

After opening last season as a starter, will play reserve role in '15

Despite logjam, Nava not fretting about playing time

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Though there is a logjam that will likely squeeze Daniel Nava out of the same playing time he's had the past two years, the outfielder isn't stressing about it.

Nava has rare perspective, considering he was undrafted and had to be discovered from the independent league before the Red Sox even found him. And in Spring Training 2012, Nava had gone from the guy who hit a grand slam on the first pitch he saw in the Major Leagues to someone who wasn't even on the 40-man roster anymore.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Here's Bill Lee doing yoga at Red Sox Spring Training

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Here's Bill Lee doing yoga at Red Sox Spring Training

We all know that at some point in his career, former Red Sox pitcher Bill Lee probably won the paper plate award for "Most Likely to Get Really, Really Into Yoga." After all, his nickname is "Spaceman" and he reads books by self-described "mystics."

So it's not a huge surprise that he appears to be turning Boston's Spring Training facilities in Fort Myers into a great place to practice his downward dog.

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MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

Passionate as ever, Papi motivated to win fourth ring

Slugger has chance to join 500-homer club this season, not worried about legacy

Passionate as ever, Papi motivated to win fourth ring

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Someone asked David Ortiz how much longer he intends to play. Innocent question, right?

"I don't know," Ortiz said while meeting with the media on Wednesday.

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Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. Read his blog, Justice4U. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ortiz not a fan of new batter's box rule

Veteran steps out between pitches to figure out what's coming next

Ortiz not a fan of new batter's box rule

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Red Sox slugger David Ortiz isn't a fan of the rule being instituted this season that batters must keep one foot in the batter's box throughout an at-bat.

"When you come out of the box, you're thinking about what the guy is trying to do," said Ortiz. "This is not like you go up to the plate with an empty mind. When you see guys pitch, come out of the box, we're not doing it just for doing it. Our minds are speeding up.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Moncada arrives at camp for physical

Ownership put faith in scouting department for acquiring prospect

Moncada arrives at camp for physical

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Top Cuban prospect Yoan Moncada took a big step toward formalizing his contract with the Red Sox when he arrived at the club's Spring Training facility on Wednesday morning to undergo the first part of his physical.

Moncada, who is just 19 years old, will travel to Boston later this week to complete the physical, and his contract -- which includes a record-setting bonus of more than $30 million -- will likely be made official by the start of next week.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Farrell provides encouragement in team meeting

Farrell provides encouragement in team meeting

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Before taking the field for their first full-squad workout of 2015, the Red Sox gathered as one in the cafeteria for a meeting that included speeches by manager John Farrell, general manager Ben Cherington and chairman Tom Werner.

Each Spring Training, the Red Sox consider this meeting to be an important tone-setter. By the end of the 2013 championship season, some players were still talking about the impact of Farrell's speech at the start of that Spring Training.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rusney Castillo is sporting some amazing hair art

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Rusney Castillo is sporting some amazing hair art

Rusney Castillo is an impressive man. Last summer, he signed a seven-year, $72.5 million deal with the Red Sox, posted a .928 OPS in his first taste of the Majors (albeit only 40 at-bats) and enters the 2015 season ranked as the 21st-best prospect by Baseball America.

But all of that pales in comparison to Castillo's hair. The outfielder showed up to camp with a golden flecked, racing striped mohawk. 

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Papi pumped to have some 'thunder' with him in lineup

Veteran excited Panda, Hanley joined Sox; expects Napoli, Pedroia to bounce back

Papi pumped to have some 'thunder' with him in lineup

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- David Ortiz essentially was the Red Sox's offense last season. While it was another gratifying season individually for the slugger, he didn't enjoy watching the postseason on television. And that's why Big Papi has a little hop in his step entering 2015.

"Looking good," Ortiz said of a lineup that includes new additions Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez. "We've got a couple of [hitters with] thunder. Young, talented players like Hanley and Panda. Those guys have that great history of winning. They know how to win. They have a lot of talent. It's all about coming in and getting to enjoy them. They're fun to watch. Like I say, hopefully everything goes well this year."

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Snow-bound Fenway should be ready for opener

Snow-bound Fenway should be ready for opener

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Despite a winter of historic snow in Boston, Red Sox president/CEO Larry Lucchino is confident that Fenway Park will be ready for baseball on April 13, when the Washington Nationals come to town for the home opener.

Boston opens the season with a six-game road trip to Philadelphia and the Bronx.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.