Coach Butterfield hopes to be ready for opener

Coach Butterfield hopes to be ready for opener

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Red Sox third-base coach Brian Butterfield knows he is in a time crunch to be able to run to his familiar post at Fenway Park on Opening Day.

He also knows that he can't push it.

Butterfield underwent right knee replacement surgery in December after having his left knee replaced in 2015. During camp, first-base coach Ruben Amaro has filled in for Butterfield at third.

However, Butterfield has done his usual high volume of other activities, including leading every infield drill and helping out with baserunning.

"I'm so hopeful," Butterfield said when asked if he would coach third on April 3 against the Pirates. "I expect to be. But you know what the great thing is? [Manager] John [Farrell] and [president of baseball operations] Dave Dombrowski have been very understanding, and they want me to take my time, whatever it takes.

"We have a great coaching staff, so it's not like I feel like I'm missed. Those guys are phenomenal. Ruben has done a fantastic job at third base, and Gary DiSarcina is an outstanding third-base coach also."

Butterfield was reminded not to rush when he developed soreness after a busy Wednesday.

"I felt like two days ago, I was real close," Butterfield said. "Yesterday, I probably did a little bit too much. When it starts feeling good, I have a tendency to do too much. [Massage therapist] Russell Nua does a fantastic job. He just cautions me to keep it even. Even when you feel good, keep it even because we still have a ways to go yet."

When the Red Sox announce all uniformed personnel prior to the Fenway faithful prior to the opener, Butterfield will be thrilled to run out to the first-base line with the rest of the team. He only hopes that he can also run -- or jog -- to the other baseline for the start of the bottom of the first inning.

"If I'm not there, I'll shoot for April 4. If I'm not there April 4, I'll shoot for April 5," said Butterfield.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.