BOSTON -- The Red Sox kicked off their annual Rookie Program on Monday, providing 12 of the organization's top prospects a unique opportunity to maximize the present and prepare for the future.
This year's attendees include top pitching prospect Casey Kelly and shortstop Jose Iglesias, the Cuban defector who was signed to a Major League contract four months ago.
The roster also includes pitchers Randor Bierd, Felix Doubront, Ryne Miller, Junichi Tazawa, Kyle Weiland; catcher Luis Exposito; infielder Yamaico Navarro; and outfielders Ryan Kalish, Che-Hsuan Lin and Josh Reddick.
It is a program that is both mental and physical. Two daily workouts are included, emphasizing conditioning and strength training and fundamental work. There will also be seminars that help to prepare players for assimilation into Major League life off the field.
Most of the homegrown players who currently play key roles for the Red Sox participated in past rookie programs, including Jon Lester, Jonathan Papelbon, Dustin Pedroia, Clay Buchholz, Jacoby Ellsbury and Daniel Bard.
There will be a wide range of voices who will speak to this year's group, including Red Sox president/CEO Larry Lucchino, general manager Theo Epstein, manager Terry Francona, pitching coach John Farrell, hitting coach Dave Magadan, sports psychology coach Bob Tewksbury, right-hander John Lackey and first baseman Kevin Youkilis. Peter Gammons, the Hall of Fame journalist who now contributes to MLB.com and the MLB Network, and Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers will be guest speakers.
The young players will also go to a charitable endeavor, conducting a public autograph signing at the Best Buy in the Landmark Center, which is located at 401 Park Drive in Boston. That event takes place on Jan. 18 from 3:30-5 p.m. ET. Fans who make a $10 donation to the Jimmy Fund will be able to get autographs on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Ian Browne is a reporter for
MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.