Red Sox spring training primer

February, 10, 2013
2/10/13
11:31
PM ET
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Our guide to Red Sox spring training, 2013:

First official workout: Tuesday for pitchers and catchers, Friday for the full squad.

First exhibition: Feb. 21 doubleheader vs. Northeastern and Boston College

First Grapefruit League game: Feb. 23 vs. Tampa Bay at Jet Blue Park

Where have you gone, Bobby V?: Former manager Bobby Valentine has a new gig on NBC Radio, which is located in his hometown of Stamford, Conn. He aided relief efforts for Hurricane Sandy, assisted at a baseball clinic in Newtown, reportedly applied for the athletic director job at Sacred Heart University, has a movie in production with his film company, and says he is writing a book.

Number of ex-Blue Jay managers to manage the Red Sox: Two. Newcomer John Farrell and Jimy Williams. Williams had a .540 winning percentage in five seasons with the Red Sox, a .538 winning percentage in four seasons with the Jays. He was AL manager of the year in 1999.

Famous Sox player born the same day as Farrell: Roger Clemens and Farrell were both born on Aug. 4, 1962.

[+] EnlargeJarrod Saltalamacchia
AP Photo/David GoldmanJarrod Saltalamacchia could attract the interest of teams in need of a catcher.
Extreme makeover: A stunning 16 players who either were on the 25-man Opening Day roster last season or on the disabled list at the start of the season are gone: Adrian Gonzalez, Kevin Youkilis, Cody Ross, Mike Aviles, Kelly Shoppach, Nick Punto, Darnell McDonald, Josh Beckett, Mark Melancon, Michael Bowden, Matt Albers, Vicente Padilla, Justin Thomas, Scott Atchison, Carl Crawford and Bobby Jenks all are gone.

Where Sox free agents scattered: 1B James Loney (Rays), OF Cody Ross (Diamondbacks), P Scott Atchison (Mets), P Aaron Cook (Phillies), P Daisuke Matsuzaka (Indians), P Vicente Padilla (Japan), P Rich Hill (Indians), OF Scott Podsednik (unsigned).

Principal newcomers: P Ryan Dempster (free agent), 1B Mike Napoli (free agent), OF Shane Victorino (free agent), SS Stephen Drew (free agent), OF Jonny Gomes (free agent), C David Ross (free agent), Joel Hanrahan (trade), P Rubby de la Rosa (trade), P Allen Webster (trade).

The new coaches: It’s an entirely new staff. Greg Colbrunn is the hitting coach, Victor Rodriguez the assistant hitting coach, Juan Nieves the pitching coach, Arnie Beyeler the first-base coach, Brian Butterfield the third-base coach, Torey Lovullo the bench coach and Dana LeVangie the bullpen coach., Lovullo and Butterfield were with Farrell in Toronto. Nieves was White Sox bullpen coach, Beyeler was Pawtucket manager, Rodriguez was a hitting instructor in the Red Sox system and LeVangie is a former Red Sox bullpen coach who has been the team’s advance big-league scout.

Sox by geography: The 40-man roster has players born in Mexico, Japan, Canada, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Cuba and Saudi Arabia (Alex Wilson). The Sox have six players from Texas, but that is five fewer than 2012, when they had 11, their most ever from the Lone Star State. Shane Victorino joins Benny Agbayani as the only Sox players from Hawaii. Alex Hassan is the only player from Massachusetts; Craig Breslow (Connecticut) is the only other player from New England.

Sox lettermen: Eighteen players on the 40-man roster attended college or junior college. The ACC has the most players: Daniel Bard and Andrew Miller (North Carolina), Stephen Drew (Florida State) and Alex Hassan (Duke). There are two Yalies, Ryan Lavarnway and Craig Breslow, and one player, Koji Uehara, who attended Osaka University of Health and Sports Sciences.

Sox players in the World Baseball Classic: OF Shane Victorino (Team USA), P Alfredo Aceves (Mexico), SS Xander Bogaerts (Netherlands), P Jose De La Torre (Puerto Rico) are all on provisional rosters. Final rosters are due Feb. 20.

Our projected batting order:
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Shane Victorino RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
David Ortiz DH
Will Middlebrooks 3B
Mike Napoli 1B
Jonny Gomes LF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia C
Stephen Drew SS

Projected starting rotation (in our order):
Jon Lester LHP
Clay Buchholz RHP
Ryan Dempster RHP
Felix Doubront LHP
John Lackey RHP

Projected bullpen:
Joel Hanrahan, closer
Koji Uehara, setup man
Andrew Bailey, setup man
Craig Breslow, LH specialist
Andrew Miller, LH specialist
Junichi Tazawa, 7th inning
Alfredo Aceves, 7th inning

Projected bench:
Lyle Overbay, 1B
Daniel Nava, OF
David Ross, C
Pedro Ciriaco, INF

[+] EnlargeJon Lester
AP Photo/David GoldmanJon Lester could be in line for a contract extension offer while in Fort Myers.
Job competition: Daniel Bard will be bidding to reclaim a spot in a bullpen in which he thrived prior to last season’s abortive attempt to become a starter. Lefty Franklin Morales also will be competing for a spot in the 'pen. Daniel Nava will face a challenge for the backup outfield spot from Ryan Sweeney, who signed a nonroster deal. Pedro Ciriaco will need to fight off Brock Holt, who came with Joel Hanrahan in a deal with Pittsburgh, and free agent Drew Sutton for the backup infield spot.

Potential trade bait: Expect scouts to flock to the Fort to check out the Sox surplus of arms, especially in the bullpen. If Bard has a great spring, that could put Bailey in play as a trade piece. Aceves and Morales will come to camp as starters, and also could be targets of teams needing help for their rotation. Teams looking for a catcher almost certainly will inquire about Saltalamacchia, who is a year away from free agency, or Ryan Lavarnway. And with Xander Bogaerts rising swiftly through the system, shortstop Jose Iglesias, who received the biggest signing bonus in team history ($6.25 million), also may draw some attention.

Injured list: Outfielder Ryan Kalish is out for months after surgery, this time on his nonthrowing shoulder. Outfielder Alex Hassan will miss the start of camp because of a stress fracture in his left foot. Outfielder Bryce Brentz will miss the start of camp after accidentally shooting himself in the leg while cleaning a handgun, according to general manager Ben Cherington.

Health concerns: Cherington said David Ortiz (Achilles tendon) and Mike Napoli (hip) should be ready for the start of spring training, but both bear watching. John Lackey is coming off Tommy John surgery, Stephen Drew ankle surgery and Shane Victorino a wrist issue.

Top prospects:
Soxprospects.com -- SS Xander Bogaerts, RHP Matt Barnes, OF Jackie Bradley Jr., RHP Rubby de la Rosa, RHP Allen Webster

Baseball Prospectus -- Bogaerts, Bradley, Barnes, Webster, C Blake Swihart

Baseball America -- Bogaerts, Bradley, Barnes, Webster, LHP Henry Owens

Sox players eligible for free agency after the season: Ellsbury, Napoli, Drew, Saltalamacchia, Hanrahan.

Player most likely to be offered a contract extension: Lester. Club holds a $13 million option for the 2014 season.

Gordon Edes

Red Sox reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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