Red Sox's dedication evident in first workout
With new manager in place, talented club driven to erase tough 2012 season
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- While New Englanders are still digging their way out of a historic blizzard, perhaps the timing was never so right for Red Sox pitchers and catchers to take the field under warm Florida skies for Tuesday morning's first official team workout.
Around 9:30 a.m. ET, the team came bounding out of its clubhouse and onto the practice fields with the first unified steps toward 2013.
There were familiar faces like Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz and early arriving position players Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz, mixed in with newcomers Mike Napoli, Joel Hanrahan, Ryan Dempster and David Ross. And there was a new manager leading the charge in John Farrell.
"John's awesome," said Pedroia. "Everybody got to know him when he was here before. He's easy to talk to. Obviously, when he walks into the room, he has that presence. It's going to be great for us."
It is a season the Red Sox have been awaiting for months, in large part because it signifies official closure on all that went wrong in 2012 -- the worst Boston baseball summer since 1965.
What is the mindset for 2013?
"To be able to do everything better than we did last year," said Pedroia. "We've got a lot of new guys. I think a lot of guys are excited. There's going to be a lot of different things going on. Everybody just has to do what they do."
The roster has a clear new look to it.
Napoli is taking over at first base. Stephen Drew will be the starting shortstop. Shane Victorino brings experience and boundless enthusiasm to right field. Jonny Gomes will get a lot of at-bats in left.
The pitching staff has been bolstered with a rotation member (Dempster), a closer (Hanrahan) and a setup man (Koji Uehara).
"The roster is filled with talent," said Farrell. "Players that come in new, they come from winning teams, they come from playoff experience. I think we've got a balanced team. If you just look at our lineup, there's speed, there's power, there's left-right capability. I think our bullpen is a strength. We know that there's talent in that rotation, yet we have to get guys on track, rebuild some confidence in certain areas."
Fenway Park has been closed for business for three straight Octobers.
"Winning is fun; losing isn't fun," said principal owner John Henry. "Despite what you may read or see, for us, the joy of this is being successful on the field."
Farrell will try to help the team restore its winning ways.
"The conversations throughout the course of the winter, either by phone or in person, there was a lot of eagerness and anticipation of guys getting down to camp in preparation for this year," said Farrell. "I would think just from a professionalism standpoint, guys are motivated every year they come into Spring Training. A number of guys spoke openly and honestly about wanting to rewrite the script this year, based on what took place a year ago."
Though position players aren't due in until Thursday, a large portion of the team has already arrived. Third baseman Will Middlebrooks and center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury also participated in Tuesday's workout.
"Everyone seems excited and ready to go," Middlebrooks said.
The first full-squad workout is scheduled for Friday.