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Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington visited David Ortiz in the Dominican Republic last week, and he expects the designated hitter to be good to go for Opening Day.
"He's hitting and doing his agility and starting to run," Cherington said Monday in an interview with MLB Network Radio. "He's David Ortiz. We'll see where he is as we report 10 days from now or so and take it from there. We don't have any reason to think he won't be in our lineup on Opening Day."
"In Jacoby's case, there's no issues whatsoever," Cherington said. "He's fine [and] had a normal offseason."
"Our expectation is that [Jarrod Saltalamacchia] and [David] Ross would be the two catchers," Cherington said. "We'll see. There's always room for someone to push. Ryan Lavarnway is a very talented young man. … He's going to have a very good Major League career. When that sort of clock starts in Boston remains to be seen."
We can file Cherington's update on Papi's achilles as good news, but it actually startled me a bit. It never crossed my mind that Ortiz wouldn't be ready for Opening Day. Maybe I've been jaded by the Carl Crawford experience, but any time the GM starts talking in February about how a player should be ready by Opening Day, well, it gives me pause.
If, for any reason, Papi can't go once the season starts, that possibly changes the third point Cherington made regarding the catchers. No Ortiz equals a gigantic hole in the middle of the lineup. Boston isn't exactly teeming with big bats. If that situation does arise where we need to replace him again, the Sox do have several options -- none of which are exactly appealing.
The most likely scenario probably involves Overbay making the Opening Day roster. But it wouldn't shock me to see Lavarnway stay with the club and have Salty play the role of DH until Papi's return. That's about as far down the rabbit hole of roster replacements I'd like to go.
This roster isn't bad, but it's certainly not built to handle any major injuries. Let's just take Ben at his word and assume we "don't have any reason to think he won't be in our lineup on Opening Day."
On Page 2, Lowrie's on the move again.
Right-hander Brad Peacock and catcher Max Stassi also went to Houston in the deal between franchises that will be playing in the same division for the first time following the Astros' move from the NL Central to the AL West in 2013.
Lowrie batted .244 with 16 homers and 42 RBIs in 97 games with Houston, missing two months with ankle and thumb injuries. Despite the limited playing time, Lowrie tied for the fourth most homers among all shortstops last year.
I never really had any affinity towards Jed. We're all aware that, during those few games he could actually stay on the field he was a pretty decent baseball player, with a few flashes of greatness. But his frailty prevents him from being anybody you can depend on to play a major role.
Perhaps his greatest accomplishment is the being the inspiration for the awesome, albeit short-lived "#legendofjedlowrie" Twitter hashtag.
Rest of the links:
Herald - Wil Myers among 7 prospects invited to Rays camp | Mariano Rivera says Yankees will support Alex Rodriguez | Globe -Truck Day signals unofficial start of Red Sox spring training | WEEI - Heir apparent: Why Bradley seems a fitting successor to Ellsbury |