FORT MYERS, Fla. -- It could have been worse.
If Jake Peavy had used his right hand to cut a zip tie on his fishing equipment last Saturday, the Red Sox right-hander would be in serious trouble. As it was, he cut the index finger on his left (non-throwing) hand so severely that he required a procedure under anasthesia to stitch it up.
According to WEEI.com, Peavy sustained minor nerve damage when he cut through a tendon with his fishing knife. But a source told the Boston Herald that the "integrity of his finger wasn't compromised" and suggested that the procedure Peavy underwent was performed primarily to guard against an infection.
Regardless, the incident prevented Peavy from making his first spring training start as scheduled and may put him in jeopardy for being ready to start the regular season on time. On Tuesday, Peavy's finger still was wrapped in a cumbersome bandage. He played long-toss, sans glove, from 120 feet, and was scheduled to throw a bullpen session Wednesday.
But Peavy has not attempted to place his hand into a mitt. According to manager John Farrell, the Red Sox are being mindful of the possibility that excess perspiration could lead to infection.
A date has not been set for when Peavy might make his first Grapefruit League start. The Red Sox have not ruled out the possibility that he will have enough time to get ready for his first regular-season start, although Farrell said they will have a better feel for the situation in 10 days.
If Peavy misses any time at the beginning of the season, Farrell said veteran lefty Chris Capuano and young right-hander Brandon Workman would be the leading candidates to take his turn.
--LHP Rich Hill reported to spring training in Fort Myers, Fla., on March 6 following the death of his infant son.
Brooks Hill was less than 2 months old when he died on Feb. 24 in Boston.
"We had a son on Dec. 26, and he was born with multiple issues that we confronted and had to deal with as we were moving through the last couple of months at Mass General," Hill told reporters Thursday. "Unfortunately he succumbed and he has passed. He taught us a lot of things, and unfortunately things didn't work out.
"My wife (Caitlin) has been extremely strong. Our son (Brice), who is 2 1/2, is with us here down in Florida, so we are going to enjoy our time here and obviously make the most of the opportunity that's here to present itself to play baseball."
Hill, who turns 34 on Tuesday, pitched for Boston from 2010 to 2012 and made 63 appearances with the Cleveland Indians in 2013. He signed a minor league contract with the Red Sox during the offseason so he could remain close to his family in Boston and Milton, Mass.
--CF Grady Sizemore is making steady progress in his attempt to make the Red Sox' roster after missing the past two years while recovering from microfracture surgery on both knees. "I'm happy with how things are feeling from a body standpoint," Sizemore said. "Just not noticing anything out there, not having any pain, not coming in feeling worse the next day. It's as good as I could have hoped for." Sizemore spends at least an hour, sometimes 90 minutes, per day getting treatment from the medical staff and working with trainers and strength coaches. There are times when Sizemore still feels rusty, especially at the plate, which can be expected after not playing since the end of the 2011 season. "I don't feel bad (physically), but at times, my body is not catching up with my brain," Sizemore said. "I want to go faster, but it's not quite there yet."
--RHP Koji Uehara never has been as popular as some of his countrymen who have migrated from Japan to the majors. But now that he's a World Series champ, having achieved as much dominance as any closer in history for four months last season with the Red Sox, his Q Score is rising. Last month, he took the World Series trophy on tour, meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Caroline Kennedy, the U.S. Ambassador to Japan. He's also the new pitchman for Suntory premium malt beer. And after tossing an easy, breezy 14-pitch scoreless inning in his spring training debut, he was greeted outside the clubhouse by a throng of Japanese media that far outnumbered the handful of embedded reporters who typically cover him. Has a star been born? "No, I don't feel that's changed," Uehara said through his translator, C.J. Matsumoto. "I feel like all this media, they probably went to (Yankees star Masahiro) Tanaka and they just came to me afterward."
--SS Xander Bogaerts' ascension to the majors always was bound to bring to mind thoughts of Hanley Ramirez, the can't-miss Red Sox shortstop prospect who came nearly a decade earlier. "He's definitely really talented," Bogaerts said of Ramirez, a three-time All-Star, 2006 NL Rookie of the Year and NL MVP runner-up in 2009. "The way that he plays, that's something you hopefully want to become one day." But Sox GM Ben Cherington, the club's farm director when Ramirez was coming through the system, noted that the two players have far different personalities. "Xander comes from a very strong family. He has a solid foundation," Cherington said. "I think it helps him navigate the things that come with being a big league player. It can take a while to deal with for a younger player, and Hanley maybe took a little longer to find that out. But Xander has been a pretty mature young man from the time he first came into the organization. He was very comfortable in whatever environment he's been put into."
--1B Mike Napoli was eased into spring training games last year to guard against the worsening of a degenerative condition in his hips. But with his health finally stable, he doesn't have any restrictions this year -- and it shows. On March 2, Napoli crushed a two-run homer to straightaway center field in the fourth inning against Baltimore Orioles reliever Eduardo Rodriguez. "You want to get to that (swing) as fast as possible," Napoli said. "I still have work to do, but it felt good. I'm trying to see pitches, get my timing down, get my leg kick on time and just be in a good hitter's position early. But yeah, to crush a ball like that, this early in the spring, it's nice."
--1B/LF Mike Carp is drawing interest this spring, but the Red Sox aren't inclined to trade him. Carp has been productive as a left-handed pinch-hitter and occasional starter either at first base or in left field. In 216 at-bats last season, he batted .296 and slugged .523 with nine homers and 43 RBIs, including a memorable 10th-inning grand slam Sept. 11 against the Tampa Bay Rays. Carp credited left fielder Jonny Gomes for helping him adjust to a part-time role. Whenever Gomes didn't start, they sat together on the bench and talked about how they might make an impact later in the game. "We went out there and we tried to combine to be one player," Carp said. "Our goal was 30 (homers) and 100 (RBIs), and we came pretty darn close considering the amount of at-bats we had. We just feed off each other."
QUOTE TO NOTE: "The way my metabolism is, I have to eat, like, nonstop. It's nothing for me to get something quick, like McDonalds. If somebody else eats a whole pizza, they gain five pounds and it takes four days to lose it. I lose weight when I eat pizza. It's easy to do that because I never look in the mirror and say, 'Man, I can't do that anymore.' But from a health standpoint, it's probably not the best thing to do." --Red Sox RHP Clay Buchholz, to the Boston Herald, on why he's changing his diet
LHP Jon Lester
RHP Clay Buchholz
RHP John Lackey
LHP Felix Doubront
RHP Jake Peavy
A 1.56 playoff ERA put to rest any question about Lester's No. 1 starter credentials. In spring training, the Red Sox will talk about a contract extension to keep him from reaching free agency. Buchholz also has ace potential if only he ever stays healthy for a full season. Alas, he has averaged only 21 starts and 129 innings over the past five years.
Finally healthy after Tommy John surgery cost him all of 2012, Lackey was the big-money pitcher the Red Sox wanted all along. The Red Sox lost some of their starting-pitching depth when RHP Ryan Dempster announced Feb. 16 that he would sit out the season due to physical and family reasons.
RHP Koji Uehara (closer)
RHP Edward Mujica
LHP Craig Breslow
RHP Junichi Tazawa
LHP Andrew Miller
RHP Burke Badenhop
RHP Brandon Workman or RHP Francisco Cordero or LHP Chris Capuano
Sadly, there is really nowhere to go but down for Uehara. A career set-up man who was the Red Sox' fourth choice to close last season, he had four months that were as dominant as any ninth-inning pitcher in history. Even if his success was sustainable, there would be the issue of his career-high workload, which is exactly why the Red Sox signed Mujica. With 34 saves for the Cardinals last season, he will be the primary set-up man and Uehara insurance. Winning three battles with Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera in the ALCS should only do wonders for Tazawa's confidence. Miller is returning from season-ending foot surgery last year and will join Breslow to give the Sox two strong lefty options. Badenhop was acquired because of his knack for throwing strikes and getting groundballs, two skills that play anywhere and especially at Fenway Park. Cordero signed a minor league contract and will attempt to make the team as a non-roster invitee.
1. RF Shane Victorino
2. 2B Dustin Pedroia
3. DH David Ortiz
4. 1B Mike Napoli
5. SS Xander Bogaerts
6. LF Jonny Gomes
7. 3B Will Middlebrooks
8. C A.J. Pierzynski
9. CF Jackie Bradley Jr.
For most of the past six seasons, CF Jacoby Ellsbury was a mainstay at the top of the order. Without a prototypical leadoff man to replace him, Farrell figures to take advantage of Nava's high on-base percentage against right-handed pitchers while using speedy Victorino in the leadoff spot against lefties. Pedroia is most comfortable in the No. 2 spot, but it is possible he could hit third, too. In many ways, the success of the offense will hinge on Bogaerts and Middlebrooks, young players who are still getting acclimated to the majors but have the potential to put up big numbers in the middle of the order. Once again, the Red Sox should have a productive bench, highlighted by Nava and OF/1B Mike Carp.
TOP ROOKIES: Most of the attention will be focused on Bogaerts and Bradley, both of whom are projected to take over as everyday players at key positions in the middle of the field. But the Red Sox also have several pitchers who may be ready to contribute at the major league level. RHP Brandon Workman, RHP Allen Webster and RHP Rubby De La Rosa were among those who got a taste of the big leagues last season. Chances are, the Red Sox will need them again, either in the rotation or the bullpen. RHP Anthony Ranaudo will begin the season at Triple-A and may not be far behind.
--RHP Jake Peavy (laceration on left index finger) sustained minor nerve damage when he cut through a tendon with his fishing knife March 1. The incident prevented Peavy from making his first spring training start as scheduled and may put him in jeopardy for being ready to start the regular season on time. On March 4, Peavy's finger still was wrapped in a cumbersome bandage. He played long-toss, sans glove, from 120 feet, and was scheduled to throw a bullpen session March 5.
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