Even though there's still four days to go before pitchers and catchers report, it's starting to look like a pretty full house down in Fort Myers, as more and more Red Sox find their way into spring training early.
Today, the rotation both filled out and thinned down, as John Lackey, Josh Beckett, and Daisuke Matsuzaka all made appearances. With Jon Lester already in camp, that makes four of the starting five arriving early. And the good news is that they're in shape, which had not been a given the past couple of years. Rob Bradford even has Lackey weighing in fifteen pounds lighter.
Kevin Youkilis, too, is back on the field after missing the end of last season due to an injury to his thumb. And while Dustin Pedroia hasn't made his way to the field, yet, Sean McAdam hears that he's in town.
Perhaps the biggest news dump of the day came when Theo Epstein addressed the media (via Alex Speier) on the health of the recovering Red Sox. For the most part, said news is good:
- Both Kevin Youkilis and Alfredo Aceves are fully ready to go. Youkilis has actually been swinging a bat for about four months now.
- Adrian Gonzalez wasn't originally scheduled to get into a game until mid-late March, but that could be moved up given how he's looked in camp so far.
When it came to Dustin Pedroia, Theo was more cautious. The team doesn't intend to rush Pedroia back into action, but are focused on having him ready for opening day.
The least optimistic outlook is for Junichi Tazawa, who could miss a couple more months recovering from his Tommy John Surgery.
Speaking of Tommy John Surgery, one player who knows all about that process is Drake Britton, who told Alex Speier that his innings limit is a thing of the past. That's good news for prospect-watchers who want a better, longer look at the Sox' exciting lefty prospect.
Daniel Bard is also in camp, and would be interested in starting at some point in the future, according to Rob Bradford.
- Bradford also has some video to share, including a trim-looking Daisuke and Ryan Westmoreland...kicking a soccer ball?