Today is a special day. No, it's got nothing to do with cards or chocolates. It's all about the pitchers and catchers, who were required to report to Red Sox training camp on Monday.
If the impact of the day is lessened this year, it's not for lack of excitement for the team, but because, well, there weren't many pitchers and catchers who weren't already there. Those few who hadn't shown up over the previous week-Alfredo Aceves and Jason Varitek, to name a couple-did so today. But it's kind of hard to mark today as the beginning of the year when we already had our first Pedroia quotes and have already seen Adrian Gonzalez working out in Red Sox gear.
Still, even if the Sox got a head start, there was news to be had. And as Jeff Sullivan tells us, that's the whole point.
- Daniel Bard, who has already mentioned some interest in starting later in the season, will now have yet another decision to make according to Rob Bradford: Is he the future Red Sox closer, or a Grammy Award winning musician?
- Peter Abraham says the Red Sox are getting interest on Robert Coello, who was designated for assignment to make room for Alfredo Aceves. Any trade would have predictably minimal returns.
- Jon Lester will participate in Major League Baseball's Honorary Bat Girl Contest as a judge, helping to select winning submissions. The contest is part of the league's ongoing campaign against breast cancer.
- John Lackey feels that the negative reaction to his first season with the Sox was a bit over the top.
- And if this is him in Brian MacPherson's photo, then that estimate of 10-15 pounds lost might be an understatement.
- Speaking of guys in good shape, Terry Francona says that Mike Cameron "feels terrific." According to Alex Speier, Francona expects him to get plenty of time in right field, especially against lefties. Cameron has a career .885 OPS against southpaws.
Overall, there just seems to be a more positive atmosphere surrounding this year's spring training than in recent years. There aren't many doubts about the team's composition, for obvious reasons. We're not seeing embarrassing photos of an overweight Josh Beckett or Daisuke Matsuzaka-quite to the contrary, actually-and all we're hearing about is how guys are looking healthy or ahead of schedule.
Sure, there's always going to be some worry when it comes to the players that suffered injuries recently. But everyone from the most maintstream of the media to the most critical of the "statheads" is feeling good about this year's Red Sox team. The players seem excited, and the fans are hyped up. It's very nearly a perfect storm of positivity.
Let's hope they can keep the good feelings rolling through Opening Day.