FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Because of shortstop Stephen Drew's concussion and David Ortiz's heel problems, the Red Sox weren't able to field their full lineup once all spring. So, as the Grapefruit League season ended with a 4-2 win over the Twins on Saturday at JetBlue Park, new manager John Farrell conceded he still isn't sure exactly what he's got.
"You never fully anticipate injuries and the length of them. So that's always an uncertain thing," he said. "I think we've settled into some element of a lineup, given who's available. Certainly David and Stephen coming back is going to positively affect that."
Even though Drew was limited to six official Spring Training games and Ortiz didn't play at all, the Red Sox averaged 4.85 runs per game in Florida. That has to be considered encouraging.
So does the fact that both linchpin players are making progress in their comebacks.
Ortiz accompanied the team to New York and, after that series, will return to Florida to continue his rehab. The target is to get him into a game of some sort during the week of April 8.
"It's been pretty straight ahead," Farrell said. "We've been looking to get some change of direction involved here. More of a gradual turn than a hard turn. That's the next progressive step in the running portion."
The expectation is also that Drew, who went through "full baseball activities" Saturday, will be ready to play relatively soon.
"That's getting closer, yes," the manager said. "But we're also hopeful that it's not so fluctuating that he's good for today, not good for tomorrow. We feel like once he initiates game activity, he would be able to continue on through it. And really that's part of the protocol of MLB. He's got to be cleared. The protocol has got to be in place before he can get on the field in any capacity in a game, whether it's extended [spring camp], whether it's on a Minor League rehab assignment, anything along those lines."
Farrell has 'successful' first camp as Sox manager
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The rip-snap of packing tape being applied to cardboard boxes echoed throughout the home clubhouse at JetBlue Park on Saturday morning. It was Spring Training getaway day, the end of another Grapefruit League season. First-year Red Sox manager John Farrell looked back and pronounced himself satisfied.
"Overall, I think we've had a successful camp. I think we've been able to integrate the number of players that have been brought in successfully. I think they've understood what we're trying to get done in terms of our approach every night," he said before a 4-2 win over the Twins. "I think overall, it's been a very business-like approach. The attitude has been great, the energy has been consistent. We've had a very concentrated effort on their part. And, again, this goes back to the players being first and foremost. They've set the tone with this."
Coming off a last-place finish that saw them lose 93 games while trading some of the biggest names on the roster, outside expectations going into Monday's regular-season opener at Yankee Stadium aren't high. Second baseman Dustin Pedroia said his expectations haven't changed a bit.
"Absolutely," Pedroia said. "We're trying to win every game, you know? That's it. Our expectations are to go perform the best we can and win as many games as possible. It's the same goal as it's been since I got here, when I got called up in 2006."
Farrell, the one-time Red Sox pitching coach who returned this year after two seasons managing the Blue Jays, said he's comfortable that he's learned enough about what the new position players -- Shane Victorino, Jonny Gomes, Mike Napoli, David Ross, Stephen Drew -- can do to make informed in-game decisions.
"That learning situation will carry on. There's no end date on that," he said. "I mean, we've identified guys we'll look to to do some things strategically, whether it's putting guys in motion or how we'll use the small game. What our abilities are as far as outright stealing bases versus going first to third, which is an overall theme. So there's certainly a better understanding of it today than there was Feb. 10, which is how I'd hoped it would be."
Farrell admitted he was surprised by the play of Jackie Bradley Jr., ranked by MLB.com as the organization's No. 2 prospect.
"Just reading about him and hearing about him, until you see him you don't know fully what to expect," Farrell said. "But that's been a good surprise."
The Red Sox haven't announced whether Bradley, who batted .419 with a 1.120 OPS, will be on the Opening Day roster, which must be submitted by 3 p.m. ET on Sunday. But the 23-year-old was on the charter flight to New York after Saturday's game. To keep him, the front office will have to clear a spot on the 40-man roster.
Red Sox lineup may be altered on daily basis
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Don't look for manager John Farrell to write out the same lineup card day after day this season.
That's because first baseman Mike Napoli has had hip problems that need to be monitored, because the manager wants to get regular rest for catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and because there could be adjustments depending on whether they're facing a left- or right-handed starter.
For example, switch-hitter Shane Victorino has been penciled in as the two-hole hitter. But that could change depending on the situation.
"What I want to be careful of is a string of four right-handers in a row. So that's where Victorino's speed and switch-hitting ability factors in," Farrell said. "I want to give Jonny [Gomes] every opportunity against right-handers as they might enter a game. And if that means being in that sixth, seventh spot allows for that a little bit more readily, it also lengthens out our lineup as well as he's swung the bat this Spring Training.
"Against right-handed starters, we may also see [Daniel] Nava in that two-hole as well. And Shane is well aware of that, that against a right-handed starter he could find himself a little further down the lineup."
The manager said rest for Napoli won't be based on how many games in a row he's played.
"More how he feels and how we'll look to take advantage of certain matchups," Farrell said. "How Nava fits in at first base. Obviously he would be the next guy to spell Mike on a given day. In an initial view we would look to see Nap in a DH role just to get him off his feet on a given day, so that's part of that rotation with the DH slot. [And] obviously Carp is going to see action in that [first-base] role as well."
Farrell added that backup catcher David Ross will probably start the third game of the regular season on Thursday at Yankee Stadium and that "his involvement is going to be somewhat regular" after that.
And, at least until DH David Ortiz returns, it's likely that several players will be moved through the DH spot either to take advantage of a matchup or to give a regular a break.
• The Red Sox released Ryan Sweeney on Saturday, a day after he officially opted out out of his contract. The club also reassigned outfielder Mitch Maier to Triple-A Pawtucket.
• Right-hander John Lackey, who will start the fourth game of the season next Saturday in Toronto, remained in Fort Myers, Fla., when the rest of the team flew to New York. He'll pitch in an intrasquad game Sunday, then rejoin the club.
• The Yankees will be without several prominent names due to injuries when the season opens, including shortstop Derek Jeter, first baseman Mark Teixeira and center fielder Curtis Granderson.
"Regardless of who's in the lineup, you're not taking anything for granted," Boston manager John Farrell said. "Whether it's Teixeira or [Lyle] Overbay at first base, we still have to go out and execute."
Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.