Joy R. Absalon-US PRESSWIRE
Notes from spring training on Felix Doubront's shoulder, Xander Bogaerts in the WBC, and Boston's potential backup first basemen
Thanks to shoulder weakness, Felix Doubront is going to ramp his workload up more slowly than the rest of his rotation mates. However, things apparently are not serious enough for the Red Sox to shut him down completely in order to accomplish this goal. According to Mike Petraglia of WEEI.com, Doubront was a late add for Boston's bullpen sessions today.
Doubront dealt with shoulder weakness in August of 2012, during his first full season as a starter in the majors. However, after returning to regular action, he looked much sharper and rested, resulting in plenty of strikeouts and a more efficient run to close out the year. The Red Sox would like more of that, so they are not likely to push Doubront harder than he should be given the shoulder weakness. That's why it's good to see that things are maybe not as serious as they potentially sounded a day ago.
One concern with Xander Bogaerts joining the Netherlands for the World Baseball Classic is where he would play. The team was loaded with young up-and-coming shortstops, Bogaerts' current position. The Red Sox didn't want him playing in the outfield, though -- after all, they haven't even decided if that will ever be in his future with Boston. They've decided on positions he can play now that he's shown up to camp, however. Bogaerts can play third for the Netherlands in the WBC, or he can be the team's designated hitter.
Third might not be where he ends up on the Sox, now or ever, but it at least keeps him in the infield. The Red Sox plan to use Bogaerts at third during the spring a bit, so he doesn't go into the WBC without experience at the position.
Lyle Overbay was signed to a minor-league deal with a non-roster invite, but, as the only potentially capable backup first baseman and defender under contract at the moment, he's very likely to make the team so long as he's healthy. Nick Cafardo had two points on Overbay on Twitter yesterday, in regards to this:
Lyle Overbay feels he has his swing back thanks to Don BaylorHe has also discussed with Red Sox possibility of playing some OF— Nick Cafardo (@nickcafardo) February 12, 2013
It's the spring, and optimism abounds rightfully or not, so until we see Overbay hitting like we used to, we can discount the first bit. The second, however, might be a key. If the Sox carry Overbay on the 25-man roster, then they will only have room for four full-time outfielders. If Overbay can play a better emergency left field than Jonny Gomes can play it on a regular day, however, then maybe he has some utility added to his resume, and improves his chances of sticking on the roster.
In a similar vein, Daniel Nava, as expected, took grounders at first base yesterday, despite his outfield status. Overbay is the backup first baseman if he makes the squad, but having someone else on the roster who can stand at the position as necessary beats the alternative.