John Farrell immediately named Joel Hanrahan his closer after the Red Sox acquired him in a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates. We already knew why it was Hanrahan, and not Andrew Bailey, who got the nod -- Hanrahan is a year from free agency, both the Sox and Bucs think he's better in save situations than non-save ones, etc. -- but we never really found out why Farrell made the call so soon. Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal heard why, from Farrell himself:
Going into the 2011 season, Farrell had three relievers with closing experience available to him -- Octavio Dotel, Frank Francisco and Jon Rauch. Injuries to Dotel and Francisco left Rauch to close games at the start of the season, but things got complicated when Dotel and Francisco returned before the end of April.
"Once everyone got healthy, how those pitchers were recruited (in the offseason) was in an open competition," Farrell said. "Then that started to happen during the season, and it started to create a little uncertainty with those guys late in the game."
Francisco in particular didn't handle the situation well, even blowing up in the clubhouse after a game in early July.
Basically, Farrell hopes to avoid controversy by simplifying things, making Hanrahan the closer, and Bailey the closer-in-waiting, should Hanrahan be hurt, traded, whatever. No competition, no job share, just an old-fashioned hierarchy. If it keeps the relievers happy and productive and settled and non-explosive, then hey, go with it.
Jacoby Ellsbury and Mark Hamilton will not be playing on Wednesday, thanks to what was referred to as "intestinal turmoil." It sounds like it's an illness going around camp, as Ellsbury had it first, and Hamilton has since picked it up. Somebody quarantine these two in a room with flat ginger ale and saltines before they infect the whole club.
Seriously, though, if Jacoby Ellsbury misses the 2013 season because he's caught the zombie flu and then he bites teammates and the Red Sox miss out on the playoffs because of it well... I guess that would be a fitting end to his time here. Just don't bite the kids, Jacoby.
David Ortiz successfully finished some baserunning drills, which we can only assume are judged by whether or not he falls on the ground clutching his Achilles in pain. (He did not! Success!) Despite this, while John Farrell might be encouraged, he's not going to push Ortiz too hard to be game-ready. From ESPN Boston:
...the manager said before Tuesday's exhibition against Team Puerto Rico that the team is not going to push Ortiz into action until he's ready.
Farrell said the team is hopeful that Ortiz can play in a game by the end of the week, but "we're not going to rush this as far as a date this week on the calendar."
And really, that's fine. Let Ortiz work his way back, let him get his swings in when the time is right for that. It's preferable that he has a slow week or two to start the season due to a lack of spring training at-bats than it is for him to push too hard to come back and mess up his Achilles once more. It's obviously a tough spot to be injured in, and it's already cost him months and months of games -- let it heal, work back at a steady pace, and the Sox will be glad to have you once you're back.