FORT MYERS, Fla. — Opening Day for the Boston Red Sox is exactly three weeks away, and the club still has plenty of work to do as it prepares for what it hopes is another championship season.
But what exactly are the Red Sox looking to accomplish over the final three weeks of spring training? Manager John Farrell was asked that question before Monday’s Grapefruit League game against the Tampa Bay Rays, and the Red Sox skipper listed the following as points of emphasis.
-Get the Red Sox’s starting pitchers built up to an appropriate number of pitches inside a given game.
The Red Sox’s starters still are getting into the swing of things, especially a couple of veterans — particularly Jon Lester and John Lackey — who have been brought along slowly because of last season’s heavy workloads related to the team’s World Series run. The Red Sox will need those guys to continue to get stronger and build up their pitch counts.
-Get all of the expected everyday players at least 55-65 at-bats.
Obviously, lineups tend to fluctuate during spring training. But Farrell clearly has set goals when it comes to position players’ playing time.
-Get Shane Victorino — and everyone else, for that matter — past any “physical challenges” they’ve faced in camp.
Victorino is making his spring training debut Monday, and some other players — including David Ross, A.J. Pierzynski and Daniel Nava — have suffered bumps and bruises this spring. Health remains a top priority for Boston.
-Get a more accurate read on Grady Sizemore’s status.
Sizemore has been one of the biggest surprises of spring training. He has cleared every physical hurdle he has faced to this point, but there still are strides that need to be made before Opening Day. Those strides include playing in back-to-back games, which the veteran outfielder is scheduled to do for the first time this week.