Westmoreland, considered one of the organization's top prospects, has the entire Nation behind him and his family during his road to recovery.
What’s the prognosis for Ryan Westmoreland? Is there a timetable for his return?
–Kelly, Portland, Maine
The Red Sox have kept the media abreast of his very personal and dangerous procedure. There is no timetable for his return as it appears he has just been moved from the intensive care unit. First and foremost, his well-being of day-to-day life is most important, and it sounds as if some arduous rehab and physical work are ahead. As was the case with Jon Lester, baseball for now is in the rearview mirror. Life takes precedence, and baseball, hopefully, will be a part of his life to follow down the road. I know all of Rhode Island has embraced this guy as a player and prospect, and now hopes that he will be well.
Have you heard any trade rumors in Fort Myers? Is Boof Bonser on the block? Do you believe the Phillies and Cardinals really discussed a Ryan Howard-for-Albert Pujols swap?
–Tim, Westfield, Mass.
It’s always tough to decipher fact from fiction when it comes to deals. There are too many media outlets now — accredited or otherwise — that create these rumors that are never true. Maybe there was something to the Howard-for-Pujols thing, but until something actually happens, it's tough to really gauge the reality.
That said, there does appear to be interest in Boof Bonser, who is back from missing last season due to surgery. Right now, Bonser appears to be headed to the Red Sox' bullpen and could be used as a spot starter. In the past, however, Terry Francona has been reluctant to keep a long man. Kyle Snyder was the last that I can think of.
Were you surprised by the signing of Alan Embree?
–Rachel, Hong Kong
No doubt. I did not see him as being in the Red Sox' plans and sort of lost track of him after he fractured his leg. He threw a bullpen session for the coaches Saturday, and by all accounts, things went well. He is signed to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training. We are late in spring, and that is maybe the only thing that holds him off the roster to start the season. If he can return to some form of his past self, especially velocity wise, this would be a great pickup. The others battling for the final bullpen spot had to take notice. Brian Shouse, Joe Nelson and Scott Atchison all appear to be battling for that spot. Embree's arrival in camp probably was hard for them to see, as the battle may have just gotten tougher for them to secure a roster spot.
What team looks better than you expected?
–Hugo, Woburn, Mass.
I am sticking with the Orioles. The team they will have was not sent to City of Palms this weekend but will be a formidable foe. The Red Sox will not be able to repeat their 16-2 performance from the past against the O’s. The additions of Garrett Atkins, Kevin Millwood, Mike Gonzalez and Miguel Tajada added to strong players like Nick Markakis, Adam Jones and Matt Wieters means they will hit and compete. Maybe not Red Sox-Yankees compete, but there is no doubt it will make for tougher season series for all of the AL East teams.
How important are spring stats and wins? Do they matter at all?
–Liam M., Tampa Bay, Fla.
I think it is tough to quantify as an evaluator when you are dealing with spring training. The hitters are facing Single-A and Double-A pitching for much of the game, and pitchers at times are facing lower minor league players. Also, guys are working on conditioning, timing, and sometimes are injecting new things into their game as a test period, so it is tough to really get a gauge on a player during the spring. There have been teams that have overvalued what a player has done in the exhibition season only to send him back down when the real season starts. Wins and losses are irrelevant by my estimation.
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