Red Sox Notes: John Farrell Reveals ‘Closer B,’ Core Of Boston Bullpen

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Boston Red Sox’s first full-squad workout isn’t until Wednesday, but you’d never know it.

According to Red Sox manager John Farrell, 55 of the 57 players invited to major league spring training already have arrived. David Ortiz and Allen Craig are the only two who haven’t.

Saturday marked the first official workout for pitchers and catchers, but position players also took the field. Several players, including Mookie Betts and Rusney Castillo, took batting practice, and the entire infield ran through drills.

Let’s run down some additional notes.

— The Red Sox announced that Farrell signed a contract extension through the 2017 season. The deal also includes a club option for 2018.

Farrell, who had been entering the final year of his previous deal, said he’s “ecstatic” about everything coming together. Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said he hopes and expects Farrell to be Boston’s manager for a “long time.”

— Dustin Pedroia arrived at camp. He still sounds like a man on a mission.

Pedroia had a funny quote regarding Major League Baseball’s new rules governing pace of play:

“My kids go to bed at 8, so I’m not in a rush. I don’t make the rules, I don’t break them. That’s kind of where I’m at.”

— Pedroia was asked about the Red Sox’s inability to re-sign Jon Lester. He echoed some of the same sentiments he expressed last month when asked about Lester’s departure.

“He’s a big loss. He’s pitched some huge games for us. We got to know him real well,” Pedroia said. “He was one of those guys you never really had to worry about. You knew what he was going to do coming in each season — reliable — but we’re going to have to find other guys to step up and fill that role that he filled.”

— Joe Kelly drew some laughs while playing long toss with Justin Masterson.

— Farrell said the coaching staff already has noticed a difference in shortstop Xander Bogaerts’ first-step quickness. Bogaerts said last month it was a point of emphasis for him over the offseason.

— Pablo Sandoval again shrugged off the “controversy” surrounding his weight. He defended his conditioning and said he’ll use the chatter as motivation.

Panda did, however, issue a challenge to the photographer who took the unflattering photo that created this week’s Internet firestorm.

— Farrell said Friday that Shane Victorino, if healthy, will be the Red Sox’s starting right fielder. So, what does that mean for Mookie Betts and Rusney Castillo?

Well, Farrell didn’t offer much of an explanation, other than to say both outfielders will be exposed to center field and right field this spring. The skipper said it’s a luxury — not a problem — to have so many good outfielders.

— The Red Sox might need to monitor Koji Uehara’s workload more closely this season given that he’ll be 40 years old come Opening Day and is coming off a season in which he dealt with a physical issue down the stretch.

It’s worth noting, however, that Uehara insists on pitching whenever he gets loose in the bullpen. In other words, if he starts warming up in the eighth inning with the Red Sox leading by a run and Boston scores six more, the right-hander still wants to enter the game.

Farrell said there were only three instances in 2013 in which Uehara warmed up but did not pitch. Farrell estimated that it probably happened 5-7 times last season.

— No surprise here. But on days when Uehara is unavailable, Edward Mujica will serve as Boston’s “closer B,” according to Farrell.

— Farrell pointed to Uehara, Mujica, Junichi Tazawa, Craig Breslow and Alexi Ogando as being the core of the Red Sox’s bullpen.

“That’s not to slight any other name or not include them in the group, but I feel like we’ve got a couple of positions that are in competition for,” Farrell said.

Anthony Varvaro, Robbie Ross and Brandon Workman are among those competing for the final spots in Boston’s ‘pen.

— Farrell suggested that Workman and Ogando could have a “major impact” in the Red Sox’s bullpen.

Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@BostonGlobe

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