FORT MYERS, Fla. -- There are starting pitchers out there who avoid the American League like the plague, knowing that it is a far more offensive-minded institution. But Ryan Dempster, who signed with the Red Sox as a free agent this winter, is the type of competitor who looks at such a challenge and says, "Bring it on."
Aside from his two-month rental with the Rangers last summer after a trade from the Cubs, Dempster has spent his entire career in the National League.
"Anyone who says it's no different, believe me, it is different," Dempster said. "You're not facing a pitcher. You're facing a David Ortiz. You're facing a Mark Teixeira. You have somebody plugged in to that spot who is a bona-fide middle-of-the-order hitter.
"You know it does change, but at the same time, your goal as a pitcher is to just execute as many quality pitches as possible. If you throw 100 pitches in a game, and you execute 90 of those pitches, you're going to have success.
"The less pitches you execute, no matter who you're facing, you're not going to have as much success. I think that comes down to preparing, practicing to do it and then maintaining your focus -- never letting up. I think that's the most important thing, is it's kind of a fun and exciting challenge."
Manager John Farrell noted that Dempster's numbers with the Rangers last season (7-3, 5.09 ERA) were a little misleading.
"After the first five starts he had with Texas, if you look at the last seven, he pitched pretty darn well," Farrell said. "You don't have that nine-hole hitter to have a little bit of a breather [in the AL]. It's apparent he made that adjustment successfully in those last seven starts. He's been every effective against left-handed hitters. This is someone that has been successful and he's been healthy, and we're expecting upwards of 180 to 200 innings out of him."
Victorino to work extensively with Ellsbury
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Shane Victorino is the only Red Sox position player who is playing in the World Baseball Classic. Because he's a newcomer to the team, manager John Farrell will try to get the right fielder as many reps as possible alongside center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury in the early weeks of camp.
Victorino will report to Team USA on March 1.
"In Victorino's case, we're going to be sitting on 12, 14 days max [before the Classic], and the time that he and Jacoby spend together in the outfield to me is going to be critical," Farrell said. "Their understanding of how much range each has and their communication, with Shane moving to right field full time, that time that they do have in camp will be critical as far as the reps together."
Alfredo Aceves (Team Mexico) is the other significant Sox player who will be pitching in the Classic.
"We had intended to stretch him out as a starter here [anyway]," said Farrell. "We haven't gotten confirmation yet, but we believe he's going to start for the Mexican national team. We're hopeful that he is. We'll start him through camp, and provided everyone gets through Spring Training who is projected to be in our rotation healthy, we can easily pull him back later in camp [for a relief role]. Same with Franklin [Morales]."
Farrell looks forward to running Red Sox
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Throughout their history, the Red Sox have never been known much for their speed, but under new manager John Farrell, Boston should, at the very least, be one of the most aggressive baserunning teams in the American League.
Farrell confirmed Monday that baserunning will be a priority throughout camp.
"For the position players, the one thing that might be a little bit different is just the time and effort we put into the baserunning -- from the new terminology that will be implemented to what we expect," Farrell said. "There are certain things that might be done in a controlled setting and not be done with reckless abandon by any means, but there will probably be a greater emphasis on that than what they've been exposed to in the past."
Jacoby Ellsbury has been an elite baserunner during his career. Dustin Pedroia and Shane Victorino also like to run, but what Farrell is trying to create is a state of mind for his baserunners.
"What we'll try to do is put pressure on the defense, as far as our first to thirds," Farrell said. "They're going to be dealing with a new third-base coach, a new first-base coach. There's a lot of things that we have to cover, and that's the in-game terminology that takes place that others might not be aware of. When a guy gets to first base, how is [first-base coach] Arnie [Beyeler] going to talk to him? Both verbal and non-verbal. There's a lot of things that we'll go through that will be in chalk-talk sessions to drill work to ultimately going out on the field."
Doubront, Breslow to take it slow early in camp
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- All Red Sox pitchers and catchers underwent physicals on Monday, and there were no red flags, but manager John Farrell did say that left-handers Felix Doubront and Craig Breslow will be on a more conservative program than the other pitchers.
This was not due to anything that came up in the physicals, but rather from symptoms during long toss.
Doubront is projected as one of Boston's five starters. Breslow will be a key lefty out of the bullpen.
"Both of those guys will be a little bit held back," Farrell said. "More precautionary than anything. Again, when they got aggressive in their long-toss program, there was some sensation in there, a little bit of irritation. We want to be clear that it's not an injury situation. It's just precautionary at this point. With the additional time, an additional week in Spring Training with the WBC, we're going to take advantage of it early."