Spring Fort-itude: What happened with the Red Sox in Fort Myers on Friday

February 22, 2014 - 4:31 am

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Little by little, real baseball is getting closer. Friday marked a tantalizing hint of what's to come, with batters standing at the plate for live batting practice against Red Sox pitchers. With the veterans being held back on a somewhat deliberate program, the focus of the day fell on the talented inventory of Red Sox prospects. One could navigate between fields and gain glimpses of what the Red Sox hope will be a fairly compelling ensemble of talents, with Brandon Workman, Drake Britton, Allen Webster, Rubby De La Rosa, Anthony Ranaudo, Matt Barnes and Henry Owens all offering hints of what kind of stuff they possess. Those starved for a look at pitchers throwing off the mound can click here for a look at lefties Britton and Owens and right-hander Ranaudo. One longtime evaluator watching Owens likened his frame to that of 17-year big-leaguer and five-time All-Star Chuck Finley, a 6-foot-6 left-hander who was a standout for the Angels at a time when Owens was a wee lad in Southern California. (Finley left the Angels for the Indians after the 1999 season, when Owens was 7 years old.) As for the news of the day... -- Red Sox CEO and president Larry Lucchino confirmed that team officials and owners met with David Ortiz and his agent, Fernando Cuza, on Friday to discuss the slugger's contract status. Lucchino said that the team is "eager to resolve something if it can be done" with Ortiz. He also said that the team plans to talk to Jon Lester about a possible extension later this spring. More from Lucchino on the possibility of continuing the relationship with both players, along with the decision to let Jacoby Ellsbury leave in free agency, is here. -- The Red Sox and Yankees engaged in the sort of rhetorical flourishes that make for good days in tabloid sales. Lucchino, in describing the difference between the operating models of the Red Sox and Yankees, suggested his New York competitors had reverted to their "inimitable, old-fashioned" ways of spending big on free agents (in contrast to the Sox' model of targeting players who required commitments of lesser years and dollars). Yankees counterpart Randy Levine fired back, suggesting that Lucchino "constantly sees ghosts and is spooked by the Yankees." -- Manager John Farrell said that the Red Sox will benefit from the flexibility offered by left-hander Chris Capuano, who is currently slated for a bullpen role with the Sox but who can also provide rotation depth. Capuano will receive a $2.25 million base; incentives in his deal could push the value of the contract to $5 million, but those are based on work as a starter. The 35-year-old is expected to be introduced by the Red Sox later today; a 40-man roster spot will be cleared for him by placing Ryan Dempster on the restricted list. -- The close-knit nature of the Red Sox clubhouse nearly led to an offseason mutiny inspired by the uncertain nature of Mike Napoli's contract status. David Ross, in an unintentional double entendre, characterized the situation as having gotten "pretty hairy." Napoli, meanwhile, discussed his appreciation for all things Boston -- and his hope that he might once again fill up Twitter timelines with images of celebration. For that story, click here.