Spring Fort-itude: What happened to the Red Sox in Fort Myers on Thursday

February 21, 2014 - 4:52 am

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Thursday marked, in a sense, the beginning of the 2014 season for the Boston Red Sox. The entirety of the group in big league camp convened with manager John Farrell, the coaching staff, the front office and members of team ownership at the start of the day to set the tone for the coming year.

The message? The accomplishments of 2013 were remarkable. They're a thing of the past. There are no guarantees in the Sox' quest to win again, but what the team can repeat is the process, intensity and attention to detail that yielded a title. That was Farrell's message, and it's been echoed by everyone in the organization, including the general manager.

"The only thing that I'€™ve heard out of players and staff is that sort of relentless focus on today, and that'€™s what we need to be about. we need to be about making sure we do everything we can to give ourselves a chance to be the best we can," said GM Ben Cherington. "We won'€™t worry about outcomes, that kind of thing. We'€™ll let that kind of thing take care of itself. From a team standpoint, that'€™s what I'€™m looking for '€“ that'€™s what we'€™re all looking for. So far, that'€™s exactly what we'€™ve seen."

So what does that mean? Well, the first hints of "relentless focus on today" came when four of the Red Sox' rotation members -- Jon Lester, John Lackey, Jake Peavy and Clay Buchholz -- engaged in spirited competition (which may or may not have included some friendly wagers) in the spring ragball drills, in which PawSox pitching coach Rich Sauveur hammers liners and comebackers with a soft ball at the pitchers to heighten their reflexes.

"We had action going on there," beamed Lackey. "I think that's the personal pride thing. We like to get after it. We like to compete. We ride each other, motivate each other. I think all of that comes together in a great clubhouse atmosphere, obviously. We legitimately have some great friends on the team, and we have fun together."

A few news items to note:

-- The Red Sox reached an agreement on a one-year deal with left-hander Chris Capuano, who effectively replaces Ryan Dempster as the Sox' sixth starter while also providing potentially impactful southpaw bullpen depth. The deal came on the one-year anniversary of the trade for Mike Carp; it's an awfully Carp-ish move, too, offering a window into the operational strategy of the Red Sox.

-- Red Sox officials and owners met with David Ortiz and his agent, Fernando Cuza. According to a source familiar with the negotiations, the meeting represented an initial conversation and did not include a formal contract offer.

-- Red Sox GM Ben Cherington offered a non-update update on shortstop Stephen Drew.

-- Outfielder Daniel Nava said that he is happy to hit anywhere in the Red Sox lineup.

-- Catcher David Ross, in an interview on WEEI's Dennis & Callahan show, spoke highly of left-hander Henry Owens, the top prospect in the Red Sox farm system.

-- Sox chairman Tom Werner said that former NESN Red Sox reporter Jenny Dell is free to leave the network after she and the network decided that it would be a "distraction" for her to continue covering the club due to her relationship with Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks.