With Opening Day less than a month away and the home opener a couple of weeks after that, the Boston Red Sox are gearing up for the regular season with Spring Training. So far, the team has only played a handful of games, so few conclusions can be drawn from the sample size. Despite such a small sample size, here are a few notes from Grapefruit League action so far this year.
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Second base prospect Sean Coyle has made a few appearances at third base for the Red Sox this Spring. Previously, Coyle experimented with the position with the Portland Sea Dogs last year while top Mookie Betts held down Coyle’s natural position.
Last year, Coyle struggled at the position, booting six balls in 18 games— but it is clear that the team wants to add to his versatility so that they can get his bat in their lineup sometime down the road. That same year, he hit .295 with a .371 on-base percentage and 40 extra base hits (including 16 home runs) in 97 games for the Red Sox AA affiliate.
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Manager John Farrell stated that he has been impressed by right-handed pitcher Matt Barnes from what he has seen during Red Sox spring training. Topping out at 97 MPH in relief, he could be a dark horse candidate for a relief spot this season. So far he has made just one appearance this year and he tossed a pair of scoreless frames while punching out three.
When the Red Sox scrimmaged the Northeastern Huskies last Tuesday, it was Huskies pitcher Aaron Civale that shined the brightest of any player at JetBlue Park. The reliever threw two scoreless frames, facing quite possibly the toughest part of the Red Sox lineup. Striking out David Ortiz, Hanley Ramirez, Mike Napoli and Xander Bogaerts, he had a game he will not forget anytime soon.
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Desperate for a spot on the Red Sox, switch-hitting outfielder Daniel Nava is only hitting from the left side of the plate now and is taking extra reps at first base which he has only played occasionally these past two seasons. He will do whatever it takes to keep his spot on this Red Sox team and looks to make the team over former Cardinals first baseman/outfielder Allen Craig.