That’s Adrian Beltre above schmoozing with two of his new teammates, David Ortiz and Manny Delcarmen on a cold, drizzly day in Fort Myers. Beltre had just gotten done taking BP against Delcarmen, although “taking BP” is actually a misnomer. He simply stood in and gauged the pitches without swinging.
(Turns out “drizzly” is a misnomer as well — it’s now pouring).
Beltre, believe it or not, has already had a freak injury that’s kept him out of two days of camp. On Wednesday, while trying to swat a ball out of his way with his glove, he missed, stepped on the ball, and twisted his right ankle.The last two days, he’s been limited to hitting in the cage. But he’s fine today, and was participating fully in drills, including fielding practice.
“We were trying to slow him down, and he’s a hard guy to slow down,” manager Terry Francona said afterward.
I had a good talk with Beltre before the workout that I’ll write up in a column for Sunday’s paper. I don’t want to give away the good stuff, but he talked about the negotiations this past winter, the tribulations of playing at Safeco, and the frustrations of last year’s injury-riddled season. Here’s how he summed up his five years in Seattle:
“The fans were great. I played with a lot of great guys, had a lot of fun. It was not easy to part ways with them. The guys are talented. The last couple of years, the coaching staff was great, too. It’s something not easy to find in baseball. I wish them the best. Don Wakamatsu was great to me. I think he’s going to be great over there. I think he going to be there for awhile, and he’s probably he’s going to be the manager that takes them over the hump to be a playoff team. I wish them the best, and there’s no doubt they have the team now to do something special now.”
With Beltre at third and free agent signeeMike Cameron in center (causing Jacoby Ellsbury to move to left, where the departed Jason Bay played last year), the Red Sox made a distinct move to upgrade their defense. Mike Lowell, the man Beltre replaces at third, is still in camp — the Red Sox couldn’t find anyone to take him after Texas nixed a trade when it was discovered Lowell had a torn ligament in his right thumb — so it’s a potentially awkward situation. But Beltre is heaping praise on Lowell, and vice versa.
Also in camp is Bill Hall, whom the Red Sox acquired from Seattle on Jan. 7 in the Casey Kotchman trade. Hall, who spent just two months with the Mariners after arriving from Milwaukee, said he was surprised by the trade. Marred by a quadriceps injury, Hall hit just .200 in 120 at-bats with the Mariners.
“I was happy with the way things went,”’ he said. “Obviously, it didn’t finish how I’d like. I got a little injured. I talked to Jack (Zduriencik) and all those guys, and they were pleased with what I did and appreciated it. They wanted to bring me back, but Jack told me it came up to get Kotchman. He said, ‘We don’t have a first baseman, we had to go out and make this thing happen.’ He said, I definitely don’t’ think this is the end.’ So who knows, I could return in the far future.”
I talked to Cameron, too, and I’ll write that up in the later blog post. Here’s Cameron and Hall together while waiting to take BP:
Here’s one more scene that caught my eye today: Red Sox GM Theo Epstein signing autographs while in the background, another New England legend, Peter Gammons, waits to go on the air in his new role as an NESN analyst.