FORT MYERS, Fla. – Red Sox principal owner John Henry reiterated his intentions Monday that he has no plans on selling the franchise.
Meeting with the media at JetBlue Park a day before Boston’s pitchers and catchers report for spring training, Henry spoke on several matters, but was adamant about keeping the rebuilding Red Sox, despite reports to the contrary.
“You just don’t get an opportunity to own something like the Boston Red Sox. As long as we can do it, the three of us are committed to being here,” Henry told reporters, while acknowledging team president Larry Lucchino and chairman Tom Werner. “These thoughts that we’re somehow selling, those are just not true.”
For the second time in as many seasons, Boston will open camp with a new manager. John Farrell replaced Bobby Valentine after the Red Sox finished 69-93 last year, 26 games behind the New York Yankees in the American League East. Since then, GM Ben Cherington has tweaked the roster — the offense figures to get an upgrade with outfielder Shane Victorino and first baseman Mike Napoli in the fold — and Henry appears to like what he sees … on paper.
“I would say, especially in comparison to last year, I should be optimistic. You have to be optimistic we won’t have the same kind of injuries we had last year. You have to be optimistic that if nothing else, we’ll be healthier than we were last year.”
INDIANS: Free-agent outfielder Michael Bourn agreed to a four-year, $48 million contract with Cleveland.
Bourn, an All-Star with Atlanta last season, must pass a physical later this week in Goodyear, Ariz., before the deal can be completed. Bourn batted .274 with nine homers, 57 RBI and 42 steals last season for the Braves.
ATHLETICS: Free agent left-hander Hideki Okajima agreed to a minor league contract with Oakland.
The deal is pending a physical, which could take place as soon as Tuesday.
Okajima spent the 2007-11 seasons with the Boston Red Sox, then signed a minor league deal with the New York Yankees and was released at the start of spring training when he failed a physical.
ROCKIES: Speedy outfielder Dexter Fowler and Colorado avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year, $11.6 million contract.
REDS: Outfielder Shin-Soo Choo and Cincinnati agreed on a one-year contract for $7,375,000.
Choo made $4.9 million last season with Cleveland, which traded him to the Reds as part of a three-team deal in December. The Reds plan to start him in center field in place of Drew Stubbs — who went to the Indians — and bat him leadoff.
TEAMS WILL have new batting practice caps this year, many with two or three colors and some with nontraditional logos.
Among the designs are caps featuring Mr. Met, the Oakland Athletics’ elephant, the Cincinnati Reds’ mascot and the Colorado Rockies’ mountain logo. The Toronto Blue Jays have a maple leaf.
YANKEES: Derek Jeter ran for the first time since breaking his left ankle in October, another step toward being in the lineup on opening day.
Jeter, 38, jogged on a treadmill at the Yankees’ minor league complex a day before pitchers and catcher report to spring training.
• Yogi Berra, 87, is not going to spring training because his travel is limited.
David Kaplan, the director of the Yogi Berra Museum, said in an email that Berra’s health was pretty good and that Berra plans on attending games at Yankee Stadium. Berra lives in New Jersey.
PIRATES: Francisco Liriano reported to spring training camp, but it will be at least another month before he throws his first pitch.
Liriano will spend the next four weeks rehabilitating the broken humerus in his right arm.