February 12, 2013

What disaster? Red Sox ready to turn page in 2013

New manager John Farrell hopes to hit a home run with a team similar to the one that Bobby Valentine struck out with last season.

The Associated Press

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The truck full of Boston Red Sox baseball gear departs Fenway Park in Boston for Spring Training in Florida on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013. Red Sox fans turned out for 'Truck Day' at Fenway, the day the team sends off its equipment to Florida in preparation for spring training. Pitchers and catchers formally report to spring training a week from today but already, some players have been working out in Fort Myers. (AP Photo/The Boston Herald, Angela Rowlings)

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Boston Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks greets fans outside Fenway Park on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013, in Boston. Red Sox fans turned out for 'Truck Day' at Fenway, the day the team sends off its equipment to Florida in preparation for spring training. Pitchers and catchers formally report to spring training a week from today but already, some players have been working out in Fort Myers. (AP Photo/The Boston Herald, Angela Rowlings)

"A lot of players had a lot of issues with our manager last year," Ortiz said. "We have a new manager, a guy that's familiar with the organization, a guy that we've pretty much grown up around. An organization, a team, is like the human body. If the head is right, the body is going to function right. But if the head is messed up, then the body is going to be all over the place.

"I'm pretty sure that everyone is looking at that as a positive move. And now it's a like a fresh start. We're going back to basics with a manager like John."

Others, however, chose to stray from the Valentine excuse.

"None," said second baseman Dustin Pedroia, when asked how much blame should be placed on Valentine. "He didn't play. It's the players. Bobby didn't go out there and get any hits or make any errors or do any of that. We lost those games. It's on us.

"We've got to do everything better than we did last year."

The Red Sox lost nine of their final 10 games last season, and finished 26 games behind the New York Yankees, who won the American League East.

"(Last season) was difficult. We had a tough time. We lost a lot of games," Pedroia said. "So I think everybody's motivated to make sure that doesn't happen again. We got in a lot of new guys. I think a lot of guys are excited. So there's going to be a lot of different things going on. Everyone just has to do what they do. Don't try to do too much."

One of the new players is catcher David Ross, who returns to the Red Sox after a brief eight-game stint in Boston in 2008. Ross, who turns 36 in March and is a veteran of 11 seasons, was the team's first offseason signing.

"At this point in my career, I'm not trying to put up any Hall of Fame numbers or anything. I just want to win," he said. "I feel like this place gave me the best chance. I think they were still undecided on what they were going to do when they were talking to me. They asked, 'Do you care who you play alongside or back up or whatever your role is?' I said 'I was going to try to be the best teammate I can and work hard on the days I play.'

"I'm going to do the best I can to win and support whoever my teammate is. That's kind of how I was raised. I feel like that's the right thing to do."

It's that kind of attitude the Red Sox hope catches on.

 

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