Special guest Pedroia inspires at Sox camp

February 22nd, 2021

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- One of the traditions of Spring Training for the Red Sox is the annual company meeting that takes place on the day of the first full-squad workout. It includes ownership and the front office, plus the entire roster and coaching staff.

And on Monday, the annual meeting included a special guest who appeared live on the video scoreboard in center field.

On the three-week anniversary of his retirement announcement, Dustin Pedroia reminded his team that he can still be a presence.

What sparked the thought for Pedroia to speak to his former teammates were his inspiring words in his retirement press conference.

“I thought about it the other day. [Chief baseball officer] Chaim [Bloom] talked about Dustin’s press conference and what he said, and I believe it was good timing for him to talk to [the players],” said Red Sox manager Alex Cora.

“He is who he is. He’s going to be a part of this organization for the rest of his life and for how great it was for us, I know it was great for him, which is very important to me. I’m glad he was available and he was part of it.”

Chairman Tom Werner, Bloom and Cora were among the others who spoke at the meeting, which took place outdoors at JetBlue Park.

“We talked about a few things,” said Cora. “Expectations, trust, family environment. It was a good one. To have the whole crew here, it was fun to see it. It was a day we’ve been waiting for and now we can take off.”

Cora, who wasn’t with the Red Sox last season due to his association with the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal, wanted to keep details of his speech to the team private. But he indicated it was very personal.

“I’m usually very open about these meetings with you guys. With this one, I’m going to keep it to myself,” said Cora. “It was a special one. It was a good one. I sent a message that I wanted to. But with this one, it was very personal for me, so I’ll keep it to myself. Sorry about that.”

Franchy delayed
, the outfielder the Red Sox acquired from the Royals for Andrew Benintendi, was absent from the first full-squad workout.

Later in the day, the Red Sox revealed why when they placed him on the Covid-19 related injury list. Cordero, who is still in the Dominican Republic, joins backup catcher Kevin Plawecki as the second Boston player to go on the Covid injury list so far this spring.

The Sox made two other roster moves on Monday. Catcher Jett Bandy, who is in the team’s Minor League system, was added to the Spring Training roster as a non-roster player. Bandy, a non-roster invitee last spring, spent all of 2020 at the club’s alternate site.

Boston also claimed righty Joel Payamps off waivers from the Blue Jays. Payamps has pitched in four Major League games in his career, all with the D-backs, posting a 3.86 ERA.

Vázquez in ‘best shape of his life’
Every spring, and on every team, there is a player in camp who is in “the best shape of his life.”

Cora said on Monday that player for his team is catcher , and he was adamant that this wasn’t just lip service.

“Christian put work in this offseason,” said Cora. “You guys will see him and you will see the pictures, and he is in his best shape of his life. He put work in [at his home] in Miami. He got the Rapsodo [pitching machine] and other machines, and all cool stuff, to invest in himself. And you know, we had a lot of conversations in the offseason about receiving, calling games. [He is] trying to lead this pitching staff to be good, to be great. And we're gonna challenge him.”

Under the lights
The Red Sox will add a new twist to Wednesday’s workout, holding it in the afternoon and evening instead of the usual morning time.

Part of the workout from Fenway South will air live on NESN at 7 p.m. ET. Cora will take part in the broadcast, along with some select players. The show will feature players wearing microphones during the workout. NESN host Tom Caron and analyst Jim Rice will run the show from the NESN studios in Massachusetts.