FORT MYERS, Fla. — As the Red Sox gathered for their first full-squad workout on Friday, two important players spent most of the time watching.
Designated hitter David Ortiz and first baseman Mike Napoli were part-time participants because of injuries. Ortiz is still recovering from an Achilles’ tendon strain that occurred in July and Napoli is being held back because of a condition in his hips.
Both took batting practice and did some throwing. But that was it, there was no running or defensive work. Ortiz did do some agility drills off to the side.
“He feels not only getting stronger, but with each passing day there’s less hesitancy to be a little more agile, a little more explosive,” manager John Farrell said of Ortiz, who isn’t very agile and explosive when fully healthy.
“I know that’s a relative statement,” Farrell said with a smile, “but he’s making good progress.”
Napoli had an MRI as part of his physical on Thursday. He was found to have avascular necrosis in December, a disease that restricts the blood flow into his bones. Napoli has reported no symptoms, but the Red Sox and his personal physician wanted a follow-up examination done.
Once Napoli is cleared, which is the expected outcome, he will be able to run and work in the field. The Red Sox will not use him as a catcher, however. He will play only first base.
Napoli was left standing with the coaching staff as his teammates ran the bases and did conditioning drills.
“It’s just something I have to deal with,” Napoli said. “I want to be out there and I will be. We’re making sure we handle this the right way.”
With spring training starting a week early because of the World Baseball Classic, the Red Sox are confident that Napoli and Ortiz will have sufficient time to be ready for Opening Day on April 1.
Farrell was asked how long it has taken new left fielder Jonny Gomes to assert himself as a personality in the clubhouse.
“Based on what I’ve seen since he’s been here? Not real long,” the manager said. “In a good way. He’s very genuine. It’s very clear what his passion is and how he views himself as a player.
“There’s a sense of history about him just in conversation about the game and certainly what he has talked about with the Red Sox. It hasn’t taken him long. One, he feels comfortable in his own skin, and two, it makes him feel very comfortable in a new setting. That’s being shown right now.”
Righthander Alfredo Aceves said he took a few weeks off after last season, then started a program that involved working out five days a week, resting on Saturday and then playing for a local team in Mexico on Sunday.
Aceves said he played for “The Banditos” and proudly showed off his hat, which featured a masked man on the front.
Did Aceves pitch for the team?
“I pitched the last game,” he said. “I usually just played.”
He played the field?
“Yeah, sometimes. It was a good league. Some of the guys threw 90.”
Aceves was then asked how he felt about the Red Sox.
“Good question,” he said. “I’m excited. I think we can have a good team, even after everything that happened last season. I feel good about that.”
Has he spoken much to Farrell about his role?
“We talked,” Aceves said. “Everything will be very professional. It was good.”
Aceves, as usual, looks to be excellent shape. He is set to play for Mexico in the WBC.
“It’s an honor to play for the native Mexicans,” Aceves said. “Hopefully, we can play before 50,000 people, that would be great.”
Farrell is under the impression that Aceves will be a starter for Mexico. But that is apparently news to Aceves.
“I’m just going to show up and do whatever they want me to do,” he said. “I’m not sure what they want.”
At long last, a Red Sox executive has acknowledged reading the book Terry Francona wrote with Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy. But chairman Tom Werner did not give “Francona: The Red Sox Years” high marks. “It was a good piece of fiction,” Werner told WEEI. “There were so many things in that book that were fabricated.” As to what these were, Werner did not say . . . Andrew Miller on the prospects for the Sox: “This is my third spring training here. The first year we were touted as the best team in the game. Now nobody is picking us to finish first. That might be good.” . . . Lefthander Felix Doubront, expected to be one of the starters, reported to camp heavier than the team would have liked. He had a similar issue in 2011. Doubront also has what the team says is a sore pitching shoulder. He is expected to take the mound next week.