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Sorting out the outfield

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  December 16, 2009 04:57 PM

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Just spoke to Mike Nicotera, Mike Cameron's agent. He had some interesting things to say.

Cameron, he said, is willing to play wherever the team wants him to once an assessment is made. His only request was that an honest evaluation be made.

"He has pride in what he can do in center field," Nicotera said. "But at the same time, he wants to win and if Tito (Francona) and Theo (Epstein) decide he's better in left field or right field or wherever, then Mike will be fine with that."

The numbers, to the extent you have faith in defensive numbers, suggest Cameron should play center instead of Jacoby Ellsbury. But if Cameron is only here for two years, is that worth having Ellsbury change positions than change back in 2012?

Epstein's made the point that there is no wrong decision and that is probably the case.

Francona said he wanted to discuss the situation with Epstein, both players and his bench coach, DeMarlo Hale, before arriving at any conclusions. There's no reason to make out a lineup card in December, so they might as well take their time and sort it all out. Bottom line: It's not a bad thing to have two center fielders in the same outfield.

Both Epstein and Nicotera took note of the fact that the Sox have had interest in Cameron dating back to 2003. As Epstein explained it, when Manny Ramirez was put on waivers, part of the plan was take some of that money and sign Cameron. When Manny went unclaimed, Cameron signed with the Mets.

Cameron also was part of the discussion when the Red Sox were discussing the Alex Rodriguez trade.

"It's funny how it works out, all these years later," Nicotera said. "In the back of my mind I wondered if he would end up in Boston."

As for John Lackey, two things struck me as interesting. Despite an occasionally rocky relationship with Fenway Park, he was eager to discuss a deal with the Red Sox, realizing Boston was a place where he would get a market-rate contract and play for a contender. It speaks to how well players now regard Boston as a destination and the respect Francona has, because Lacket was going to get paid wherever he went.

In addition, Lackey's wife Krista grew up in Maine and attended the University of New Hampshire.

"I was a Red Sox fan, not a diehard, but I was a fan," she said. "Now it's different. But I love Boston and always have. It's a great city."

Krista never expected her husband, who she met in California, would end up with the Red Sox.

"It'll all came together in a few days, it was a surprise," she said. "But it'll be great to be closer to my friends and family. My college roommates all live in the area. It's like coming home."

Lackey's father-in-law, Nielsen Clark, attended the press conference along with his son Anthony and another daughter, Dana. A native of Westbrook, Maine, Clark has a home in Florida, close to the Red Sox spring training base in Fort Myers.

"You never know what will happen," he said.

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