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Ortiz flashes some leather at first base

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  February 20, 2011 01:21 PM

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FORT MYERS, Fla. You can see a lot when you look around. Here's what I saw today:

David Ortiz joined the starting infield to take grounders this morning, working at first base with Adrian Gonzalez. Ortiz looked pretty good, too, snapping balls up and even going to his backhand.

"Papi's going to win a Gold Glove at the DH spot," Gonzalez yelled to Terry Francona.

Tim Wakefield threw live BP and had his knuckleball working. The hapless victims were Kevin Youkilis and Carl Crawford.

The Sox had Jason Varitek catch Wakefield. Varitek has long had knuckleballaphobia, but with Wakefield now a reliever, the Red Sox don't have the luxury of matching him to a specific catcher. So Varitek and Jarrod Saltalamacchia will catch him in camp. "We'll get both those guys comfortable," Francona said.

Randy Williams, a lefty reliever in camp on a minor-league deal, throws a nice cut fastball. He's one of the cast of thousands looking for a spot in the bullpen.

Clay Buchholz threw some good two-seam fastballs, missed with some breaking stuff. "My goal is to keep it low and I did that," he said.

Alredo Aceves looked strong throwing BP. His sinker is back to 2009 levels when he was a key component of the Yankees.

Francona's take: "Extremely driven, very motivated, says he's completely healthy and has done noting off the mound to show that he's not. Not behind. We were prepared to ease him in and he does not want to do that. I think he's driven to show what he can do."

Speaking of Aceves, he and Dennys Reyes have an appointment at the U.S. consulate in Hermosillo on Wednesday morning to get their visas. Aceves will work out here on Tuesday and be back Wednesday night.

Reyes has been stuck in Mexico. The veteran lefty, who was signed to a minor-league deal, is competing for a spot in the bullpen. He has fallen behind, but Francona doesn't think it's a big deal.

"If he hasn't been throwing and he's behind, that wouldn't be good," the manager said. "I would imagine he knows what he's in for. He knows he's in competition, he certainly wants to put his best foot forward. I would be surprised if he's allowed himself to get behind."

First base coach Ron Johnson, who missed the final two months of last season attending to his daughter after a terrible accident, was the final coach introduced to the team yesterday and he asked to say a few words of appreciation. "It was important to him," Francona said. "He had a long year last year. ... It was touching for everybody."

Mike Cameron and Darnell McDonald were not impressed that Blake Griffin won the NBA Slam Dunk Contest on Saturday night. Both thought that Javale McGee was robbed. Plus when Griffin dunked over the car, he went over the hood, not the roof.

"Heck, I could do that," Cameron said, laughing.

I do believe that's it from me today. But we'll have come videos and I think Nick is going to blog some more on Varitek. To be on the lookout for that.

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