FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Red Sox have already seen enough from right-hander Edward Mujica to think he will pitch like he did for the first two-thirds of last season, instead of the fatigued hurler who lost his closing job with the Cardinals.
"It wasn't injury related. It was more fatigue," said manager John Farrell. "Looking back at his usage, there were a number of times he went four days in a row, a couple other times he went three days in a row, and, I think, just physically, he hit a little bit of a wall. The power to the stuff declined through the course of the year."
"We're seeing the exact opposite now," said Farrell. "Each of the last three times out, the velocity ticks up. He's bounced back fine. There's no evidence of what he went through last year. He put in a good offseason."
Mujica figures to join Junichi Tazawa as one of Boston's top two righty setup relievers in front of closer Koji Uehara.
Sox unfazed by Ortiz's quiet Grapefruit League season
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- David Ortiz went 0-for-2 in Thursday night's loss to the Yankees and is now hitting .063 in Spring Training. However, that does not rank as a concern for the Red Sox.
Once the bell rings on March 31 at Camden Yards, Ortiz will likely have his timing where he needs it.
"I'm not concerned with David, what he's done through 30 at-bats," said manager John Farrell. "You watch the BP, the bat speed is clearly there, the power is there. He is seeing pitches. He's going to get more everyday at-bats starting on Sunday through the remainder of camp. I have no concern with David."
Last year, Ortiz didn't play at all in Spring Training because he was recovering from a right Achilles injury. He wound up having a typically prolific season.
"I've had multiple conversations with David. If there was a need for more at-bats or wanting to do things a little differently, we'd do it," said Farrell. "He's had Spring Trainings that are so drastically different when you look at the last two years. You look at last year when he had no at-bats, he had about 15 at-bats in Triple-A and had one of the better years of his career. He's getting in shape. He's seeing pitches on a regular basis, so personally I think he'll be fine once we get through the end of next week."
Capuano impresses with three no-hit relief frames
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- When the Red Sox signed Chris Capuano to make up for the loss of Ryan Dempster, they were hoping he could give them depth in both the rotation and the bullpen.
Thus far, the lefty has made the decision to bring him on board look like a good one.
In Thursday's game against the Yankees, Capuano fired three hitless innings, walking two and striking out three.
"He continues to throw the ball very well," said manager John Farrell. "He pitches. He uses all of his pitches. He's not afraid to throw in on right-handers with his fastball. He's got a good mix to throttle some hitters back and forth with fastballs and changeups. He continues to make quality pitches. He's been very good."
Though Capuano figures to start the season in the bullpen, the Red Sox are continuing to stretch him out in case he is needed at some point as a starter.
Capuano worked hard in the offseason, even though he didn't sign until late.
"Probably the biggest thing is the shape he keeps himself in," said Farrell. "It was apparent he had thrown a number of bullpen [sessions] prior to signing with us. And to have the command that he's shown, that's as impressive as anything we've seen with him. The assortment with pitches, the execution of them, reading swings and the pitch selection has been very good. He's been a very good addition."
Herrera beats out Holt for utility spot
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Red Sox solidified one spot on their depth chart on Thursday with the news that Jonathan Herrera beat out Brock Holt for the utility infield position.
The left-handed-hitting Holt was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket prior to the game against the Yankees, as was right-hander Rubby De La Rosa. Infielder Brandon Snyder was reassigned to Minor League camp.
Though Herrera, acquired from the Rockies for lefty Franklin Morales, was perceived as the favorite all along, manager John Farrell had said recently that Holt was very much in the mix for the spot.
What led to Herrera winning the job?
"Prioritizing shortstop play," said Farrell. "While Brock has made strides on the left side of the infield, particularly from the start of last year, we felt with the acquisition of Jonathan it was more middle of the field experience, and that's the choice made."
Herrera could wind up being like former Red Sox utility player Alex Cora in that he is someone who does all the little things right.
"You get a two- to three-game glimpse across the field, and then when you're in camp with someone for a month and a half, you get more of a sense of their instincts and how they react and respond to game situations," said Farrell. "Just the energy he brings, it's a good fit."
• Uehara and Tazawa, who have been intentionally scaled back this spring due to their workload last October, threw batting practice on Thursday to A.J. Pierzynski.
"They were originally scheduled for a bullpen [session] and felt like with the number of pitches that they've thrown to hitters, wanting to see hitters in the box, this was a little bit more of an intense work day rather than just a straight bullpen [session]," Farrell said.
• While the Red Sox have already been involved in multiple instant replay challenges this spring, Farrell looks forward to the entire system being in place during the regular season.
"A game like tonight, if this is in Yankee Stadium or Fenway, there's probably going to be up to 16 or 20 angles, because there's probably three stations carrying it, unlike a game elsewhere where there might not be the same amount of coverage, you're not going to have the same number of angles," Farrell said.
In Spring Training, the Red Sox can't look at the play themselves before deciding to ask for a challenge. That will change during the season.
"Well, we've already gone through meetings on the actual functionality of the system," said Farrell. "What we haven't been able to do is rehearse the review of the video -- pick up the phone, answer it and walk through that part of it. So that's where you appreciate the ability to use replay here. But like I said, it's going to be different."