Red Sox, new manager eager to change course

Associated Press photo by MORRY GASHLos Angeles Angels players make their way to the practice fields for a spring training workout Tuesday in Tempe, Ariz.
Associated Press photo by MORRY GASHLos Angeles Angels players make their way to the practice fields for a spring training workout Tuesday in Tempe, Ariz.

FORT MYERS, Fla. — A new Boston manager opened up Red Sox spring training with a smile on his face, and began the festivities with talk of changing the culture and turning the page.

Sound familiar?

New manager John Farrell gets his chance this season after Bobby Valentine struck out last year. Farrell met the media Tuesday at JetBlue Park — the same day pitchers and catchers reported — and spoke about new beginnings and a new era in Red Sox baseball after the franchise missed the postseason for the third straight season last year.

“Certainly we can’t wipe away what’s taken place,” said Farrell, who is the third Boston manager in three years, joining Valentine and Terry Francona. “It’s important that we acknowledge it. But as I’ve talked to guys throughout the offseason, what we do going forward is where the focus has to be. Just by virtue of nine new players on a 25-man roster is going to have some natural tendency to change that.”

The Red Sox, under first-year general manager Ben Cherington and Valentine, stumbled to a 69-93 finish last season. There was controversy in the clubhouse, there were several trades to rid the club of veteran payroll, and there were eight straight losses to finish the season.

“The most important thing is that we earn the trust of one another inside the clubhouse first,” Farrell said.

Yankees

RodRIGUEZ to rehab in New York: In Tampa, Fla., Alex Rodriguez will not report to spring training with the Yankees’ position players and will work on his rehabilitation from hip surgery in New York.

The third baseman is expected to be sidelined until at least the All-Star break following the Jan. 16 operation.

“There’s not a lot that he can do here,” manager Joe Girardi said.

The Miami New Times last month published records that allege Rodriguez purchased performance-enhancing substances in recent years from Biogenesis of America LLC, a now-closed clinic in Coral Cables, near Rodriguez’s offseason home.

Rodriguez has denied the allegations. Major League Baseball is investigating the matter.

Cardinals

Wainwright, TEAM PUT TALKS ON HOLD: In Jupiter, Fla., Adam Wainwright and the St. Louis Cardinals have put contract talks on hold, but neither party expects many obstacles when they resume talking about a long-term deal.

The 31-year-old Wainwright is in the final year of a contact, plus an extension that will have paid him $36 million over six years.

Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said there is plenty of time before opening day.

Wainwright’s value increased in the last week after it was learned Chris Carpenter likely will miss the entire season with problems with his right arm.

Angels

New left-hander Jason
Vargas ‘beyond crafty’:
In Tempe, Ariz., the Angels thought enough of left-hander Jason Vargas to deal slugging first baseman and designated hitter Kendrys Morales to the Mariners for him over the offseason with the hopes that Vargas can help stabilize Los Angeles’ rotation.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia doesn’t seem to be concerned that Vargas gave up 35 home runs in pitcher-friendly Safeco Field last season, tying him for the second-most allowed in the major leagues in 2012.

The 30-year-old Vargas posted a 14-11 record and a 3.85 ERA in 2012 with Seattle.

Catcher Chris Iannetta said Vargas is “beyond crafty.”