FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Daniel Bard's quest during Spring Training has been to rediscover the mechanics and command that made him one of baseball's best relievers as recently as two seasons ago. That's why the Red Sox had him put the brakes on over the last week and work on things on the side rather than pitching in games.
Bard threw 20 pitches in a simulated game on Monday morning, and he was pleased with the way it went. One of the things Bard has been focusing on the past few days is improving his stride direction.
"I think it's just one of those things that created a bad habit last year, trying to create velocity in the wrong places, trying to reach out, trying to over rotate," Bard said. "Today it felt like me -- felt like the old me. I felt like there was power behind the ball, the four-seamer's pretty true. Plus some downhill plane, and that's what we're looking for."
The tentative plan is for Bard to pitch in his next Grapefruit League game on Thursday.
How does he feel about his velocity?
"I don't where it is, but I know it feels good coming out," Bard said. "Even in the first two outings, just looking at hitter's reactions on most of the fastballs, and especially today. I threw three changeups. It was pretty much all fastballs. I know [Bryce] Brentz is a good fastball hitter. To see I can actually get in on those guys a little bit and see the ball riding in on their hands is a good feeling."
Papi takes step forward by running bases
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- You can count Monday as an encouraging day in David Ortiz's comeback from a right Achilles injury.
The Red Sox slugger had his most intensive day yet running the bases. He went from home to first multiple times, while also going home to second, first to third and second to home.
"It was a good day," Ortiz said. "I was moving pretty good. I don't think I can run faster than that."
The question is how Ortiz will feel on Tuesday. If he doesn't feel a lot of soreness, he will run the bases on consecutive days for the first time, which could put him on track to play in an exhibition game within the week.
"It feels good. When I get it going, I'm fine, you know what I'm saying? The problem is once I cool off, I start getting soreness and stuff," said Ortiz. "The doctors say it will go away. It's just part of the treatment, part of [increasing the program]. I wasn't running like that, you know what I'm saying? When you're injured, you have to start getting used to it."
Ortiz still envisions himself in the starting lineup when the Red Sox open their season at Yankee Stadium on April 1.
"Oh, I want to play way before that," Ortiz said. "Of course, that's why we're doing all this stuff so I'm good to go for Opening Day. The main goal right now is to make sure I get to play down here. If I play down here, that means I'm good to go, you know what I'm saying?"
After delayed start, Doubront slowly gaining confidence
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Emotions were swirling for Red Sox lefty Felix Doubront as he took the mound on Monday afternoon for his debut of this Grapefruit League season.
For the first time in Doubront's Major League career, his mother Nancy was on hand to watch him pitch after flying in from Venezuela on Sunday.
"Oh yeah, that was a big surprise yesterday. I was so happy to see her here," said Doubront, who gave up one hit and fanned two over 1 2/3 innings of the Red Sox's 5-1 win over the Rays. "She wasn't supposed to get here until today. When she came the first time, I was hurt in 2010, I think."
This time, Doubront was glad not to be hurt, but the southpaw admitted he was still a little guarded about the left shoulder weakness that delayed his first outing by about a week.
"Well, I was a little bit [hesitant] today," Doubront said. "Every pitch, I was focused more and was a little bit scared to feel something. Everything went well."
Doubront can now start focusing on pitching again.
"Yeah, as soon as I wake up, I'm going to raise my arm, lift my arm to see how it's feeling, but I feel good," Doubront said. "I'm going to let the guys know and do some more work, and hopefully everything's going to be OK."
Doubront is projected as one of Boston's five starters in 2013 after being in the rotation all of last year.
"I'll start throwing more innings here and start facing more hitting and start gaining my confidence," Doubront said. "I'm 100 percent confident, but I have to feel 100 percent ready to pitch. That's what I'm doing now. I'm working hard every day to feel that way."
Marrero among first round of cuts by Boston
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Red Sox made their first round of cuts on Monday morning, and highly touted shortstop Deven Marrero was the most noteworthy subtraction.
Marrero, who is ranked the club's No. 10 prospect by MLB.com, was the first Red Sox player invited to Spring Training the year after he was drafted since Scott Hatteberg in 1992.
"He handled himself great -- not just from a standpoint of being all eyes and ears, but when he was on the field in a game, he handled every chance routinely," said manager John Farrell. "He's a young player with a lot of talent, and the thing that stands out as much is the genuine confidence he shows is not being in awe of this situation the first time he comes to Spring Training."
In addition to Marrero, lefty Drake Britton was optioned to Double-A Portland. Marrero and infielder/outfielder Justin Henry were both re-assigned to Minor League camp.
Weiner visits Red Sox camp
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Michael Weiner, the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, made the rounds at Red Sox camp on Monday, briefing the club on a number of issues.
The visit came a day after Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia emphatically said he would support a stricter drug policy in Major League Baseball.
Weiner reiterated that such revisions would be a "2014 issue," but he did meet with Pedroia.
"I hope I had a chance to educate him. I did have a good conversation with Dustin, and he -- as always -- was very attentive during the meeting," said Weiner. "The purpose of these meetings is in part to report on things in the past year. In part, it's very important to hear what guys have to say, but it's also to give guys some things to think about. Dustin is a passionate guy. He's going to have his opinion, and what's great about Dustin is we're going to know what it is."