Here is a look at the rest of the happenings from the Red Sox spring training in Ft. Myers on Saturday.

First off, I’d like to start off the segment with the fact that I was disappointed that the Boston Globe’s Red Sox blog, Extra Bases, was not updated on Saturday. Even Eric Wilbur’s Boston Sports Blog, which says it is updated daily, hasn’t been updated since February 20th. If you say you are going to provide daily updates, you should do just that. Extra Bases is usually a good source of information pretty much as it happens at Camp Matsuzaka. I even went as far as emailing Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe to see why there were no updates today but I haven’t heard back from her. She has been good in the past at answering emails. Maybe Gordon Edes, who doesn’t like bloggers, told her to stop answering fan emails. So as we go along in the updates, you won’t be seeing anything from Extra Bases used here in this post. And now its off to the news.

Here is what I think the feel good story of camp is right now. It is the return of Jon Lester. Lester threw batting practice today out on a backfield because of Curt Schilling and Daisuke Matsuzaka and 5 billion media members were on the main field today.

Francona said lefty Jon Lester looked ”tremendous” in batting practice. Lester underwent cancer treatment in the offseason and tests show he’s free of the disease.

Hearing this kind of gets you a little choked upside knowing the back side of the story. After having spent his offseason battling cancer, with the chemotherapy sessions, the workouts to get back into shape, it is simply amazing that he is where he is at right now. I have to wonder if he has a lights out spring and Jonathan Papelbon struggles as a starter, would they consider moving Papelbon back to the bullpen and have Lester be their 5th starter. We have all heard that Papelbon won’t close this season but that anything is possible. That is why I presented you with that situation.

Ok, it’s time to play a game. The game is guess the answer to a Red Sox spring training trivia question. Are you ready? Are you sure? Ok, here goes: Who is Bobby Scales and why is he the answer to a trivia question?

I’d like to tell you the answer right now but I am going to wait til further in the post to give you that answer.

Viewed as longshot to make the team out of spring training, Craig Hansen has been unable to throw the past few days because of stiffness in his back. Craig, I feel your pain. I live with it everyday. Do what everyone tells me to do. Suck it up and deal with it. Back to being serious, I am not sure why he is a long shot. Seems just yesterday, Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe told me (halfway down in blue) that the final bullpen spot was coming down to Hansen and Declarmen. So what gives. Does he have a chance. After all, he does have a major league contract. To be honest with you, I think Hansen still needs time in the minors to work out the flaws he had in his delivery from last season. It might suit him best to be there and get himself on the right track because who knows what the closer situation is gonna be. We hope things work out but baseball is a funny game.

Are you still wondering what the answer to the question is? Keep reading.

Were you wondering how Terry Francona spent his Friday while recovering from the flu-like symptoms he had? You will never guess this one. He actually spent it watching the Anna Nicole Smith trial. (I hate to admit it but I did too).

Francona was feeling better after missing Friday’s workout with the flu. How did he spend his sick day? “I actually spent the day watching — I hate to admit this — the Anna Nicole Smith trial. I was looking to see if Manny [Ramirez] showed up,” quipped Francona. “That was some kind of trial.” …

You have to love Francona’s sense of humor. Speaking of Manny, there weren’t any reports of him being in Philadelphia on Saturday.

Speaking of Francona, this isn’t his first time dealing with a media circus. For those who didn’t know, a certain basketball great (Michael Jordan) once tried to play baseball. I even talked with Francona a few times during that season. The reason I talked with him is because I was working in Minor League Baseball for the Albany Polecats of the South Atlantic League in 1994. The manager of our team that season was Butch Wynegar (I have a great story about him and I that you won’t believe) who happened to be friends with Francona. Since I was the clubhouse manager at the time and cell phones weren’t really around yet, there communication was done on the telephone. (Had Al Gore invented the internet yet?) So while Francona may not know me from a whole in the wall, I have spoken with him when he called to talk to Wynegar.

Read my story of how I first met Wynegar and more Red Sox news after the jump.

I know this doesn’t have anything to do with the Red Sox but I think it is great story of how I first met Butch Wynegar.

Back in my college days at Florida Southern, my friends and I would attend the baseball games. The girl I was dating at the time was a Mocs Ball girl or some shit like that so I would always go anyways to see her. I was also good friends with a lot of the guys on the baseball team since most of them lived in the same dorm as I did. Anyways, I am digressing from the story. I also knew the baseball coach very well due to the fact that I took one of his classes and I was working in the athletic department at the time for the basketball team. The athletes at Florida Southern are tight-knit group and could always be seen supporting one another at each other’s games.

That year, the baseball team was playing St. Rose College of New York. They had a pitcher on their team, who had attended our school the season before and transferred there. So the baseball coach asked us if we would heckle him a little bit. So of course we said yes. We had a blast heckling him. It got so bad that the third base coach, who was also the manager jumped the fence and tried to chase us. He had to restrained from us. Needless to say, a tradition was born at that game. The coach asked us to come to every game possible to have the same kind of fun.

So, we continued to do the same thing to each of the teams as they came in to play us. One day, we were playing Rollins College from Orlando. Want to take a guess who one of their coaches was? It was Butch Wynegar. He had spent 13 seasons in the big leagues with the Twins, Yankees, and Angels. Since most of us that were in the heckling group were from New England, we had a little fun with him, calling him “a washed up baseball player relegated to coaching Division II baseball”, and few other things Yankees related I am sure. After the game, he came over to us and much to our surprise, thanked us. He told us that he wished his school had fans like us. But the best part, he said thanks for remembering who he was.

So in 1994, I get a job working with the Polecats as their clubhouse manager about 2 days before they are to report from spring training. I packed up my stuff and took a flight down there getting set up. As I am getting the locker room set for the teams arrival, I find out who the manager was going to be. I almost shit myself when I saw the roster. It said Butch Wynegar, manager. I remember doing a double take at the roster and then heading to the office to tell the GM that their might be a problem. So I told him the story above, and he laughed it off.

The big day finally arrives. The team gets in, I am introducing myself to the players and coaching staff but I purposely avoid Wynegar for as long as possible. Finally after working up the courage to go in and talk with him, I walk up to him and say, “Mr. Wynegar. I am not sure you are going to remember me. But I went to Florida Southern and I was one of the people who were heckling you when you guys played Florida Southern. My name is Ian Bethune and I am the clubhouse manager here. I am sorry for those things we said about you.” He looks at me and goes, “It’s not a problem Ian, call me Butch. You guys were great. It was actually nice to be remembered. And what you guys said wasn’t bad, I had heard worse in the Bronx when I played for the Yankees.” So readers after I have bored you to death with that story, that is how I met Butch Wynegar.

Well I hope your still with me at this point because I’d like to give you the answer to the trivia question, Who is Bobby Scales? Scales is the first batter to face Matsuzaka in batting practice. After he faced him, the Japanese media told him he would be on television back in Japan. This was his response to that:

“Can I get some endorsements?” he said with a laugh. “My wife and I are trying to buy a house.”

Ahh a career minor leaguer trying to make a buck whereever he can. Gotta love his sense of humor too.

Here is a look at some more stuff from Red Sox camp.

Big Papi has added some muscle to his frame this season. To check out the article click here.

The Hartford Courant had this to say about Schilling and Beckett’s performances on the mound today.

Josh Beckett and Curt Schilling were the warmup acts for Matsuzaka. Schilling used his BP to work on his changeup, which outfielder David Murphy described as “nasty.”

“It was as good as you can feel at 11 a.m.,” Schilling said. “I’m working on it. It’s coming.”

Alex Speier of the New Hampshire Union Leader has an interesting article about “Plot lines to follow as the games begin.”

Glenn Miller of the News-Press in Fort Myers has a good article about potential Red Sox closer, “Joel Piñero’s Unique Path: From ECC to the Red Sox.” Piñero, who went to high school in Orlando, attended Edison Community College in Ft. Myers.

That is all for you. Sorry for being long winded and making you sit thru my boring story of how I met Butch Wynegar. I will be back in the afternoon with the game report from the UCONN men’s game, which I will be in attendance for. Until then, may the schwarz be with you.

Information from the Hartford Courant, Boston Herald and was used in writing this post. Also experiences from my life were used.

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