Adam LaRoche checked in two days before the first full squad workout and got some work in on the field at first base. LaRoche is taking Paul Konerko’s locker.
“It’s good to see him out here. He looks good,” manager Robin Ventura said of the free agent signed to a two-year, $25 million deal.
Ventura is appreciative of LaRoche’s reputation as a solid clubhouse guy. In Konerko’s absence, leadership roles will shift around and find their places beginning in camp.
“The best part is you’ve got guys that are coming in that are good team guys,’’ Ventura said. “That’s the biggest thing.’’
Jeff Samardzija is one of those, and he’s already discovering a good vibe around the club.
“Coming into a situation as a new guy, somewhat of a big personality and pretty vocal, sometimes you can rub a guy the wrong way,’’ Samardzija said, “but for me coming over here and seeing these guys give it back to me … a lot of times that’s what it is, you’re loud, you talk and try to push people’s buttons and see how people react. Everyone here is having a good time and getting me right back. It’s a nice little thing we have going here.’’
So far, so good for Crain
Two days after throwing 20 pitches, Jesse Crain threw 25-30 (fastballs and changeups only) and walked off the mound with a smile on his face.
“I know there’s still more in the tank,’’ Crain said. “It’s a process. I’ll take it.’’
Crain, who had biceps tendon surgery last offseason, hasn’t pitched since 2013 when he had an All-Star first half for the Sox, who traded him to Tampa Bay. In three seasons with the Sox, his ERA was 2.10, but manager Robin Ventura said Crain won’t be rushed before Opening Day. The prospect of having the old Crain back at some point this season is intriguing.
“My arm feels pretty good right now,’’ Crain said. “I still have time to go and a ways to go. Every day out on the mound, it’s going to get stronger and better.”
Samardzija: Rodon looks the part
Samardzija hasn’t seen Carlos Rodon’s first two bullpen sessions but he likes his body type for pitching.
“I see how he’s built and I see his chest, his legs, he’s put together nice,’’ Samardzija said. “If you look at guys who are throwing 200 innings, 220 innings there’s a reason for it. … If you’re not 6-foot, good luck. But he looks good and I look forward to seeing him.’’
Penny gets a shot
Two-time All-Star Brad Penny, 37, is a long shot to make the team but one reason he came to the Sox was his belief they would would be straight with him.
“I know in my heart they are going to be honest with me, good or bad,’’ Penny said. “I can handle it. I know [assistant GM] Buddy Bell and I know he’s not going to pull any punches and he’ll let me know. I just thought I have an opportunity over here and we’ll see how it goes.’’
Penny, who played with Ventura with the Dodgers in 2004, has pitched in eight games over the last two seasons.