FORT MYERS, Fla. - The only time Chris Capuano ever pitched in Fenway Park, he was a high school senior out of Springfield, Mass., playing in an All-Star game against kids from Connecticut. That should change soon.
Capuano's one-year Price Compare with the Red Sox was made official on Saturday, with the left-hander passing a physical and participating in the team's workout. For the veteran right-hander, the chance to pitch for his hometown team overcame the lack of a set role on the staff.
"It really is going to be like coming home," he said. "It's a storied organization. Who wouldn't want to be a part of that as a player?"
Capuano almost became a member of the Red Sox three years ago. Late in the 2011 season, as Boston sputtered to the finish, rumors swirled that the Sox would deal for a pitcher simply to start a tiebreaker game if needed. Kansas City's Bruce Chen and Capuano, then with the Mets, were the two names discussed the most.
"It was an exciting possibility," recalled Capuano, who grew up cheering for Roger Clemens and said he was "devastated" by the 1986 World Series as a kid. "I didn't have a whole lot of time to think about it."
Despite signing during spring training, Capuano doesn't think he's behind the other pitchers. He spent the last several weeks maintaining his typical throwing program even while waiting to sign with a team.
"You do get antsy," he said. "You're at home and you're still throwing your bullpens and getting your work in, but there's a sense you don't want to miss out too much. Fortunately it didn't go longer than it did."
To make room for Capuano on the 40-man roster, the Red Sox officially placed Ryan Dempster on the restricted list.
Seeing is believing
Full-squad workouts have only been going on for three days at JetBlue Park, and already manager John Farrell finds himself having to keep calm about the form on display from Grady Sizemore.
"Two days ago, he had a phenomenal day - running the bases at full speed, his defensive work was at full speed, he's handling live pitching well," Farrell said of the outfielder. "Everything has been very encouraging. We're going to have to temper our enthusiasm or really how much we push him just to gradually get him back into game shape."
That's going to be a process all spring long, as Sizemore hasn't played in the majors since 2011. Farrell and the Red Sox have been encouraged by the fact that Sizemore has yet to require additional treatment at this point in spring. Still, his status will be better determined when the games start next week.
Sizemore's showing so far isn't a surprise to Steve Peck, the special assignment scout who looked at Sizemore right before the Red Sox signed him.
"Everybody was aware of Grady. I don't think he fell off the map," Peck said. "The big thing was just making sure the health was there. I've done this long enough to know when a guy's going through his rehab process and just be able to see athletically where he's at and what he's able to do on the field. Over that process, we had a really strong feel of the condition he was in. He looked fantastic."
The real McCoy
Mike McCoy is one of the most versatile players in all of baseball - a man worthy of the "super-utility" designation. A second baseman out of college, McCoy has played three infield spots and all three outfield spots during his 170 games in the major leagues. And on a June day in 2011, he took the hill against the Red Sox.
He did more than just acquit himself. In a series in which the Blue Jays allowed 35 runs in three days, McCoy tossed a 1-2-3 inning against Carl Crawford, Marco Scutaro and J.D. Drew. McCoy has actually thrown 72/3 innings as a pitcher in pro ball, and he's allowed only one earned run.
"That was one of the most thrilling moments of my career," McCoy said. "Even though we were getting beat pretty bad, you're on the mound and you're by yourself. All eyes are on you. It was an interesting experience."
McCoy isn't the kind of player who attracts a ton of attention otherwise. He's known more for his glove - and maybe that should be plural - than his bat, with his ability to play all over the field making him a valuable part of organizational depth.
He's been honing that versatility since first asking for a shot in the outfield while in the Cardinals system.
"I take pride in my athleticism," said the 32-year-old. "I might think I'm better than I am, but I think that I can just go do it."
Having played for Farrell in Toronto, McCoy is familiar with how camp is being run at JetBlue. It also eases the transition, since he's aware of all the different shifts the Red Sox like to run.
Barring injury, McCoy's chances of making the major-league club out of camp are less than slim. But there's tremendous value in having a reliable, defensive-oriented veteran who can play all over the field at Triple A.
"He knows what we expect out of players," said Farrell. "He stays ready and he understands the utility role, which is not always an easy one."