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John Henry, Tom Werner focusing on 4th ring
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Feb 17, 2017  |  Vote 0    0

John Henry, Tom Werner focusing on 4th ring

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Boston Red Sox principal owner John Henry called it strange not to see David Ortiz at the team's first full-squad workout this year and knows only one achievement will satisfy the team's management, players and fans.

"We really are focused on that fourth ring like we were that first," Henry said Friday. "Anything short of that is, I think we would say, limited success."

Ortiz joined the Red Sox ahead of the 2003 season and retired last fall after helping the Red Sox win their first three World Series titles since 1918.

"I've been thinking about that all week and it is strange," Henry said. "We miss him at our level. We lost someone that was at the top of his game and was a huge presence, but that just increases your challenge this yea. It's a part of life. You move on."

Werner said they've had discussions about what role the 41-year-old will have with the club.

With Boston coming off an AL East title and a Division Series loss to Cleveland, Werner spoke to the Red Sox and "made a reference to Tom Brady and the Patriots and what we can take from that in terms of hard work and practice."

Henry said last year's ending was frustrating after Boston was swept in three games by the Indians.

"We didn't finish our business last year," he said. "It was a disappointing way to finish."

Henry said Ortiz's retirement helped lead the Red Sox to trade for Sale for top prospects.

"With David leaving, I think there was a feeling that we should do something. I think our offence has been strong and will be strong this year," Henry said. "When this opportunity came up, it was hard to give up two of the best prospects in baseball, but I think we all agreed that this is a rare opportunity."

Since taking over the Red Sox, Henry and Werner have renovated Fenway Park, which opened in 1912. Seats were added above the Green Monster and over the right-field roof, and space in corridors for concessions have been expanded.

Now, Henry thinks it'll be the Red Sox home for decades.

"It's been sort of built to last," he said. "It's been built to last for at least 30 years, if not 50 years."

Werner discussed his role on baseball's pace of play committee. The average time of a nine-inning game last year was just over 3 hours.

"I'd be for less commercial breaks because I think that increases the ratings, and in the end I think is a good idea," he said.

The commissioner's office also may try to cut the time managers have to decide whether to challenge umpires' calls.

"Nobody would call it instant right now," Werner said. "We have a directive right now to New York to see if all calls can be within 2 minutes. We have a directive that the manager decides or not within 30 seconds. We're trying to get the game to be under 3 hours."

NOTES: Blake Swihart is working back to becoming a full-time catcher after moving to left field last year and missing the final four months of the season due to an injured left ankle. "I'm getting back into the swing of things," he said. "I watched a lot of baseball when I was hurt. I was able to learn a lot and get a lot of knowledge.". Manager John Farrell said LHP Eduardo Rodriguez, who hurt his right knee in winter ball in Venezuela, had "increased energy" throwing from two days ago. . Farrell on the first day: "I think we all left Game 3 with a bitter taste in our mouth. That hasn't vanished."

By Ken Powtak, The Associated Press

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