Sox open camp ready to address 'unfinished business'

After ALDS exit in '16, club has sights set on deep October run

Sox open camp ready to address 'unfinished business'

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- About 90 minutes before the Red Sox bounded out to the fields of Fenway South as a full squad for the first time, they took some time to acknowledge and embrace the high expectations that will follow the club around all season.

Manager John Farrell led the annual staff and player meeting, which also included some words of encouragement from chairman Tom Werner and president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski.

The underlying theme on Friday morning was consistent.

"There's unfinished business," said Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts. "Last year we made it pretty far, but we didn't get the job done in the end. There's just a little extra now that you have to be able to do to get that job done this year."

Farrell tried to convey to the group that a tunnel-vision approach will be the best way to reach lofty goals.

"And I think that's a great place to be," Farrell said of the expectations. "The message was to embrace it, but that whatever the storyline might be externally or the thought externally, it doesn't match what the needs are internally. And that is to get back to what we can control today, focusing on today.

"If we take care of the detail inside the game, the detail to our workouts, we'll end up in a place that I think we all envision. But still, it's a matter of putting that off and making the short-term goals and the markers along the way attainable."

Friday marked a start.

"Spring Training is nice, that first day in the sun, it's good being around the guys and just being around your teammates," said Bogaerts. "Making double plays with [Dustin Pedroia] -- stuff like that you miss during the offseason. And Mitch Moreland, he was pretty 'wow' over there at first base. I never saw him take grounders. He's a Gold Glover, but I never saw him with my eyes. That was pretty nice. We have a lot of confidence to throw the ball over there to him."

Red Sox have unfinished business

Ace Chris Sale, first baseman Moreland and reliever Tyler Thornburg are the three key additions to a team that won the American League East last year, but was bounced in three games by the Indians in the Division Series.

"First-year guys in camp here, welcome to the Red Sox," Farrell said to a cafeteria full of players in the morning meeting. "I think you'll find this to be an incredible experience. There's a lot going on here."

From the top down, the Red Sox are envisioning a deep October run for the first time since 2013.

"I started out by thanking them for what they accomplished last year," said Werner. "There's a lot to be proud of. The team had the best offense in all of baseball. We had a Cy Young winner and two MVP candidates. The team played beautifully all season but, obviously, all of us were disappointed at the abrupt ending. We thanked them and made a reference to Tom Brady and the Patriots and what we can take from that -- a lot of hard work and practice, and we wished them good luck."

"They apply their own pressure," said Red Sox owner John Henry. "We had a great meeting this morning. We were all really happy to be back. As Tom said, we didn't finish our business last year. It was a disappointing way to end the season. There's a lot to accomplish this year."

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.