Outlook: Capuano could carry value with starting role

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- In an effort to add some veteran pitching depth to replace Ryan Dempster, the Red Sox are close to signing lefty Chris Capuano, a native of Springfield, Mass., to a one-year contract.

"I don't have anything to announce today, but we made a little progress on something," general manager Ben Cherington said on Thursday.

Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported that the agreement between the Red Sox and Capuano is for one year at $2.25 million, and it includes incentives that could bring the deal to $5 million.

Dempster announced earlier this week that he won't pitch in 2014.

The 35-year-old Capuano, who has spent his entire career in the National League, went 4-7 with a 4.26 ERA in 24 appearances (20 starts) for the Dodgers last season.

Capuano is 73-83 with a 4.27 ERA in 238 appearances, 209 of which have been starts.

Boston's projected rotation features Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, John Lackey, Jake Peavy and Felix Doubront.

Capuano offers depth if one of those pitchers suffers an injury during camp. He could also help out of the bullpen.

Nava ready to hit leadoff if called upon

Outlook: Nava offers a solid bat in Boston's lineup

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Daniel Nava doesn't exactly remind you of Jacoby Ellsbury when it comes to footspeed. But his penchant for getting on base could make him a good fit to be Boston's leadoff man in 2014.

"I've got to get faster," quipped Nava. "No, I'm not going to change my approach. I think my approach is kind of similar to what a leadoff guy is."

In 2013, his breakout season to date, Nava posted a .385 on-base percentage.

"If that's where they want me to hit in the lineup, it's fine," Nava said. "As long as I'm in the lineup, I don't care if I hit ninth. It doesn't matter."

Manager John Farrell will continue to evaluate the leadoff situation during Spring Training before making a decision on who will replace Ellsbury. Nava and Shane Victorino are the leading candidates.

Farrell preparing for new rule changes

Torre on potential changes regarding plate collisions

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- With the expansion of instant replay and the elimination of home-plate collisions coming into play this season, Red Sox manager John Farrell will get a crash course on Sunday in Port Charlotte.

Former managers Joe Torre and Tony La Russa, who currently work for Major League Baseball, are both expected to help demonstrate the new rules.

"It's not that we're going to be looking to add something new, but if in fact the blocking of the plate is eliminated and we get that clarification, then there's some teaching that's got to go along with it," said Farrell. "Instinct is going to take a catcher into the line aggressively to block the plate and, I don't want to say inflict harm, but it's a collision play that's going to be eliminated. There's going to be some redirection on the catcher's side as well."

And as for replay? Farrell will get some practice with that during Grapefruit League games that are televised.

"It's the best we can do in the Spring Training setting," Farrell said. "It's going to be completely different than what's available to us in the regular season. At least we'll have three or four opportunities to go through the mechanics of it if a play is challenged."