Everett arrives, ignores questions about last season
FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) -- Carl Everett limited his rips to the batting cage.
Forget about last year, when he said he never liked manager Jimy Williams and nearly fought teammate Darren Lewis.
Everett worked out with the Red Sox for the first time this spring Wednesday, loosening up on the field and practicing his swing against a pitching machine.
But first, he endured the expected grilling about last season. He was pleasant and even laughed, although he didn't respond when teammate John Valentin asked the first question.
"Are you going to beat up Jimy Williams?" Valentin asked.
Everett was in a good mood -- grinning when uniform pants were too baggy and joking with teammates.
He spent nearly two hours after the workout signing autographs until all the fans waving baseballs and trading cards were satisfied.
He even ran sprints side-by-side with Lewis and the two chatted. No one had to keep them apart as coach Tommy Harper did last Sept. 21 when Lewis complained to Everett, a late arrival at some games, about his commitment to the team.
At first, Everett was reluctant to discuss last season.
"It's over," he said, standing at his locker at one end of a row with Lewis' at the other end. "Last year is gone. No questions about last year."
So he talked about the acquisition of right fielder Manny Ramirez, his lack of a preference for where he bats in the lineup and the fact that he sets no personal batting goals.
But it wasn't long before the conversation reverted to last season -- and it wasn't about his 34 homers, 108 RBIs, .300 batting average and strong play in center field.
"I think everyone who went out on a sour note has to answer for themselves," Everett said. "I never point any fingers, never will. ... I'm always about team. I'll never say anything bad about an individual."
He did, however, make the remark last year about not liking Williams. The two met in December at baseball's winter meetings in Dallas.
"We got our views out," Everett said. "We wanted to understand how can we help one another, and that's what we expressed."
Williams and Red Sox players were eager to put the turmoil behind.
"My relationship has always been good with Carl," said Williams, ignoring his criticism of general manager Dan Duquette for siding with Everett last year
Duquette said repairing relations between Williams and Everett is "on a pretty good track," although he didn't know if Everett and his teammates still had a problem.
"If there is, we've got plenty of time to address that in spring training," Duquette said.
Lewis refused direct comment on his confrontation with Everett.
"There were a few incidences that happened but, in general, we are very, very close knit," Lewis said.
Everett was suspended 10 games for bumping plate umpire Ron Kulpa during a dispute over the size of the batter's box in a July 15 game. When he returned after the suspension, Everett shouted at Williams in the manager's office.
Lewis and Everett agreed that team chemistry was important.
"I'm not saying that you have to like (your teammates) or hang out with them," Lewis said, "but if you can respect what a person brings to the clubhouse ... the better off everybody's going to be."
Everett said he had no plans to meet with his teammates to address the problems.
"That's up to him," catcher Scott Hatteberg said. "We all had a tough time at times last year. It's a clean slate right now. I know that's my attitude. I hope it's his."
It seems to be.
"Every year's a fresh start," Everett said. "You have to get along, regardless."
He did on Wednesday, especially when he and Williams walked together along the first-base line on the way from batting practice to wind sprints.
"Today was a good day," Williams said.
Everett smiled and said, "Yeah."