New Sox hurler Ryan Dempster has constantly been mentioned as one of the players that would turn a toxic clubhouse into a feel-good baseball office since the day he signed with Boston in December.
Lost in the drama regarding the attitude of Red Sox players both past and present is what Dempster can actually do on the field. It wasn’t too long ago that the 35-year-old was in high demand on the MLB trade market. Texas bit at last year’s deadline, grabbing him away from the Cubs. Though Dempster did not light the world on fire during his time with the Rangers, he did own a respectable 7-3 record and struck out 70 batters in 69 innings.
From 2008 to 2011 in Chicago, Dempster posted double-digit wins in each season.
"I'm ready for the season to start, so it's exciting to get through camp healthy and I'm looking forward to going out there and pitching," Dempster told MLB.com last week. "It's been a really good camp health-wise. I feel really good and my pitches are coming together nicely."
The veteran pitcher will get thrown right into the Red Sox-Yankees fire Thursday (7:30, NESN) as he squares off with New York’s resident old-timer, Andy Pettitte.
"It's exciting," said Dempster. "It's a really unique experience that you don't get playing for another team. At the same time, you've got to control those emotions and treat it like any other game, even though I think the players are the only ones who do that. It will be a lot of fun."
Follow Metro Boston sports editor Matt Burke on Twitter @BurkeMetroBOS