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Red Sox looking ahead to defending World Series championship rather than resting on laurels

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FORT MYERS, Fla. - The duck boat Jake Peavy rode in during the World Series parade is at his ranch in Alabama. The bushy beard David Ross grew as the Boston Red Sox kept winning is gone.

Nice memories, for sure, but the champions are preparing for a new season.

"It's critical that we get back to the mindset of first day of spring training last year and not Game 6 of the World Series," manager John Farrell said Saturday. "Last year is over and done."

And what a year it was.

The Red Sox were 97-65, never lost more than three straight games and won the World Series in six over the St. Louis Cardinals. It was an amazing turnaround from 2012 when they went 69-93 in their only season under Bobby Valentine, who was fired and replaced by Farrell.

Pitchers and catchers were due to report to spring training Saturday, two days before their first formal workout. Many position players already were there, three days before their official reporting date.

The Red Sox obtained Peavy last July 30 from the Chicago White Sox. He went 4-1 with Boston in the regular season and lost his only World Series start. But he left with a strange souvenir when he bought the duck boat that he said was used in Europe during World War II and became part of an amphibious fleet now used for tours of Boston and the Charles River.

He had planned the purchase beforehand. Now it's at Southern Falls, his 5,000-acre ranch, awaiting an elaborate paint job.

"I have had a lot of problems trying to find somebody to do the paint scheme the way we wanted it," Peavy said Saturday. "It's going to have to go to Texas to get the paint scheme that we want on it but it's going to be a fine piece of art, a piece of memorabilia when it does get finished."

The boat will have the team's championship logo, pictures of the World Series trophy, a "Boston Strong" logo and photos of him, teammate Jon Lester and their families taken of them riding on it during the parade.

A.J. Pierzynski, signed to a one-year contract to replace catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, played with Peavy in Chicago.

"I'm just mad he didn't invite me for a ride," Pierzynski said with a smile, "but, no, it doesn't surprise me one bit. Knowing Jake, he's probably running tours out of his backyard on that thing."

Peavy hopes to conduct summer camps when he retires, and "this is going to be a neat piece to have down there, to take tours in," he said. "A lot of people thought it was an impulse buy, which it was not.

"It is funny, every now and then waking up and walking out and going to look at this thing, but I took it to the store a few times."

Ross, a backup catcher with six teams, wasn't as easily noticed when he went to the store, not without his long beard.

"I was ready to get back to being normal a little bit and be able to go to the grocery store and buy groceries and get out of there in like 30 minutes rather than two hours," he said. "Thanksgiving night I took it off."

Jonny Gomes' flowing beard also is gone, although Mike Napoli plans to keep his.

But the beards are so last year, just like the team's accomplishments. And players keep reminding each other of that.

"It was a dream come true last year," Peavy said, but "it's a new year. I think that's been a slogan of ours on the text messages that we've been exchanging with the guys. Hey, turn the page, It's a new year. It's 2014. We haven't done anything and, obviously, some teams in our division got awfully better."

Like the New York Yankees.

They signed several key free agents, including last year's Red Sox leadoff hitter and centre fielder, Jacoby Ellsbury. Jackie Bradley Jr., who struggled as a rookie after a strong spring training last year, gets first crack at the job.

Another youngster, Xander Bogaerts, is the shortstop with 2013 starter Stephen Drew unsigned.

"We have plenty enough in this (locker) room to do what we want to get done," Peavy said, "and that's to win a world championship."

Farrell is confident his players will move beyond the title they won last year.

"There'll be a ring ceremony. There'll be a trip to the White House. Those are reminders that they should enjoy," he said, "but our focus is on what we need to do today."

Notes: LHP Andrew Miller and the Red Sox agreed to a one-year contract worth $1.903,125, avoiding arbitration. Miller had asked for $2.15 million and had been offered $1.55 million. He made $1,475,000 last year, when he went 1-2 with a career-best 2.64 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 37 games. He had season-ending surgery on his left foot July 15. Boston has no remaining players in arbitration. ... Peavy said he had irritation in his right ring finger but called it a "non-issue." ... Red Sox closer Koji Uehara threw lightly off the rubber. ... Farrell said there was nothing new to report on whether Drew might return to the Red Sox.

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