David Chester took a hefty swing at a batting-practice pitch Wednesday afternoon and lofted it over the left-field wall at Hadlock Field.

But don’t think Chester was comfortable doing it. Not with the temperature struggling to reach 40 degrees. He had just spent six weeks in Florida before arriving in Portland earlier this week.

“It’s definitely tough. If someone say it’s not, they’re lying,” said Chester, a first baseman and designated hitter for the Portland Sea Dogs, who are scheduled to begin their season Thursday night at Hadlock.

“It takes a little to get used to, even for the guys who are from the north.”

Mainers may be accustomed to the chill of early spring. But for the players, it’s quite a contrast from training in the heat of Fort Myers, Florida.

“It’s a bit of a shock,” said pitcher Justin Haley, who played for the Sea Dogs last year, but only after a promotion on July 29. Haley is a native Californian, as is infielder Michael Miller.

“I had double sleeves (shirts), leggings and a little ski mask,” Miller said. “I couldn’t feel my hands. Other than that it was great.”

While at spring training, the Portland-bound players hear about the conditions from players who’ve been here. The two lower Red Sox minor league levels are in Virginia and South Carolina. So for some players, this is their first time up north.

Henry Ramos, an outfielder from Puerto Rico, began last season in Portland.

“I remember everything about the weather. It’s hard to forget,” he said.

“Everyone told me it was cold, but when I came, it was really, really cold.”

Ramos was miserable at the start, batting .210 in his first 10 games. He adjusted and hit .357 over the next 38 games — until a leg injury ended his season.

But adjusting is key.

“No one is going to feel sorry for you,” said Sea Dogs pitching coach Kevin Walker. “It’s a mindset. When your name is called, you have to separate it and go about your business, and get ready to work.

“This is about going out and performing, regardless of what weather it is.”

And should any of his pitchers complain, Walker is quick with a retort.

“If you want to pitch in Boston and the AL East, they have to pitch in this type of weather, too,” he said. “You better learn it now.”

For pitchers, the challenge is gripping the ball.

“It feels weird because it’s freezing and you can’t feel your fingers,” said Venezuelan native Luis Diaz, the Sea Dogs’ scheduled starting pitcher Thursday. “You have to try to keep them warm.”

If there is any consolation for the pitchers, they know, “hitters have to play in the same weather,” Haley said.

Chester knows what it can be like. He played his college ball for the University of Pittsburgh.

“We played at Connecticut once and it was 30 degrees with Matt Barnes throwing for them,” Chester said. “So I’ve been around it.”

Barnes, now a Red Sox pitching prospect, is known for his fastball. And when he fired it inside to a batter in freezing weather …

“It was not very good,” Chester said.

But while Florida features better weather in March, minor league spring training games were played in the afternoon in front of a handful of people. Hadlock Field will be different.

“When the lights go on and there are fans in the stands, it definitely adds a little bit of adrenaline,” Chester said.

That is what Carlos Asuaje is counting on. Asuaje, an infielder, was born in Venezuela and raised in Florida. He played for Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale. This is his first time playing up north.

“Coming from spring training in Fort Myers, it’s smoking hot every day. This is significantly different,” Asuaje said. “Of course, your hands are freezing. Put your hands in your pockets and hope for the best.

“But weather will always be a factor — too hot or too cold. Sunny or rainy … no point being upset about it. One of those things you have to overcome.”

Thursday’s forecast calls for snow in the morning, then rain. By game time it is supposed to be cloudy — and 38 degrees.

“Just one of those obstacles,” Asuaje said. “You get a little bit of excitement going on (when the game begins). When you’re moving around, it’s not quite as bad.”


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