Wednesday, March 8 – New York Mets 8, Boston Red Sox 7: Red Sox pitchers struggled on Wednesday against a potent Mets lineup that had six starters from last year’s squad, as Rick Porcello and Brian Johnson each allowed four runs during their appearances. Porcello looked smooth in his first three innings, as he allowed just one run on two hits before Yoenis Cespedes (single), Jay Bruce (two-run homer) and Lucas Duda (double) roughed him up to begin the fourth. Johnson allowed a double to Bruce in the fifth to break a 4-4 tie, and then allowed a bases-clearing double by Neil Walker to give the Mets an 8-4 lead. Allen Craig hit his first home run of the spring in the loss, while Craig, Bryce Brentz, and Matt Dominguez each had two hits for the Red Sox. Andrew Benintendi, who was the only starter in the Sox lineup, was 1-for-4 to lower his impressive spring average to .409.
Thursday, March 9 – Boston Red Sox 7, Team USA 5: Jackie Bradley Jr. and Matt Dominguez homered for the Red Sox, while emergency starter Jalen Beeks had an impressive outing against the World Baseball Classic’s USA lineup. Beeks, who was a 12th-round selection of the Sox in the 2014 MLB Draft, was pressed into action when Roenis Elias was injured during long toss. The 24-year-old from Arkansas allowed one hit – a double from perennial All-Star Nolan Arenado – and one walk while striking out two batters in his two-inning outing. Relievers Craig Kimbrel and Robbie Ross Jr. looked strong in their one inning of work, picking up two Ks each. Mitch Moreland drove in two runs in the fifth inning with a single to right field, and Bryce Brentz singled in the seventh to drive in one and plate another after an error from Astros’ infielder Alex Bregman. Dominguez’ homer capped a four-run seventh that put the Sox up 7-0, with Team USA scoring five times in the last two innings to make it a close contest.
NEWS AND NOTES
Steven Wright and Drew Pomeranz will make their spring training debuts early next week, as both players return from injuries they suffered last season. Wright is slated to start on Monday against the Toronto Blue Jays, while Pomeranz will take the bump on Tuesday at home against the Jays. Both hurlers are currently on track to begin the year in the rotation, which would be a huge plus with the uncertainty surrounding David Price’s elbow injury still looming.
Speaking of Price, the Sox will allow Price to attempt to throw either Friday or Saturday if he wants to, which could be the first step to returning to the rotation. Price was given 7-10 days to rest and medicate after his sore left forearm and elbow was deemed to be okay, and the lefty did not want to commit to any sort of timetable on his return to the hill.
Manager John Farrell noted that Andrew Benintendi, who is regarded as one of the elite prospects in baseball, may bat third in the potent Red Sox lineup when the team opens at home on April 3rd. That lineup would break up the abundance of right-handed hitters at the top of the order. Placing Benintendi third would put two righties (Dustin Pedroia and Xander Bogaerts) above him and two righties (Mookie Betts and Hanley Ramirez) below him. Splitting up the righties isn’t a new idea, as David Ortiz was slotted in the 3-spot during the second half of last season. Farrell said that he would experiment with the concept once Bogaerts returns from his stint in the World Baseball Classic.
Long-time Red Sox broadcaster Jerry Remy arrived in Fort Myers on Thursday after battling with his fourth bout of lung cancer earlier this season. Doctors gave him the clean bill of health last week, and he will spend the next couple of weeks getting acclimated to the team and the surroundings before calling his first game of the season for NESN on March 25th.
Farrell noted that reigning Cy Young winner Rick Porcello is fine after taking a hard grounder off his thumb during Wednesday’s start against the New York Mets. Porcello had X-rays done after the game that came back negative, and he is scheduled to pitch against Red Sox minor leaguers in a game on Monday while the rest of the roster is on the road.
Losing at ping-pong proving to be painful for Red Sox players (New York Daily News)
Brandon Workman looking solid in bullpen, hoping to crack bigs for first time in two years (MassLive)
Rick Porcello thought Tim Tebow was a ball boy during Wednesday’s game (NESN)
Blake Swihart once broke a batter’s wrist on the hill (MassLive)
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