FORT MYERS, Fla. – In his final outing before leaving Sunday to join Team Mexico in Arizona for the World Baseball Classic, Alfredo Aceves earned the win as the Red Sox beat the Twins, 2-1. The righthander entered with one on and one out in the second inning, replacing starter Clay Buchholz. Aceves gave up a hit then assisted on the back end of a 3-6-1 double play to end the inning.
He went 3 2/3 innings, giving up a run on five hits, including a home to Justin Morneau to lead off the fourth inning. He struck out three. Aceves faced 14 batters and allowed the first batter he faced in each inning to reach base. He had runners on first and third with one out in the fifth, but got Joe Mauer to line into a double play to end the inning, and Aceves’ outing.
“A couple of key double plays,” said manager John Farrell. “With the exception of a leadoff hitter every inning, I thought he threw the ball well. We were able to get him stretched out, close to 50 pitches, which was the goal today. And then he’ll leave and join Team Mexico.”
In two Grapefruit League games, spanning 5 2/3 innings, Aceves has allowed three runs on seven hits, one home run, and two walks with three strikeouts.
- Righthander Allen Webster, who was acquired from the Dodgers in the August blockbuster trade, continues to impress. Against the Twins he went three scoreless innings, giving up two hits and a walk with three strikeouts, touching the upper 90s with his fastball.
“With each added inning as he went out there, better rhythm, better feel for his secondary pitches, high 90s velocity, good location, threw pitches for strikes, a very impressive three innings,” said Farrell. “He was really good, particularly the last inning. You can ask all the umpires. It was an impressive performance, up to 99 [mph] again today. Velocity is one thing. I just think the action to the stuff. And keep in mind this is someone who’s always been a starter so the first inning coming in in the middle of a game is a little bit different for him. But with each successive inning you can see the rhythm and the flow of the game really start to take over. He just has three very good weapons he can go to.”
In five innings over two games this spring, Webster has allowed a run on four hits and a walk with six strikeouts.
- David Ortiz completed his baserunning drill at the Sox complex on Saturday, his second time doing so, as the Sox bring him along slowly after the Achilles injury that ended his 2012 season.
“The one thing that we’ll continue to monitor is how he responds coming out of increased intensity,” Farrell said. “The real key will be when he warms up prior to a game and then how he stays loose when we get into multiple at-bats.”
Ortiz remains on track to get into a Grapefruit League game at the end of the week.