Sox begin spring training with 6-5 'B' game loss to Twins

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Sox begin spring training with 6-5 'B' game loss to Twins

FORT MYERS, Fla. The Red Sox began their spring training game schedule Thursday afternoon, losing a B game to the Twins, 6-5, at Hammond County Stadium. While the results will not count in Grapefruit League standings or results, it gave manager Bobby Valentine a chance to get into the rhythm of game activities.

Tim Bogar was there as the bench coach doing his thing, Valentine said. Bench coaches Alex Ochoa and Jerry Royster and I need a rhythm as to what were going to be doing. Bogey needs a little rhythm with me also. This is all necessary stuff.

Alfredo Aceves and Daniel Bard, who are expected to move into the rotation this spring, pitched the first and second inning, respectively. Aceves, who threw 26 pitches, 17 for strikes, allowed one run on two hits with a strikeout. Bard allowed one run on two hits with a strikeout, throwing 25 pitches, 15 for strikes.

Aceves was ok, Valentine said. He threw a lot of pitches that he wanted to work on. He was ok with his work so I was ok with his work. Bard had good pitches, upset with his selection. He threw changeup behind the count 1-0, and then he threw the two-seamer after he hung the slider. He wasnt too happy with that. But his stuff was all right. He was working on the two-seamer. He didnt get much work on his changeup or his slider but pitched out of the windup and got that over with. Pitched out of the stretch and looked OK.

Catcher Ryan Lavarnway opened the scoring with a solo home run to left in the first inning.

Lavarnway got a little jammed and hit it 380 feet, Valentine said. I think he can improve on his catching and Im sure that he will.

But the Twins came back with a run off Aceves in the bottom of the frame, and took the lead in the second with a run off Bard.

Former Red Sox minor leaguer Aaron Bates hit a two-run home run off Jesse Carlson in the fourth to extend the Twins lead, 4-2. Brian Dinkelman added a two-run double in the fifth off Tony Pena, Jr.

Nate Spears two-run triple in the sixth cut the Sox deficit to 6-4. Daniel Butlers solo homer in the seventh completed the Sox scoring.

Shortstop Jose Iglesias, who made a nifty running basket catch on in foul territory behind third base, led off the game with a first-pitch single to center field. He also grounded into a double play in the third, and walked.

He walked once today, Valentine said. I think plate discipline is a wonderful thing and it comes from confidence in a mechanic and aggressive attitude I believe. He has an aggressive attitude and when he has a good mechanic he can have good plate discipline.

As planned, the Sox had nine pitchers throw one inning each.

I think I saw things that people are working on that they brought into the
competition, Valentine said.

Andrew Bailey, who had been slowed by a strained lat suffered during the vertical leap part of his physical, threw a bullpen session Thursday morning.

Bailey threw a bullpen, said he felt better, Valentine said. Still really didnt let go because he doesnt want to have a setback.

With Thomas drawing attention, Stevens turns to Rozier in big moment

With Thomas drawing attention, Stevens turns to Rozier in big moment

BOSTON – Prior to Saturday’s game, Terry Rozier talked to CSNNE.com about the importance of staying ready always, because “you never know when your name or number is going to be called.”

Like when trailing by three points in the fourth quarter with less than 10 seconds to play?

Yes, Rozier was on the floor in that scenario and the second-year guard delivered when his team needed it.

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But Rozier’s fourth quarter heroics which forced overtime against Portland, did not provide that much-needed jolt that Boston needed as the Blazers managed to fend off the Celtics in overtime, 127-123.

For Rozier’s part, he had 15 points on 6-for-13 shooting.

The 15 points scored for Rozier was the most for him since he tallied 16 in a 30-point Celtics win at Orlando on Dec. 7.

But more than the points, the decision by head coach Brad Stevens to draw up a play for him in that moment, a time when most of what Boston does revolves around the shooting of Isaiah Thomas who has been among the top-3 scorers in the fourth quarter most of this season, was surprising to many.

And at that point in the game, Thomas already had 13 fourth-quarter points.

Stevens confirmed after the game that the last shot in the fourth was indeed for Rozier, but Thomas’ presence on the floor was important to its execution.

“He (Thomas) also draws a lot of attention,” Stevens said. “So I think you just weigh kind of … what kind of shot you’re going to get, depending on who it is.”

Rozier had initially screened for Thomas, and Thomas came back and screened for him.

“I was open as soon as I caught … and I let it fly,” Rozier said. “Coach drew up a play for me and it felt good to see the ball go in.”

Being on the floor at that time, win or lose, was a victory of sorts for Rozier.

He has seen first-hand how quickly the tide can change in the NBA for a young player.

After a strong summer league showing and a solid training camp, Rozier had earned himself a firm spot in the team’s regular rotation.

But a series of not-so-great games coupled with Gerald Green’s breakout night on Christmas Day, led to his playing time since then becoming more sporadic.

Rozier, in an interview with CSNNE.com, acknowledged it hasn’t been easy going from playing regular minutes to not being sure how much court time, if any, he would receive.

But he says the veterans on the team have been good about keeping his spirits up, and one in particular – Avery Bradley – has been especially helpful.

Like Rozier, Bradley’s first couple of years saw his playing time go from non-existent to inconsistent. But Bradley stayed the course and listened to the team’s veterans who continued to tell him that his hard work would pay off sooner or later.

Those same words of wisdom Bradley received in his early days, he passes on to Rozier.

“It’s big,” Rozier told CSNNE.com. “He (Bradley) tells me things like that. I felt I was ready for this (inconsistent minutes) after all that he told me. It’s big to have a guy like him that has been through it all with a championship team, been around this organization for a while; have him talk to you is big. It’s always good. That’s why I stay positive, and be ready.”

Which is part of the reason why Stevens didn’t hesitate to call up a play for the second-year guard despite him being a 33.3 percent shooter from 3-point range this season – that ranks eighth on this team, mind you.

“He’s a really good shooter,” Stevens said of Rozier. “I think with more opportunity that will show itself true, but he made some big ones in the fourth quarter. We went to him a few different times out of time-outs, and felt good about him making that one.”

And to know that Stevens will turn to him not just to spell Thomas or one of the team’s other guards, but to actually make a game-altering play in the final seconds … that’s major.

“It helps tremendously,” said Rozier who added that his confidence is through “the roof. It makes me want to do everything. You know defense, all of that. It’s great, especially to have a guy like Brad trust you."