Buchholz looks strong as Red Sox tie Rays, 1-1

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Buchholz looks strong as Red Sox tie Rays, 1-1

By MaureenMullen
CSNNE.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- In their final game at City of Palms Park before they move to a new facility in Lee County for next year's spring training, the Red Sox played to a 1-1 tie with the Rays Tuesday afternoon.

Clay Buchholz went four innings, giving up one run on a hit and two walks with three strikeouts. He held the Rays hitless through 3 23 innings. In his last outing he allowed 11 runs (six earned) in four innings.

It was good, Buchholz said. I felt as good psychically as I did the other day. But things went a little bit better. I think I was down in the zone a little bit more, made some better pitches in some key situations. I felt like I was out there for a while, had a couple at-bats where I threw some good pitches they laid off of, fouled off a couple of good pitches, got deep in the count. A lot of those guys are going to be guys that we see when we face that team so I got some good looks at some good hitters and thats what I went out there for.

Tim Wakefield, Dan Wheeler, Matt Albers and Blake Maxwell followed Buchholz to the mound.

Pretty good, manager Terry Francona said of Buchholzs outing. Got his pitch count 78 pitches, 44 strikes up to about where we were comfortable, maybe a little bit earlier. His stuff was crisp. Wake came in and threw the ball real well. I think thats Wheelers best inning of the spring, which is awfully nice to see. The kid Blake Maxwell comes in every time and throws strikes.

Adrian Gonzalez hit his second home run of the spring, leading off the fourth inning with an opposite-field shot for the Sox lone run.

More important, the Red Sox got through the spring with no significant injuries. Josh Beckett gave the organization a scare when he was hit in the head by a batted ball during batting practice early in spring, suffering a mild concussion from which he rebounded with no obvious problems. Other than that, the team suffered no major health issues no small feat after losing 1,018 player-games last season to the disabled list.

Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis -- who both suffered season-ending injuries in 2010 -- led the starters in spring training innings, with 102 and 100, respectively. Jacoby Ellsbury, who missed all but 18 games last season with fractured ribs played 89 innings, batting .333 with a team-high three home runs and eight RBI.

Thrilled, Francona said. Theres no way you can play the games and worry about guys getting hurt, because they have to play the game right, and you have to pitch and they have to do everything they can. But again, I think it comes down to a lot of it is the guys did a good job this winter. They came into camp not limping. We didnt have to really hold back. They worked hard and they did a good job. Probably my biggest concern is guys getting off that bus playing in spring training road games, because theres just no way to get around it. But the guys really did a good job.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp:twitter.commaureenamullen

Porcello 'feels as good as I've felt all spring' in Red Sox' 5-3 loss

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Porcello 'feels as good as I've felt all spring' in Red Sox' 5-3 loss

Rick Porcello and Drew Pomeranz combined to allow all five of the Red Sox' runs in Boston's 5-3 loss to the Minnesota Twins.

Porcello finished his start by fanning four, allowing four hits and earning two runs over four innings. Pomeranz followed in the next four innings with four strikeouts, five hits allowed and three earned runs. Pomeranz allowed ByungHo Park's eighth-inning, two-run homer, which ended up being the game-winner.

Porcello, however, was optimistic after the loss.

"The buildup was good," Porcello told reporters, via RedSox.com. "Today I felt as good as I've felt all spring. At this point, I'm ready to go. I'm looking forward to the start of the season."

While the Sox offense was able to get three runs off Ervin Santana in his 4 2/3 innings, they struggled against the Twins' next five pitchers. Xander Bogaerts (2 of 3) and Pablo Sandoval (1 of 3) managed homers. Hanley (3 of 3) Ramirez had a double, and Dustin Pedroia (2 of 3) had two singles.

Kyle Kendrick will start Thursday in the Sox' final Spring Training series against the Washington Nationals. First pitch is at 1:05 p.m. ET.

Who's on first for Red Sox? It may be not someone you'd expect

Who's on first for Red Sox? It may be not someone you'd expect

Who’s on first? A middle infielder, maybe.

Hanley Ramirez, Josh Rutledge and Mitch Moreland aren't fully healthy. So the 25th man on the Red Sox has become a matter of corner-infield triage.

Rutledge was gearing up to play some first base with Ramirez restricted to DH because of his throwing shoulder. But Rutledge is hurt now too, likely headed to the disabled list with a left hamstring strain, Sox manager John Farrell said Wednesday morning in Florida.

Here’s the easiest way to think about who takes Rutledge's place: Who would the Red Sox like to see less against left handed pitching, third baseman Pablo Sandoval or first baseman Mitch Moreland? 

If it’s Sandoval, then you carry Marco Hernandez, who can play third base.

“He’s a very strong candidate,” manager John Farrell told reporters in Florida on Wednesday. “He’s one of a few that are being considered strongly right now.” 

If it’s Moreland, than you carry Steve Selsky, who has a history playing first base.

“He’s a guy we’re having discussions on,” Farrell said. “Any guy in our camp that we feel is going to make us a more complete or balanced roster, Deven Marrero, they’re all in consideration.”

The additional wrench here is that Moreland has the flu. If he's not available at all for a few days to begin the season, then the Sox probably have to carry Hernandez.

Why? Because Brock Holt can play some first base if Moreland is out. But then, you’d need another back-up middle infielder, and Hernandez gives you that. 

Hernandez is also hitting .379 in 58 at-bats this spring entering Wednesday.

Moreland isn’t the only one who has the flu.

"It’s running through our clubhouse," Sox manager John Farrell told reporters in Florida on Wednesday, including the Providence Journal’s Tim Britton. "Probably be held out for three days for a quarantine.” (LINK:http://www.providencejournal.com/sports/20170329/with-josh-rutledge-and-mitch-moreland-ailing-first-base-depth-compromised-for-red-sox)

That means the Red Sox won't have Moreland for their exhibitions against the Nationals on Friday and Saturday in Washington D.C. and Annapolis, Md. Moreland could still be ready for the regular season, but would likely be at less than full strength.

Having Ramirez available would sure make things a lot simpler for the Sox.

Both Sandoval at third base and Moreland could use right-handed bats to complement them. Or more specifically, they could use people who can hit left-handed pitching to complement them.

Hernandez is a left-handed hitter who might actually be able to hit lefties. But the Sox haven't used him at first base, and there's no indication they will.

“As we look at the upcoming games, there is the potential for two left-handed starters in Detroit,” Farrell said. “So there’s a number of things being factored right now.”

Early in spring training, Farrell was asked what player had started to catch his eye.

The guy he mentioned was Selsky, an outfielder and first baseman the Red Sox feel fortunate to have picked up off waivers because he still has minor league options remaining.

Now Selsky, who has already technically been cut from major league spring training, has a chance at making the opening day roster. He's 27 and hit .356 in 45 Grapefruit League at-bats.

Chris Young isn't going to have an easy time finding at-bats as it stands now, but the Sox aren't considering moving him to first base.