With no options left, Mortensen hopes for spot with Sox

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With no options left, Mortensen hopes for spot with Sox

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Clayton Mortensen spent last year riding the shuttle between Triple A Pawtucket and Boston. The righthander pitched well when summoned to the major league club, but was often the victim of a numbers game when the team needed to create a roster spot.

Mortensen had options remaining last year, meaning the Sox could move him between Boston and Pawtucket without exposing him to waivers. He appeared in 26 games and posted a 3.21 ERA with a WHIP of 1.21.

But this season, Mortensen is out of options and with plenty of other established relievers -- Joel Hanrahan, Koji Uehara, Junichi Tazawa, Andrew Miller, Franklin Morales, Andrew Bailey, Craig Breslow and Alfredo Aceves -- out of options and virtually guaranteed spots, that means Mortensen could be lost at the end of spring.

If the Sox can't find a means of getting him on the 25-man roster, they may have to deal him elsewhere and get something in return rather than risk losing him on waivers.

"Without a question, it puts me in a good situation," said Mortensen. "But it could work against me, too. I've had my share of up and downs, so I'll come in here and try to win a spot on the team. I feel like I have a little better shot without options of making the team than if I did have options.

"I feel confident coming in here. As long as I go out and do what I have to do, I feel like I have a shot of making this team."

Mortensen admits that he's done the roster math in his head and tried to analyze the best he can.

"You're always looking at it," he said, "and evaluating where you're at and try to place yourself in there. But it all comes down to, you never have a clue what these guys are going to do. After a while, you just try to do what you do."

The last thing Mortensen wants to do is "play GM because you're never right. I don't even bother with it. I don't even bother with it. If I'm in their plans, awesome; if I'm not, then something's going to happen."

Betts and Bradley Jr. combine for seven RBI, Red Sox roll to 9-2 win

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Betts and Bradley Jr. combine for seven RBI, Red Sox roll to 9-2 win

The Boston Red Sox put up six runs in the first inning and coasted to a 9-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night.

Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. led the way for the Red Sox with four and three RBI respectfully. Both outfielders had two-run home runs in the Sox’ big first inning.

Knuckleballer Steven Wright gave up one earned run in four innings, his ERA for the spring is now 0.68.

The Red Sox are back in action again on Wednesday at 1:05 p.m when Rick Porcello makes his final spring training start against the Minnesota Twins.

Hernandez has chance at Red Sox opening day roster after Rutledge injury

Hernandez has chance at Red Sox opening day roster after Rutledge injury

Infielder Marco Hernandez may make the Red Sox roster after all.

Fellow infielder Josh Rutledge, the presumptive 25th man on the Red Sox, suffered a left hamstring strain on Tuesday against the Pirates, according to reporters in Florida, including Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald.

If Rutledge isn’t ready for opening day, Hernandez, a left-handed hitter, may have his crack. 

The question is whether the Sox would be comfortable without a right-handed bat to complement both Pablo Sandoval and Mitch Moreland on the corners. Rutledge was going to give the Sox that right-handed look they sought. (When Hanley Ramirez's shoulder will be healthy enough to play first base is unclear, but isn't expected to be too long.)

Neither Rutledge nor Hernandez has played first base in the majors or minors.

A big-league rookie last year, Hernandez has done decently against lefties at the upper levels of the minors, hitting .328 vs. them at Triple-A Pawtucket last season in 67 at-bats. He hit .315 in 54 at-bats at Pawtucket, with a .318 average against them that season in 88 at-bats for Double-A Portland.

Rutledge is a Rule 5 draft pick who has to remain on the major league 25-man roster the whole season or the Sox risk losing him. Placement on the disabled list doesn’t affect his status unless he’s on the disabled list for a very lengthy time.

An alternative option is Steve Selsky, who has first-base experience, but he's already been optioned.