Notes: McDonald tweaks thumb

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Notes: McDonald tweaks thumb

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Darnell McDonald left the Red Sox' 4-1 loss to the Phillies on Monday after the top of the third inning with a jammed right thumb, but the move was out of precaution more than anything else.

McDonald had surgery on the thumb last October, making the Red Sox extra vigilant.

"It just puffed up on him a little bit after an at-bat in the second inning," said Terry Francona. "He wanted to stay in. I just didn't want to undo a really good spring. We'll give him the day off Tuesday and then we're off Wednesday. He's fine. He said he took a swing and it hurt him a little bit. I just didn't want to mess with it.

"With the surgery, that's why I wanted to get him out of there. He said it had been a little bit sore for the past week. With the day off coming up, let's get him back feeling good."

Nate Spears, who had started the game at third base, shifted to left field with Ryan Khoury taking over at third.

McDonald wasn't the only injury victim Monday. Longtime clubhouse attendant Tom McLaughlin, stationed in the Boston dugout, was hit in the face with a splinter of a bat when Jacoby Ellsbury's bat shattered to lead off the game.

McLaughin was cut on the bridge of his nose, but was otherwise OK.

"It's amazing what some people do to get on TV,'' cracked Francona, noting that the game was televised by ESPN. "He got a little cut on his nose. But I was the only casuality. That's the quickest I've moved. I've got a little bit of a sore left hamstring.

"I was actually scared when he dropped his head. I thought he was hurt.''

McLaughlin joked that he suffered only a "broken eyebrow."

While the Sox and Phils played 140 or so miles to the north, four pitchers who stayed behind in Fort Myers were kept busy.

Felix Doubront, who has been slowed by left elbow tenderness, tossed a two-inning, 30-pitch simulated game. Doubront will throw a live batting practice session in a few days, then appear in a game before the Red Sox leave Florida next Tuesday.

Bobby Jenks also pitched a simulated game, throwing 17 pitches over an inning.

Jonathan Papelbon, pitching for Single A Greenville at the Red Sox' minor-league complex, gave up a hit and two walks over an inning and a third. He also had a strikeout. Of Papelbon's 28 pitches, 14 were for strikes.

Daniel Bard gave up four hits in an inning, pitching in the same game as Papelbon. He had one strikeout, with 16 strikes in his 26 pitches.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

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.