Notes: Red Sox regulars beat Yankees, 2-1

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Notes: Red Sox regulars beat Yankees, 2-1

By Sean McAdamand JoeHaggerty
CSNNE.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Red Sox edged the Yankees, 2-1, Monday night with single runs in the fifth and sixth innings, erasing an early 1-0 Yankee lead.

The Sox tied the game on a wild pitch by Dellin Betances, then went ahead in the sixth on a fielder's choice by Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Boston got six scoreless innings from their bullpen. Dennys Reyes, Jonathan Papelbon, Bobby Jenks and Hideki Okajima all pitched an inning of shutout ball with lefty Rich Hill adding two scoreless frames.

Papelbon had a clean fifth, three days after a rocky outing against Minnesota last Friday in which he walked three and allowed three runs in just a third of an inning.

"The other day, he didn't command his fastball,'' said Terry Francona of his closer, "and he got in a bind. I think you chalk Friday up to a bad spring training day. The three outings I've seen, he's been down consistently with his fastball and that sets up everything else. You can talk all you want about his split, slider . . . if he commands his fastball, he's going to be just fine.''

For the second straight outing, Papelbon declined to speak with reporters after the game.

Alfredo Aceves continued his strong spring with three innings of one-run ball against the Yankees, the team which non-tendered him last fall.

"Alfredo threw strikes, worked quick,'' said Francona. "He's animated out there, he's enthusiastic. He has three pitches he throws for stirkes.''

Aceves, who gave up a run on three hits with a walk and a strikeout, said it didn't feel strange facing his former team.

"No, I never faced the Yankees as a team before,'' he said. "But we did some simulated games the last three years and I threw against my teammates.''

Aceves visited with some former teammates and coaches 90 minutes before game-time on the field.

He said he held no bitterness toward the Yanks' decision to let him go last fall.

"It's not in my hands, that decision,'' he said. "We do the best we can do, out there on the field. But that decision is not in our hands.''

The Yanks were concerned about his back, but Aceves said that, physically, there are no question marks.

"I feel great,'' he said. "I feel 100 percent and it's getting better during spring training. We're going to be in good shape for our season.''

With every projected regular except J.D. Drew in the starting lineup for Monday night's game with the Yankees, the batting order might have contained some clues as to how Terry Francona is going to handle the regular season.

Or not.

While the top third of the lineup is likely to be replicated -- Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia and Carl Crawford -- the use of Kevin Youkilis fourth and Adrian Gonzalez fifth -- is not.

"We'll see,'' said Francona before the game, cryptic as ever on the topic of the batting order. "I honestly don't know.''

Monday night, Francona could afford to have Youkilis fourth and Gonzalez fifth because, with Drew out and Mike Cameron in the lineup instead, he could break up the run of lefty hitters.

But with Drew in the lineup, as he'll be for most nights, that would mean the Sox could have three lefties in succession -- Gonzalez, David Ortiz and Drew -- and make it easy for the opposing manager to utilize a lefty reliever in the late innings.

Also, the presence of lefty starter Manny Banuelos meant it made sense to have the right-handed Youkilis higher in the order than Gonzalez.

Daisuke Matsuzaka, scheduled to start Tuesday against the Detroit Tigers in Lakeland, has not pitched well in three Grapefruit League outings, but Francona insisted it was too early to be concerned.

"I'm not real concerned about anybody in camp,'' Francona said. "I haven't looked at anybody's ERA. If we took Daisuke out of the rotation tomorrow, I wouldn't want to play for me. That's not a good thing. We've got to let these guys get ready.''

Matsuzaka, Hideki Okajima, Junichi Tazawa and minor-leaguer Itsuki Shoda greeted fans at the gates Monday night, collecting donations for relief efforts in Japan.

Matsuzaka and Okajima recorded public service announcements in both English and Japanese, appealing for donations.

The Red Sox foundation pledged 50,000 and all four players are making personal donations.

On the subject of Banuelos, the Yankees' highly-touted 20-year-old lefty, count Francona as a fan.

Francona got a look at the rookie 10 days ago when the Sox faced the Yankees in Tampa and had some fun with New York media members.

"I hope he's too young to make their team,'' he said. "I think, out of respect to this young man's future, they should go with him. Very slow. He's been impressive. I'm actually kind of excited he's pitching tonight.

"I mentioned it to Brian Cashman, Yankees' GM the other night: they need to go slow. If you rush a guy like that, it could be bad.''

The Sox announced that Daniel Turpen, whom they lost to the Yankees during December's Rule V draft, has been returned to the Sox. Turpen would have had to remain on the Yankees' 25-man roster all season, an unlikely scenario.

Turpen was obtained in the deal last July 31 that sent Ramon Ramirez to the San Francisco Giants. Clay Buchholz and Tim Wakefield threw simulated games against each other prior to Alfredo Aceves taking the City of Palms hill against the Yankees on Monday night. Both pitchers faced off against a rotating trio of Jose Iglesias, Josh Reddick and Mark Wagner, and finished with a scoreless tie after 2 12 innings.Buchholz threw three innings, threw 40 pitches and struck out three while allowing three base runners (a walk, two hits) and working extensively on the control of his curveball.I wanted to work throwing some curveballs. I worked on flipping my first pitch in and switching off and then going and throwing some into the dirt, said Buchholz. Thats what I worked on.I think I had three outs in a couple of innings and then I threw a few more after that. I didnt even ask. I just went out there and threw whatever they wanted me to do. Im just waiting to see what they do with their decision for Opening Day once the regular season starts. You guys in the media will know pretty much as soon as I do.Wakefield meanwhile pitched two innings, threw 37 pitches and allowed four base runners (three hits and a walk) while striking out a pair and dazzling young Iglesias with his first introduction to a knuckleball.

Buchholz and Wakefield will both pitch on Friday with Buchholz set to face the Detroit Tigers at City of Palms Park and Wakefield set to pitch against the Tampa Bay Rays at Port Charlotte in a Friday night game.
Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Ramirez, Leon homer, Red Sox beat Angels 9-4 on Papi's night

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Ramirez, Leon homer, Red Sox beat Angels 9-4 on Papi's night

BOSTON - David Ortiz became one of the most celebrated players in Red Sox history during his storied 14-year run in Boston.

On the night he returned to Fenway to have his No. 34 take its place among the franchise's other legends, his former teammates did their part to make sure it was a memorable one.

Hanley Ramirez and Sandy Leon hit two-run homers and the Boston Red Sox beat the Los Angeles Angels 9-4 on Friday to cap a night in which Ortiz's number became the latest retired at Fenway Park.

It was the 250th career home run for Ramirez, a good friend of Ortiz who was also born in the Dominican Republic. Leon finished with three hits and four RBIs.

Ramirez said he played with Ortiz on his mind.

"He's my mentor, my big brother. He's everything," Ramirez said. "Today when I saw him on the field crying, it made me cry."

He said his home run was in Big Papi's honor.

"Definitely, definitely, definitely," he said. "I was going to do his thing (pointing his hands in the air) but I forgot."

The homers helped provide a nice cushion for Rick Porcello (4-9), who gave up four runs and struck out eight in 6 1/3 innings to earn the victory. It was the 13th straight start Porcello has gone at least six innings.

"It was vintage Porcello," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "A couple of pitches that cut his night short, but he was crisp throughout."

This could serve as a needed confidence boost for Porcello, who had been 0-4 with a 7.92 ERA in his previous five starts, allowing 47 hits and 27 earned runs.

He had command of his pitches early, holding the Angels scoreless until the fourth, when a catching error by Leon at home allowed Albert Pujols to cross the plate.

Porcello said he isn't sure if he has completely turned a corner yet after his slow start, but he has felt better in his recent starts.

"Today was a step in the right direction," he said.

Alex Meyer (3-4) allowed five runs and five hits in 3 1/3 innings.

Los Angeles scored three runs in the seventh, but cooled off after Porcello left.

Boston got out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, scoring on an RBI double by Xander Bogaerts and then getting two more runs off wild pitches by Meyer.

Ramirez gave Porcello a 5-1 lead in the fourth with his two-run shot to right field.

Ortiz: 'A super honor' to have number retired by Red Sox

Ortiz: 'A super honor' to have number retired by Red Sox

BOSTON —  The Red Sox have become well known for their ceremonies, for their pull-out-all-the-stops approach to pomp. The retirement of David Ortiz’s No. 34 on Friday evening was in one way, then, typical.

A red banner covered up Ortiz’s No. 34 in right field, on the facade of the grandstand, until it was dropped down as Ortiz, his family, Red Sox ownership and others who have been immortalized in Fenway lore looked on. Carl Yazstremski and Jim Rice, Wade Boggs and Pedro Martinez. 

The half-hour long tribute further guaranteed permanence to a baseball icon whose permanence in the city and the sport was never in doubt. But the moments that made Friday actually feel special, rather than expected, were stripped down and quick. 

Dustin Pedroia’s not one to belabor many points, never been the most effusive guy around. (He’d probably do well on a newspaper deadline.) The second baseman spoke right before Ortiz took to the podium behind the mound.

“We want to thank you for not the clutch hits, the 500 home runs, we want to thank you for how you made us feel and it’s love,” Pedroia said, with No. 34 painted into both on-deck circles and cut into the grass in center field. “And you’re not our teammate, you’re not our friend, you’re our family. … Thank you, we love you.”

Those words were enough for Ortiz to have tears in his eyes.

“Little guy made me cry,” Ortiz said, wiping his hands across his face. “I feel so grateful. I thank God every day for giving me the opportunity to have the career that I have. But I thank God even more for giving me the family and what I came from, who teach me how to try to do everything the right way. Nothing — not money — nothing is better than socializing with the people that are around you, get familiar with, show them love, every single day. It’s honor to get to see my number …. I remember hitting batting practice on this field, I always was trying to hit those numbers.”

Now that’s a poignant image for a left-handed slugger at Fenway Park.

He did it once, he said — hit the numbers. He wasn’t sure when. Somewhere in 2011-13, he estimated — but he said he hit Bobby Doerr’s No. 1.

“It was a good day to hit during batting practice,” Ortiz remembered afterward in a press conference. “But to be honest with you, I never thought I’d have a chance to hit the ball out there. It’s pretty far. My comment based on those numbers was, like, I started just getting behind the history of this organization. Those guys, those numbers have a lot of good baseball in them. It takes special people to do special things and at the end of the day have their number retired up there, so that happening to me today, it’s a super honor to be up there, hanging with those guys.”

The day was all about his number, ultimately, and his number took inspiration from the late Kirby Puckett. Ortiz’s major league career began with the Twins in 1997. Puckett passed away in 2006, but the Red Sox brought his children to Fenway Park. They did not speak at the podium or throw a ceremonial first pitch, but their presence likely meant more than, say, Jason Varitek’s or Tim Wakefield’s.

“Oh man, that was very emotional,” Ortiz said. “I’m not going to lie to you, like, when I saw them coming toward me, I thought about Kirby. A lot. That was my man, you know. It was super nice to see his kids. Because I remember, when they were little guys, little kids. Once I got to join the Minnesota Twins, Kirby was already working in the front office. So they were, they used to come in and out. I used to get to see them. But their dad was a very special person for me and that’s why you saw me carry the No. 34 when I got here. It was very special to get to see them, to get kind of connected with Kirby somehow someway.”

Ortiz’s place in the row of 11 retired numbers comes in between Boggs’ No. 26 and Jackie Robinson’s No. 42.