Ortiz mourns loss of friend 'Mr. Johnny'

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Ortiz mourns loss of friend 'Mr. Johnny'

BALTIMORE Before things got crazy in the Camden Yards visitors clubhouse on Tuesday, the mood was somber as longtime Sox players like Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz paid tribute to Johnny Pesky. The 92-year-old Sox legend passed away on Monday and left behind six decades of association with the Sox organization as a player, coach, manager, ambassador, special instructor and in the last decade or more of his life as a living legend.

Ortiz and Pesky had a special relationship as the two would engage in a playful give-and-take within the clubhouse and dugout before games, and always seemed to find each other for a victorious embrace when the Sox captured their World Series championships. A sad smile stole over Ortizs face when he was asked what Pesky meant to him during his 10-year career in Boston.

A lot, man. Ive been in this organization for 10 years and Johnny is what the Red Sox franchise is all about, said Ortiz. Thinking about Johnny Pesky and not being able to have him around physically is hard to deal with. Its pretty devastating to find out that hes passed away.

He was an unbelievable human being. He showed you from the very beginning what love for this game was all about. I always liked to be shadow him when he was around he had some good things to say. He had some funny things to say. Im going to miss all that.

There wasnt a single story that leapt to mind for either Pedroia or Ortiz when it came to the franchises elder statesmen, but his image is still abundantly clear. Pesky would walk around the Sox clubhouse with bat in hand and boast to the players that he could still go out and do some damage with the bat.

It didnt matter who was pitching, and it certainly didnt matter that Pesky was pushing 90 years old. The Sox players loved him for his spirit and energy that age couldnt take away from him.

If you can hit .300 in the big leagues thats something hard to do, said Ortiz. There are tons of stories with him. The most important thing with him was his personality: the way he handled his business. Even at his age he said he could still get a hit. That was how strong mentally he was, and I appreciated all those great times I spent with Mr. Johnny.

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.