Pedroia excited to return to game action

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Pedroia excited to return to game action

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- After suffering a broken bone in his foot last June, Dustin Pedroia played only two more games for the rest of the 2010 season.

Saturday, Pedroia will return to competition as the Red Sox begin their exhibition schedule and the fact the opponent will be a college team -- Boston College -- surely won't take away any of his enthusiasm.

"I'm excited," said Pedroia. "My biggest thing is to get out there and just get in the flow of the game and make sure I'm healthy and feel good -- and just see pitches, just like any normal game, the first game I'm out there. Just see pitches, get used to everything and that's it. I just can't wait. It's going to be fun."

Pedroia is one of a handful of players who had their 2010 interrupted by injuries. Teammates Jacoby Ellsbury, Mike Cameron and Kevin Youkilis all missed significant time.

But because there is at least the potential for post-surgery complications on Pedroia's foot, there will be more attention paid to his return.

"I'm moving around good," said Pedroia. "I feel good and I'm just excited to be out there. It's going to be fun. It's been a long time. I've put a lot of hard work in getting back and it should be fun. I'm just like everybody else right now."

Two key off-season acquisitions will have their debuts pushed back some.

Carl Crawford will not take part in either of the two seven-inning games the Red Sox have scheduled -- the first against BC and the nightcap against Northeastern.

Crawford has been given permission to return home to Houston Saturday to take care of a personal business matter. Crawford will return to southwest Florida Sunday, but likely won't play Sunday night in the first Grapefruit League match against Minnesota. It's expected that he will play Monday, also against the Twins.

"He's going to get enough reps,'' said bench coach DeMarlo Hale, who ran the final workout while manager Terry Francona attended to a personal matter. "As we get further into spring training, the workload gets heavier for the starters.''

Meanwhile, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez is still about two weeks away from seeing game action.

Gonzalez hit off a tee for the third time this week, taking 45 swings off the tee.

Saturday morning, Gonzalez will hit "flips'' or, soft tosses from close-by. He'll repeat that a few times before graduating to regular batting practice, live batting practice, and eventually, games.

The Sox announced some further pitching assignments for the first few games.

Stolmy Pimentel will start against BC, followed to the mound by Michael Bowden, Jason Rice, Clevelan Santeliz, Matt Fox and Randy Williams.

Saturday night, the Sox will start Kyle Weiland, followed by Alex Wilson, Rich Hill, Tony Pena Jr. and Matt Albers.

On Sunday, the Sox plan to start Josh Beckett, Others slated for work: Clay Buchholz, Brandon Duckworth, Hideki Okajima, Scott Achison and Dan Wheeler.

The Twins play the Sox once again Monday, when Boston will send Daisuke Matsuzaka, Tim Wakefield, Andrew Miller and Daniel Bard to the mound.

Finally, when the Sox and Twins play for a third straight day Tuesday, the pitchers will include Jon Lester and Alfredo Aceves.

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

Rick Porcello starts, Drew Pomeranz relieves in Red Sox' 5-3 loss to Twins

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Rick Porcello starts, Drew Pomeranz relieves in Red Sox' 5-3 loss to Twins

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.