Ranaudo impresses in first spring outing

Ranaudo impresses in first spring outing
February 28, 2014, 5:30 pm

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- It was only two innings, in the first official exhibition game of the spring. Still, there was a lot to like about Anthony Ranaudo's outing Friday.

The former LSU standout pitched two perfect innings, facing six batters and striking out four. Of the 24 pitches he threw, 19 were for strikes.

"I thought he was impressive,'' said John Farrell after the Red Sox lost to Minnesota, 8-2. "[He threw] three pitches for strikes. He was aggressive through the strike zone and when he leveraged his fastball downhill, he was able to generate some swing-and-misses. It was an impressive first two innings for his first outing here.''

Following a pregame ceremony which featured the entire roster being introduced and the 2013 World Series celebrated, there was plenty of buzz at JetBlue Park.

"There was a definitely a lot of adrenaline,'' said Ranaudo. "I think all the older guys kept the situation light for me. I had a lot of fun going out there. That was the approach I took. I was just trying to go out there, be aggressive, fill up the zone. I threw a lot of fastballs and was able to go side-to-side with them. I wasn't down in the zone as much I'd like to be, but overall, it went pretty well.''

Veteran catcher David Ross also liked what he saw from behind the plate.

"He moved the fastball in-and-out really well,'' said Ross. "He struck some guys out and pitched with his fastball. I think that's one of the main things you're looking at early on. Even the veteran guys are trying to pitch with their fastball and let the breaking stuff come. I was very impressed with Anthony; he did a great job.''

Ordinarily, major-league hitters jump on fastballs that are elevated, but the Twins hitters were seeing live pitching in a game for the first time this spring and weren't able to do much against some of the pitches Ranaudo left up.

"I've got to do a better job bringing the ball down,'' said Ranaudo. "That's what I'm going for every time I go out there -- either swing-and-misses or weak contact.''

Ranaudo will begin the season in the Pawtucket rotation, but the big leagues are close enough that an injury or performance issue could result in him being called up.

Last year, Ranaudo roomed with both Brandon Workman and Drake Britton at Double-A Portland at the start of the season, and by August, both of his roommates were in Boston, in the middle of a playoff race.

It could happen to Ranaudo this season, too.

"Obviously, that's the perfect scenario,'' said Ranaudo. "That's how you draw it up. It's definitely a reality. They not only made it to the big leagues, but they had success and contributed to a team that won a World Series. It's definitely an eye-opener and I think all the young guys are well aware of the opportunity.

"I think we're all just out here, taking it day-by-day, doing what we can to work our way up there.''