Red Sox notes: Gonzalez shines in debut

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Red Sox notes: Gonzalez shines in debut

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

ARLINGTON, Texas -- If you discount the outcome -- which he didn't want to do, of course -- Adrian Gonzalez had a near-perfect debut as a member of the Red Sox.

The newly acquired first baseman had two hits, collected three RBI, made a number of nice scoops on low throws at first base and even added the second stolen base of his career.

But . . .

"We lost the game and that's all that matters,'' said Gonzalez.

Still, it was hard not to come away impressed with Gonzalez individually.

In his first at-bat, he singled to right, scoring Kevin Youkilis from second. In his second, he singled up the middle, scoring two baserunners. Both at-bats came off C.J. Wilson, among the toughest pitchers in the game for left-handed hitters like Gonzalez.

"Lefty, righty . . . it doesn't matter,'' marveled Terry Francona.

And to top off the debut, Gonzalez, who joked often about his lack of speed during the spring, swiped second base.

Francona noticed Wilson and the Rangers weren't holding Gonzalez near the bag and gave him the green light. Gonzalez, surprised, took off and swiped the bag easily.

"It's just a matter of lefties not paying attention,'' said Gonzalez.

Like the steal Friday, Gonzalez's first steal also came when Yorvit Torrealba was behind the plate. Yesterday, he was catching for Texas; in the previous steal, which came on April 28, 2009, Torrealba was catching for Colorado.

The two were teammates last year with the Padres.

Gonzalez said he told Torrealba: "Do you realize my only two career stolen bases are against you? That's why I like you so much.''

The afternoon wasn't as impressive for the Sox' other big-ticket acquisition, Carl Crawford.

Crawford lined softly to short in his first at-bat, then struck out in each of his next three plate appearances. He stranded five runners, including four in scoring position.

"That was a tough day,'' acknowledged Francona. "Wilson carved him up pretty good. There will be a lot better days. Hopefully, it will start tomorrow.''

"Wilson is tough on everybody,'' said Crawford. "You still hope to do well. But he really bore down on us.''

Crawford said before the game that he had some butterflies and worried about trying to do too much in his first game with the Sox.

"I think I was trying as hard as I could,'' said Crawford. "I was probably pressing a little bit, I'm not sure. But it was just one of those things. It was tough on me today.''

If nothing else, Crawford was relieved to have the first one behind him. The rest, he said, he can treat as normal games.

"I'm glad it's over with and out of the way,'' he said. "We can just keep going and play the rest of the games.''

All of last season, David Ortiz hit exactly 2 of his 30 homers off left-handed pitchers. As such, Francona gave some consideration to sitting Ortiz Friday before giving him the opportuninity to get off to a better start this season.

Ortiz looked a little overmatched against Wilson, going 0-for-3 with two weak grounders and a strikeout. But against another lefty, Darren Oliver, brought in to pitch the eighth inning by Texas manager Ron Washington, Ortiz connected, driving a homer to left-center to tie the game -- for a while, anyway -- at 5-5.

"Boy that was a nice swing,'' marveled Francona. "A really nice swing. He stayed back and used his legs. Boy, that was pretty.''

"You got to keep working,'' said Ortiz, "and be consistent in the long run. Hopefully the homer off a lefty is a good sign. I'm going to keep my mouth shut and keep on working. This is not an easy game to play. You've got to come to the game ready to do some damage. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn't.

"Oliver has good stuff. You've got to make sure you don't miss when he gives you something to hit.''

Three Red Sox relievers made their debuts, too. Some fared better than others.

Matt Albers pitched an inning and walked one, but got three groundouts. Dennys Reyes was called on to face one lefty hitter -- Josh Hamilton -- and walked him. Finally, Dan Wheeler pitched two-thirds of an inning and retired Adrian Beltre and Michael Young with a runner on first.

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

Red Sox acquire third baseman Eduardo Nunez from Giants

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Red Sox acquire third baseman Eduardo Nunez from Giants

BOSTON — On the day Rafael Devers made his major league debut, the Red Sox added another piece to help them at the hot corner — and potentially elsewhere.

The Sox and the San Francisco Giants struck a deal that sends third baseman and utility man Eduardo Nunez to the Red Sox in exchange for minor league righties Shaun Anderson and Gregory Santos.

Nunez, a 30-year-old from the Dominican Republic, could prove a versatile bench piece, particularly as Xander Bogaerts and Brock Holt both struggle. The former is dealing with a hand injury. Dustin Pedroia, red hot, also needs to be spelled occasionally because of his left leg, so Nunez could help out in a variety of ways.

But perhaps the bulk of Nunez’s time with the Sox is to be spent at third base, where he fits as a right-handed complement to the left-handed hitting Devers in a platoon.

Nunez is slashing .299/.326/.414 this season against southpaws, with a  .263/.294/.412 line against them lifetime.

Nunez this year is batting .307 overall, which would be a career-high for him in a single season. But he doesn’t have much pop, with just four home runs this year and double-digits just once in his career (16 last year).

Defensively, Nunez has played shortstop and third base more than any other position in an eight-year career that brought him from the Yankees (four years), Twins (three years) and the Giants (two years) before the Sox. This year, Nunez has played more games at third than any other position, 48, but the seven errors he’s made isn’t an encouraging total.

Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez tweeted an endorsement of Nunez, writing “Eduardo Nuñez plays amazing defense in whatever position he is placed. Red Sox are getting a great guy and player.”

The Red Sox and Mariners were in the middle of a night game in Seattle a little after midnight Wednesday morning when Nunez was seen shaking hands with his Giants teammates. 

There’s a small irony at play here. The Giants, of course, recently re-acquired Pablo Sandoval on a minor league deal, with the Sox still paying Sandoval a ton of money. The Giants’ production at third base has actually been worse than the Red Sox’ this season.