Valencia excited to make first start for Red Sox

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Valencia excited to make first start for Red Sox

CLEVELAND An interesting week for Red Sox third baseman Danny Valencia ends with him in the starting lineup for the Red Sox on Sunday afternoon.

It started last Sunday when the Sox acquired Valencia in an August waiver trade with the Minnesota Twins, and continued when the corner infielder joined the Pawtucket Red Sox to play against Minnesotas Triple-A club in Rochester for a pair of games. When Will Middlebrooks went down with the fractured right wrist, Ben Cheringtons prudent depth acquisition was called up to the big club. On Sunday, he is batting eighth between Mike Aviles and Kelly Shoppach.

To say its been a dizzying flurry of moves for Valencia this week would be an understatement.

Its been crazy. I went back to playing against my old team in Triple-A and now Im here. But Im ready to go and excited to play, Valencia said. I feel bad for Middlebrooks, but I just want to be able to start, come off the bench or do whatever is going to help this team win.

Valencia hopped in for a few innings as a defensive replacement in Saturday nights loss to the Tribe, and was asked whether he was happy to get his feet wet.

I got them soaked out there, said a smiling Valencia. It was nice. You just want to get the early jitters out. I dont really know anybody here, so it was good to get out there and stretch my legs a little bit.

The Twins third baseman fell out of favor in Minnesota this season while struggling with a .198.212.310 line in 34 games following a horrendous April performance. That led to his trade away from the Twins, and Valencia is hoping it leads to a fresh beginning in Boston during their time of need.

He went 3-for-7 with a pair of doubles in his two games against Triple-A Rochester, and said hes now beyond his early season struggles.

Its nice to be able to start over and have a clean slate. Its great to come and try to help a team thats right in the middle of a playoff push, said Valencia. It feels good. It was definitely a rough April for me. They had guys come in and do a great job and there was no room for me anymore.

But Im over here now and its worked out for me. So thats nice.

Valencia will try to continue the nice story of his time with Boston in his starting debut against the Tribe on Sunday afternoon.

Three-run HR from Sandoval (.353) leads Red Sox split squad past Rays, 7-5

Three-run HR from Sandoval (.353) leads Red Sox split squad past Rays, 7-5

Pablo Sandoval hit his fourth home run of the spring and Rusney Castillo had three hits to lead a Red Sox split squad to a 7-5 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday in Port Charlotte, Fla. 

Sandoval, who has won back his third base job after missing nearly all of last season following surgery on his left shoulder, connected for a three-run shot, batting right-handed, against Rays starter Ian Snell in the fifth inning. The switch-hitting Sandoval had abandoned hitting right-handed in 2015, his last full season with the Red Sox.

He's hitting .353 this spring with a 1.051 OPS and 19 RBI.

Castillo, the Cuban outfielder signed to a seven-year, $72 million deal late in 2014 but again likely headed for Triple-A Pawtucket, went 3-for-4 and is hitting .368 this spring. Catcher Blake Swihart, also probably Pawtucket-bound, had two hits and is hitting .325.


 

Another strong start for Kendrick in Red Sox split squad's 3-3 tie with Phillies

Another strong start for Kendrick in Red Sox split squad's 3-3 tie with Phillies

Kyle Kendrick strengthened his bid for a spot in the rotation by allowing two runs in six innings and striking out six and Jackie Bradley homered as a Red Sox split squad played to a 3-3 tie with the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday in Fort Myers, Fla.

Kendrick, 32, a non-roster invitee to spring training, allowed eight hits and a walk in his sixth start this spring. He's been the Red Sox best starter with an ERA of 2.17. 

With David Price out until May and lefty Drew Pomeranz still a question mark, Kendrick could find his way into the rotation behind Chris Sale, Rick Porcello, Steven Wright and Eduardo Rodriguez.

Bradley went 2-for-3 with his third homer of the spring. He's hitting .244 in spring training games. 

The Phillies pushed across the tying run in the ninth off lefty reliever Robby Scott, the first run he's allowed this spring in 10 innings. 

The Minnesota Twins host the Red Sox on Sunday at 1:05 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers.