Buchholz looks strong as Red Sox tie Rays, 1-1

Buchholz looks strong as Red Sox tie Rays, 1-1
March 29, 2011, 10:41 pm
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By MaureenMullen
CSNNE.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- In their final game at City of Palms Park before they move to a new facility in Lee County for next year's spring training, the Red Sox played to a 1-1 tie with the Rays Tuesday afternoon.

Clay Buchholz went four innings, giving up one run on a hit and two walks with three strikeouts. He held the Rays hitless through 3 23 innings. In his last outing he allowed 11 runs (six earned) in four innings.

It was good, Buchholz said. I felt as good psychically as I did the other day. But things went a little bit better. I think I was down in the zone a little bit more, made some better pitches in some key situations. I felt like I was out there for a while, had a couple at-bats where I threw some good pitches they laid off of, fouled off a couple of good pitches, got deep in the count. A lot of those guys are going to be guys that we see when we face that team so I got some good looks at some good hitters and thats what I went out there for.

Tim Wakefield, Dan Wheeler, Matt Albers and Blake Maxwell followed Buchholz to the mound.

Pretty good, manager Terry Francona said of Buchholzs outing. Got his pitch count 78 pitches, 44 strikes up to about where we were comfortable, maybe a little bit earlier. His stuff was crisp. Wake came in and threw the ball real well. I think thats Wheelers best inning of the spring, which is awfully nice to see. The kid Blake Maxwell comes in every time and throws strikes.

Adrian Gonzalez hit his second home run of the spring, leading off the fourth inning with an opposite-field shot for the Sox lone run.

More important, the Red Sox got through the spring with no significant injuries. Josh Beckett gave the organization a scare when he was hit in the head by a batted ball during batting practice early in spring, suffering a mild concussion from which he rebounded with no obvious problems. Other than that, the team suffered no major health issues no small feat after losing 1,018 player-games last season to the disabled list.

Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis -- who both suffered season-ending injuries in 2010 -- led the starters in spring training innings, with 102 and 100, respectively. Jacoby Ellsbury, who missed all but 18 games last season with fractured ribs played 89 innings, batting .333 with a team-high three home runs and eight RBI.

Thrilled, Francona said. Theres no way you can play the games and worry about guys getting hurt, because they have to play the game right, and you have to pitch and they have to do everything they can. But again, I think it comes down to a lot of it is the guys did a good job this winter. They came into camp not limping. We didnt have to really hold back. They worked hard and they did a good job. Probably my biggest concern is guys getting off that bus playing in spring training road games, because theres just no way to get around it. But the guys really did a good job.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp:twitter.commaureenamullen