Lester 'almost too strong' in simulated game


Lester 'almost too strong' in simulated game

By MaureenMullen

FORT MYERS, Fla. With Josh Beckett, manager Terry Francona, and general manager Theo Epstein among the onlookers, watching from behind the batting practice backstop, Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester pitched three innings of a simulated game before the Red Sox game against the Orioles at City of Palms Park Monday. Lester missed his scheduled start Sunday, against the Mets in Port St. Lucie, because of illness.

Working on the back field, Lester threw to five Red Sox minor leaguers including right-handed hitters Oscar Tejeda, Hector Luna, Che-Hsuan Lin, and Ryan Lavarnway, and left-handed hitter Nate Spears. He started each batter with a 1-1 count. Unofficially, he threw 49 pitches (46 to batters and three additional), with five strikeouts, four walks and a hit. Tejeda singled with one out in the second inning.

Hes strong. He said he almost felt too strong, which is good, Francona said. You never really get to be that close to him when hes pitching. His stuff is amazing, that cutter and two-seamer. When you get to actually sit right behind the cage there, it's fun to watch.

Lester, who said he is recovered from the flu-like symptoms that hit him over the weekend, was satisfied with his outing, able to get in enough work to maintain his spring training progression.

Yeah, I think so, he said. Worked on a few things. Started today with something Im not really used to, with a 1-and-1 count. So I had to pitch a little bit differently. But I think everything went well. Felt good. Felt almost too good. But, yeah, everythings fine as far as physically and keeping the energy and keeping the delivery in the third inning.

Lester is expected to make his next start Friday against the Twins at Hammond County Stadium. The Sox have split-squad games that day, against the Twins and against the Astros in Kissimmee. A start that day would keep Lester on schedule to start Opening Day on April 1 in Texas, with an extra day off the week before.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

Quotes, notes and stars: Ortiz the oldest to hit 30 home runs in a season


Quotes, notes and stars: Ortiz the oldest to hit 30 home runs in a season

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 4-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays:


"It's one of those freak things. You don't plan on it happening, but it's one of those things. So we'll just see what the results say and move on from there.'' - Andrew Benintendi on his knee injury.

"That's kind of a routine 3-1 play. Unfortunately, it comes at a time when you've got two outs and a guy on the move. But that's a routine play.'' - John Farrell on the deciding play in which Heath Hembree couldn't hold onto the ball at first.

"I felt good. I felt strong.I felt good out there the whole game.'' - Rick Porcello, asked how he felt going back out for the eighth inning.

"I think everybody in the ballpark knew that that ball was leaving.'' - Porcello, on the hanging curveball to Evan Longoria.



* The loss snapped a five-game winning streak against the Rays for the Red Sox.

* Three of the four Red Sox walk-off losses this season have occurred because of errors.

* The homer by Evan Longoria was his first off Rick Porcello in 40 career at-bats.

* Rick Porcello has now pitched seven innings or more in six straight starts, the longest run for a Red Sox starter since John Lackey did it in 2013.

* David Ortiz is now the oldest player to ever hit 30 homers in a season

* Ortiz has now reached the 30-homer, 100-RBI level 10 times with the Red Sox, including the last four years in a row.

* The loss was the first of Heath Hembree's career, in his 67th major league appearance.

* Dustin Pedroia tied a career high with two stolen bases, the 12th time he's swiped two bases in the same game.



1) Evan Longoria

The Rays were down to their final five outs when Longoria struck, hitting a game-tying homer off Rick Porcello.

2) Brad Miller

Miller's two-run double in the third enabled the Rays to stay close until Longoria's homer tied things up five innings later.

3) Rick Porcello

Porcello gave the Sox length and was brilliant in getting out of some early jams before settling in through the middle innings.


Shaughnessy: Everything Farrell does blows up in his face, particularly in 8th inning

Shaughnessy: Everything Farrell does blows up in his face, particularly in 8th inning

Dan Shaughnessy joins Sports Tonight to discuss Rick Porcello giving up a game-tying homerun in the 8th, and explains why John Farrell has been very unlucky with any decision he makes.