Lester, Ellsbury lift Red Sox past Rays in Game 1

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Lester, Ellsbury lift Red Sox past Rays in Game 1

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen
BOSTON Jon Lester rebounded from a shaky first two innings in the first game of Tuesdays doubleheader against the Rays at Fenway Park, and the Red Sox won, 3-1.

In the first two innings, Lester faced 10 batters, allowing two hits, a walk, and a hit batter, but limited the Rays to one run. After hitting Sean Rodriguez with a pitch and walking Kelly Shoppach on four pitches in the second, Lester retired the next 12 consecutive batters before allowing another hit.

Lester went seven innings, giving up one run on three hits and a walk with eight strikeouts, improving to 12-6, with a 3.22 ERA.

Jacoby Ellsburys 21st home run of the season gave Lester all the run support he would need. Ellsbury hit a three-run shot into the visitors' bullpen off Rays starter James Shields, scoring Josh Reddick and Mike Aviles to make the score 3-1 in the third inning.

Reddick and Aviles singled to start the rally, and the three hits in the inning were the only hits Shields allowed. Despite extending his league-leading complete game total to nine, he fell to 11-10.

Daniel Bard pitched a perfect eighth and Jonathan Papelbon did the same in the ninth for his 28th save.

The Sox, who entered the day tied with the Yankees for the American League East lead, picked up a half-game.

The night cap is scheduled to start at 7:10 with Erik Bedard (4-7, 3.55 ERA, with two no decisions with the Sox), facing Jays right-hander Jeff Niemann (7-4, 3.43).

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

Sox hope to bring David Ortiz back to Boston for new role

Sox hope to bring David Ortiz back to Boston for new role

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- David Oritz’s time in Boston as a player is over. He continues to say there’s no Brett Favre-type comeback, no matter how many people ask him.

However, that doesn’t mean his time with the Red Sox is over.

Sam Kennedy, Tom Werner and Dave Dombrowski are heading down to the Dominican Republic to tour the team’s academy on the island to see what changes, if any, need to be made.

Ortiz will join them on those tours.

“He’s just a good guy to go to the Dominican with,” Kennedy said. “We thought it’d be great to catch up. Haven’t seen him since before the holidays.”

But the front office members intend to exchange more than just pleasantries and stories from the holiday season. One goal on the trip is to bring Ortiz back to the organization as an employee.

“Yeah that’s something on the agenda,” Kennedy said. “We’re gonna talk about what he may or may not want to do. He did say after the season let’s just talk in January. He was so overwhelmed and tired so it’s a good time to start those conversations.

“I know he has a lot of plans, broadcasting, a lot of businesses he’s involved with and we’ll see what he’s up to. But we hope to cement something so he’s a part of the organization.”

What role that is yet to be determined. Assuming he doesn’t pursue a broadcasting career.

“I truly don’t know what’s on his mind,” Kennedy said. “He’ll obviously be good at whatever he decides to do, but I would hope that we could create a role where he has influence in the baseball operations side, he has influence in marketing, as an ambassador. A lot of our alums we’ve found really enjoy working with young players. Pedro [Martinez] is a perfect example of that.

“So we’ll see what he’s interested in doing, but I have heard him talk about broadcasting in the past and I think he’d be great at it if he decides to do it.”

Swihart, Wright fully recovered for Red Sox' spring training

Swihart, Wright fully recovered for Red Sox' spring training

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- Dave Dombrowski told reporters at the Red Sox Winter Weekend at Foxwoods both Steven Wright and Blake Swihart are ready to go for spring training.

Wright suffered a shoulder injury from sliding back into second as a pinch runner against the Dodgers in August, ending his All-Star season far too soon. The knuckleballer went 13-6 with a 3.33 ERA in 24 starts last season.

“His shoulder has been feeling good,” Dombrowski said of Wright, who was not at the event due to a prior engagement. “He’s out there throwing, so he feels good.”

Swihart saw his season end even sooner than Wright, after spraining his left ankle June 4 tracking down a foul ball in left field near the wall at Fenway Park. He played in only 19 games last season. 

“[Swihart] said he feels great,” Dombrowski said. “He’s going right from here down to Florida and he said he’s ready to go.”

Swihart will move back to the catcher position for spring training, with his goal of winning the job over Sandy Leon and Christian Vazquez. The ankle might’ve been a cause for concern had the Red Sox handled the situation differently, but by all accounts he’s OK to catch again.

“They tell me [there’s no reason for concern],” Dombrowski said. “I guess I’m really not knowledgeable to say that, but the doctors and trainers have told me no.

"That’s why they went and had the surgery because they felt the way the tendon kept slipping that [there was a] possibility it would bother him more. But after the surgery now, they feel there will not be any problems in that regard.”