Notes: Albers, Reyes not sharp before final cuts

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Notes: Albers, Reyes not sharp before final cuts

By SeanMcAdam
CSNNE.com

SARASOTA, Fla. -- While emphasizing that the remaining relievers aren't in a "pitch-off,'' the Red Sox had to be monitoring the work of both Matt Albers and Dennys Reyes against the O's.

Neither was particularly sharp.

Albers walked two and gave up a run. The walks were the first of the spring for Albers, who had previously made eight appearances, covering 11 13 innings without issuing a walk.

"I think I was just overthrowing a hair,'' he said. "I was cutting the ball off just a little bit. I wasn't missing by much. Maybe I was trying to be a little too fine and just missed down a little bit.''

"He's had good life in the strike zone every time he's pitched.'' said Francona. "He's been very consistent. He's done exactly what we hoped he would do.''

Albers knows roster decisions are coming, but by now is accustomed to the process.

"I've been through last-minute roster cuts before,'' said Albers. "The last few years in Baltimore, I didn't find out I made the team until the last couple of days. It's in the back of your head that it's coming up pretty soon, but you try to put that out of your mind and go out there and pitch.''

Reyes walked the first batter he faced, then gave up a single to Brian Roberts before getting a lineout and a double play.

"I started a little rusty because the mound in the bullpen is way too high,'' Reyes said. "I got out to the mound in the field and it felt like I was throwing uphill.''

Like Albers, Reyes is patiently expecting word on his fate.

"I'm waiting,'' he said. "I think I'm ready to go. Hopefully, I make it.''

Francona hinted that the Red Sox could make their final roster cuts Monday.

The Sox have 31 players in camp, though a handful -- including Paul Hoover, Drew Sutton, Nate Spears -- have been told they won't be making the club.

Francona and many of the players will be leaving Fort Myers at 7 a.m. Monday morning for a 2 12-hour bus ride to Dunedin, making it difficult for the manager to meet with players who are being optioned out or releases.

But the Sox want to avoid postponing the cuts until Tuesday morning, hours before the team charters to Houston for an exhibition game en route to Friday's season opener in Arlington, Texas.

The Sox worst-ever spring losing streak stretched to 10 with a 4-3 loss to the Orioles.

J.D. Drew hit a two-run homer in the third and Drew Sutton delivered a run-scoring triple, but the Sox allowed three runs in the botom of the eighth to wipe out a 3-1 lead.

Youre talking to a guy who cheats when hes playing his kids in Monopoly,'' said Francona, "so I want to win. But we wouldnt have brought in minor-league pitcher Santos) Luis who gave up with the winning runs, if it had been a crucial game. You try and do what youre supposed to do, and you always just want to play the game right. I think we would all rather win than lose. I dont think its creating an atmosphere of panic.

Jason Varitek caught Jon Lester in the camp game and went 0-for-3 . . . Lester's pitching line in the camp game: 5 IP, 9 H, 5 R 4 ER, 0 BB, 5 K. 77 pitches, 50 strikes . . . Kevin Youkilis and Carl Crawford will play in a minor-league game there Monday . . . John Lackey will make his final start of the spring in Dunedin agaist the Blue Jays while Jonathan Papelbon and Daniel Bard will pitch in a minor-league game in Fort Myers.

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

Mitch Moreland fancies himself an ideal fit with Red Sox

Mitch Moreland fancies himself an ideal fit with Red Sox

Mitch Moreland put up mediocre numbers and won a Gold Glove in a walk year. For his efforts, he received a one-year, $5.5 million contract on the open market. 

That’s not a lot. Maybe his .233 average stood out to teams more than his 22 homers, but either way it’s somewhat surprising that a one-year deal on low money is the best he could do given the fact that his career average was .258 prior to last year and he’d hit .275 or higher in two of his previous four seasons. 

The contract might not be a major score for Moreland, but he said choosing Boston was. 

“I had a couple options, but really just the whole fact that it’s place that I really wanted to play,” he said of Boston. “Getting an opportunity to come here and be a part of a winning environment, being part of a winning environment and having a chance to go out and play for a championship is huge to me, personally, and this is a great option. 

“What they were able to do last year, you know you were in for a fight when you were playing these guys. It was a gritty group of guys that had a ton of talent. I like to think of myself as that type player, as a gritty type player and hopefully I felt like I could fit in here and move forward and try to help out and make that goal happen of winning a championship. 

“That’s the main goal as far as playing this game for me. I feel like we’ve got a great opportunity here, and that was before the [Chris] Sale news broke, too, you know? So seeing that also, it just shows you that we’re in it. We’re in it and trying to go all out to make that happen. I’m happy to be a part of it.” 

It doesn’t hurt that his batting average is higher at Fenway Park than it is in any other stadium in which he’s had at least 30 at-bats. Moreland has hit .341/.378/.683 with four homers and eight RBI in 41 career at-bats at Fenway. Asked to explain his success in Boston, he noted that “comfortable” was the only word that came to mind. 

So what is the Red Sox’ plan for the former Rangers first baseman? To play him at first against righties and let Hanley Ramirez DH, John Farrell said. 

Farrell did also point to Moreland’s recent work against lefties. Last season was one of two in his career (the other being 2013) in which Moreland had a better average against lefties than against righties. Moreland hit .277/.320/.479 against southpaws last season, with .221/.293/.407 marks against righties.

“Against right-handed starters, Mitch will be the first baseman,” Farrell said. “That gives us the flexibility to DH Hanley in that spot. One thing I also mentioned to Mitch is we’re certainly open to his at-bats growing in number against left-handers, last year was his best year against left-handers in his big league career.

"With Mitch, getting everyday at-bats against right-handed starters at first base and Hanley moving to the DH slot, that alignment, we also have the ability against quality left-handers, where Hanley would go back to first base and then we’ve got the ability to rotate some guys through the DH slot. 

Added Farrell: “His strengths as a player are many, but we feel this is a very good fit in a number of ways, and positionally first and foremost.” 

Red Sox make Mitch Moreland signing official

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Red Sox make Mitch Moreland signing official

The Red Sox officially announced the signing of first baseman Mitch Moreland Thursday. To make room for him on the 40-man roster, the team designated left-handed pitcher Williams Jerez for assignment. 

Moreland has played his entire career with the Rangers, winning a Gold Glove at first base last season. He hit .233/.298/.422 with 22 homers and 60 RBI for the Rangers last season before becoming a free agent. He has a career batting average of .254, with a career-high 23 homers in both the 2013 and 2015 seasons. 

A second-round pick of the Red Sox in the 2011 draft, Jerez started his professional career as an outfielder before being moved to pitcher.