Notes: Pimentel tosses two scoreless innings

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Notes: Pimentel tosses two scoreless innings

By SeanMcAdam and MaureenMullen
CSNNE.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- In the seven-inning afternoon game against Boston College, Stolmy Pimentel tossed two scoreless innings with two strikeouts on 13 pitches.

In addition to the three-run homer from Youkilis, the Sox got a run-scoring single from Ryan Kalish and sacrifice flies from Lars Anderson and Alex Hassan.

The game also featured an annual rite of spring: a plate appearance by staff member Ino Guerrero. Guerrero made a pinch-hit appearance in the sixth and drew a walk.

During Guerrero's at-bat, every player and coach in the home dugout was on the first step, watching intently.

"He's the first player now to get into a game in nine decades,'' cracked Francona. "We wanted him to swing, believe me. There was a lot of money riding on the fact that he was not going to get a hit.''

Dennys Reyes, who signed a deal with the Red Sox earlier this month, finally arrived in camp, delayed somewhat by visa issues in his native Mexico.

"He's had two or three long days trying to travel and obstacles in getting here,'' said Francona. "We'll just try and gauge where he is. He looks good. He tested his shoulder and that came out fine. We haven't even watched him throw yet. We'll see. Obviously, the sooner the better. But we don't want to do it too soon, because that doesn't help anybody. As soon as he gets ready, and not before, we'll throw him right into the mix.''

Said Reyes: "I've been pitching for a long time and I know what to do. I'm going to do my best every time out.''

Reyes said the battle for the final two spots in the bullpen will result in "a great competition. There's nothing you can do. I know most of the guys competing and I respect them. It's not going to be our decision; it's going to be the (team's) decision and you just have to do the best you can.''

Reyes has been in a spring training competition a few times before and the toughest part of the process is the mental aspect.

"Thinking about what if you're not (chosen for the roster),'' said Reyes, "that's the hardest part.''

Though he was held up in arriving in camp, Reyes has already thrown three bullpens and three simulated games in his native Mexico.''

A mechanical flaw resulted in Reyes being ineffective against lefties last year, but he thinks he corrected it at the end of last season.

"Throughout his career,'' said Francona, "he's gotten lefties out. That's what the hopes are.''

Felix Doubront, who was shut down last week with tenderness in his left elbow, said he felt "the normal tightness'' he usually feels at the start of spring training.

Doubront had an MRI, which showed no structural damage to the elbow.

"I feel it every year when I start throwing,'' he said. "When I threw my first live BP, there was something there. It wasn't right. I talked to the trainers. It's a little frustrating, but it could have been worse. It's nothing to worry about it. It's just minor.''

The Red Sox beat Northeastern in the nightcap, 13-2, after beating Boston College in the first game, 6-0. Northeastern had more errors, seven, than the Red Sox had hits, six. Milton, Mass., Rich Hill earned the win, going one inning giving up a run on hit with one strikeout.

Mike Cameron, who was limited to 48 games last season with a lower abdominal strain, served as the designated hitter against Northeastern, going 0-for-2. It was his first game activity since July 30, with season-ending surgery on Aug. 27.

It was good, Cameron said. You just never know how the game is going to transpire. It was good. I got a chance to get out there and get in the box. The jitters kind of went away. I dont know if it was the guy who was throwing or what, but I felt kind of comfortable out there. Well continue the work in progress.

Manager Terry Francona said the original plan had been for the infield to play in the first game of the doubleheader against Boston College, and the outfield play against Northeastern. But that was scuttled when left fielder Carl Crawford was excused from camp to return to his Houston home for personal reasons. Still, Francona was happy to see Ellsbury and Cameron return to the lineup healthy.

It was nice to see them both in action, he said.

Northeasterns Ryan Maguire, of Arlington, Mass., opened the game with a first-pitch home run off Kyle Weiland. In 128 13 innings over 25 starts for Double-A Portland last season, Weiland allowed just 13 home runs.

Flashy shortstop prospect Jose Iglesias with 2-for-3 with two runs scored and three RBI.

He took a nice swing, Francona said. The big thing for Jose will be not his swing. I think hes got a pretty swing. Its just swinging at strikes, trying to work counts, and learning that aspect of it because he can hit. He can get the barrel on the ball.

Peter Hissey and Che-Hsuan Lin also had two RBI each.

Adrian Gonzalez took 25 swings off the tee, then hit 25 flips early Saturday morning. "He had a real good morning. Everything went really well. He was really pleased with us . . . Among the players scheduled to play against Minnesota in the Grapefruit League opener tonight: Jarrod Saltalmacchia; Jed Lowrie; David Ortiz; Kevin Youkilis; Mike Cameron; Darnell McDonald; Jose Iglesias; and Ryan Kalish . . . Infielder Hector Luna scratched from the second game with a tight groin, which he has battled all spring...Francona said Saltalamacchia and Jason Varitek would alternate the catching duties over the first four Grapefruit League games. Four Red Sox pitchers threw an inning each in a simulated game on the back field: Jon Lester, John Lackey, Alfredo Aceves and Bobby Jenks. After Brent Dlugach drilled a pitch from Jenks off the wall, he got the next pitch in his backside . . . Francona explaining his decision to announce that Marco Scutaro would be his starting shortstop at the start of the season: "If I was a player and went through what Scutaro did (playing hurt last year) and then had to come to camp and base my playing time on 40 at-bats, I wouldn't want to play for a guy like me. I don't think that makes a lot of sense.''

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

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp:twitter.commaureenamullen

First impressions: Royals' five-run first inning dooms Red Sox in 6-3 loss

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First impressions: Royals' five-run first inning dooms Red Sox in 6-3 loss

First impressions from the Red Sox' 6-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals:

 

Steven Wright recovered nicely after the first inning, but the damage was done.

Wright's last five innings featured just three hits allowed -- one in the infield. But the first inning did the Red Sox in -- two walks followed by a three-run homer, then a single and a two-run homer.

Whether this was a matter of rust for Wright -- who last pitched three weeks ago Friday night -- or an early inability to command his knuckleball is uncertain.

The fact is, Wright dug an early hole for his teammates, and he had the misfortune to do so against a team with the best bullpen in baseball.

To his credit, Wright kept the game somewhat within reach thereafter, but the five-run head start proved too much of a jump.

 

It's time to worry a little about Jackie Bradley.

Bradley was just 7-for-40 in the just-completed road trip, and things didn't get any better on the first night of the homestand.

In the first, he came up with two on and two out and struck out swinging to strand both baserunners. In the third, he came to the plate with runners on the corners and, again, struck out swinging.

We're seeing the same kind of slump that Bradley fell into in previous seasons, where even contact is hard to find, with nine strikeouts in the last 16 at-bats.

Problem is, with Andrew Benitendi on the DL, there aren't a lot of options for John Farrell with the Red Sox outfield.

 

Trying to get Fernando Abad and Junichi Tazawa back on track in low- leverage mop-up didn't work.

Tazawa had a perfect seventh, but gave up a monster shot into the center field bleachers to Lorenzo Cain to start the eighth.

Abad entered, and while he did record a couple of strikeouts, also gave up a single, a walk and threw a wild pitches before he could complete the inning.

Getting some work for the two was the right idea, given that the Sox were down by three runs at the time. A good outing might help either regain some confidence and turn the corner.

But not even that could be accomplished Friday night.