Notes: Red Sox regulars beat Yankees, 2-1

Notes: Red Sox regulars beat Yankees, 2-1
March 14, 2011, 11:14 pm
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By Sean McAdamand JoeHaggerty
CSNNE.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Red Sox edged the Yankees, 2-1, Monday night with single runs in the fifth and sixth innings, erasing an early 1-0 Yankee lead.

The Sox tied the game on a wild pitch by Dellin Betances, then went ahead in the sixth on a fielder's choice by Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Boston got six scoreless innings from their bullpen. Dennys Reyes, Jonathan Papelbon, Bobby Jenks and Hideki Okajima all pitched an inning of shutout ball with lefty Rich Hill adding two scoreless frames.

Papelbon had a clean fifth, three days after a rocky outing against Minnesota last Friday in which he walked three and allowed three runs in just a third of an inning.

"The other day, he didn't command his fastball,'' said Terry Francona of his closer, "and he got in a bind. I think you chalk Friday up to a bad spring training day. The three outings I've seen, he's been down consistently with his fastball and that sets up everything else. You can talk all you want about his split, slider . . . if he commands his fastball, he's going to be just fine.''

For the second straight outing, Papelbon declined to speak with reporters after the game.

Alfredo Aceves continued his strong spring with three innings of one-run ball against the Yankees, the team which non-tendered him last fall.

"Alfredo threw strikes, worked quick,'' said Francona. "He's animated out there, he's enthusiastic. He has three pitches he throws for stirkes.''

Aceves, who gave up a run on three hits with a walk and a strikeout, said it didn't feel strange facing his former team.

"No, I never faced the Yankees as a team before,'' he said. "But we did some simulated games the last three years and I threw against my teammates.''

Aceves visited with some former teammates and coaches 90 minutes before game-time on the field.

He said he held no bitterness toward the Yanks' decision to let him go last fall.

"It's not in my hands, that decision,'' he said. "We do the best we can do, out there on the field. But that decision is not in our hands.''

The Yanks were concerned about his back, but Aceves said that, physically, there are no question marks.

"I feel great,'' he said. "I feel 100 percent and it's getting better during spring training. We're going to be in good shape for our season.''

With every projected regular except J.D. Drew in the starting lineup for Monday night's game with the Yankees, the batting order might have contained some clues as to how Terry Francona is going to handle the regular season.

Or not.

While the top third of the lineup is likely to be replicated -- Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia and Carl Crawford -- the use of Kevin Youkilis fourth and Adrian Gonzalez fifth -- is not.

"We'll see,'' said Francona before the game, cryptic as ever on the topic of the batting order. "I honestly don't know.''

Monday night, Francona could afford to have Youkilis fourth and Gonzalez fifth because, with Drew out and Mike Cameron in the lineup instead, he could break up the run of lefty hitters.

But with Drew in the lineup, as he'll be for most nights, that would mean the Sox could have three lefties in succession -- Gonzalez, David Ortiz and Drew -- and make it easy for the opposing manager to utilize a lefty reliever in the late innings.

Also, the presence of lefty starter Manny Banuelos meant it made sense to have the right-handed Youkilis higher in the order than Gonzalez.

Daisuke Matsuzaka, scheduled to start Tuesday against the Detroit Tigers in Lakeland, has not pitched well in three Grapefruit League outings, but Francona insisted it was too early to be concerned.

"I'm not real concerned about anybody in camp,'' Francona said. "I haven't looked at anybody's ERA. If we took Daisuke out of the rotation tomorrow, I wouldn't want to play for me. That's not a good thing. We've got to let these guys get ready.''

Matsuzaka, Hideki Okajima, Junichi Tazawa and minor-leaguer Itsuki Shoda greeted fans at the gates Monday night, collecting donations for relief efforts in Japan.

Matsuzaka and Okajima recorded public service announcements in both English and Japanese, appealing for donations.

The Red Sox foundation pledged 50,000 and all four players are making personal donations.

On the subject of Banuelos, the Yankees' highly-touted 20-year-old lefty, count Francona as a fan.

Francona got a look at the rookie 10 days ago when the Sox faced the Yankees in Tampa and had some fun with New York media members.

"I hope he's too young to make their team,'' he said. "I think, out of respect to this young man's future, they should go with him. Very slow. He's been impressive. I'm actually kind of excited he's pitching tonight.

"I mentioned it to Brian Cashman, Yankees' GM the other night: they need to go slow. If you rush a guy like that, it could be bad.''

The Sox announced that Daniel Turpen, whom they lost to the Yankees during December's Rule V draft, has been returned to the Sox. Turpen would have had to remain on the Yankees' 25-man roster all season, an unlikely scenario.

Turpen was obtained in the deal last July 31 that sent Ramon Ramirez to the San Francisco Giants. Clay Buchholz and Tim Wakefield threw simulated games against each other prior to Alfredo Aceves taking the City of Palms hill against the Yankees on Monday night. Both pitchers faced off against a rotating trio of Jose Iglesias, Josh Reddick and Mark Wagner, and finished with a scoreless tie after 2 12 innings.Buchholz threw three innings, threw 40 pitches and struck out three while allowing three base runners (a walk, two hits) and working extensively on the control of his curveball.I wanted to work throwing some curveballs. I worked on flipping my first pitch in and switching off and then going and throwing some into the dirt, said Buchholz. Thats what I worked on.I think I had three outs in a couple of innings and then I threw a few more after that. I didnt even ask. I just went out there and threw whatever they wanted me to do. Im just waiting to see what they do with their decision for Opening Day once the regular season starts. You guys in the media will know pretty much as soon as I do.Wakefield meanwhile pitched two innings, threw 37 pitches and allowed four base runners (three hits and a walk) while striking out a pair and dazzling young Iglesias with his first introduction to a knuckleball.

Buchholz and Wakefield will both pitch on Friday with Buchholz set to face the Detroit Tigers at City of Palms Park and Wakefield set to pitch against the Tampa Bay Rays at Port Charlotte in a Friday night game.
Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs