Sox notes: Francona not concerned with spring results

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Sox notes: Francona not concerned with spring results

By Maureen Mullen and Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. The Red Sox lost to the Tigers, 8-3, Friday afternoon at City of Palms Park. It was the first half of their split-squad, day-night, home-away doubleheader.

Clay Buchholz took the loss, going four innings (plus two batters in the fifth), allowing three runs (one earned) on five hits, including a home run, and two walks with a strikeout. They were the first runs hes given up this spring.

Hideki Okajima relieved Buchholz, and gave up a three-run homer to Ryan Raburn. The Tigers four runs in the innings were all unearned, as Kevin Youkilis and Adrian Gonzalez committed their first errors of the spring.

Brandon Duckworth also allowed a home run, a two-run shot by Andy Dirks in the ninth, while striking out three, all swinging.

With the only 25-man roster questions applying to the bullpen, manager Terry Francona is not concerned about one spring training game.

If a guy gives up a home run on March 20, I dont think that means were not going to bring him into a game, Francona said. When the season starts and guys get into their roles whatever happened in March doesnt really matter. Id love for everybody to go out and never give up runs. But I dont think you penalize guys later in the season. Were just trying to get our team ready.

The other half the days doubleheader is in Port Charlotte Friday night against the Rays. Tim Wakefield is scheduled to start.

Ryan Kalish, who went 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored, stole two bases. He leads the team with five steals. Kalish will be out of camp for the next few days to attend the funeral of his grandfather.

Adrian Gonzalez helped to end the first inning, with a rare 1-3-5 double play. With Tigers lead-off batter Austin Jackson on second after a walk and a stolen base, Clete Thomas grounded to Buchholz, who threw to Gonzalez. The first basemen threw to Youkilis at third, tagging Jackson to end the inning.

Gonzalez likes to throw. Thats one of the things we know from watching him play and scouting reports, Francona said. Hes always very aggressive and he likes to throw, like on bunts, getting the lead runner. Thats one of his strengths.

Bobby Jenks threw two innings in a Double A game against the Rays at the minor league complex. He allowed two hits with two strikeouts.

Left-hander Felix Doubront, who was sidelined early in spring with tightness in his left elbow, threw 25 pitches in batting practice on the back field at City of Palms this morning.

He felt real good, Francona said. He looked real good. His next will be a simulated game in two or three days. Theyll take the screen away, just a step closer to him pitching in a game.

The Red Sox currently have 43 players in big league camp. They will likely make their next round of cuts after Saturdays game in Bradenton against the Pirates.

Jonathan Papelbon and Daniel Bard will each pitch in game at the minor league complex on Monday. Their outings had originally been scheduled for Sunday. Bard will enter a game in the middle of an inning and pitch one-plus innings. Papelbon is expected to throw about 30 pitches in one inning.

It was a day-night split-squad doubleheader loss for the Red Sox.

After losing to Detroit earlier, The Sox were hammered by the Tampa Bay Rays, 7-3 with six of the runs (on four homers) coming off starter Tim Wakefield.

Wakefield allowed two-run homers to Kelly Shoppach and Ben Zobrist in the second and consecutive solo homers to Evan Longoria and Manny Ramirez to open the third.

Two of the Red Sox' runs came on bases-loaded walks. Tampa Bay reliever Kyle Farnsworth walked both Carl Crawford and J.D. Drew to force in runs. Farnsworth also tossed a wild pitch, accounting for the third Boston run.

Catcher Mark Wagner, catching Wakefield for the first time in a game situation, couldn't glove the first pitch -- a knuckleball, of course -- thrown to him, but had no problems thereafter. Wagner also gunned down B.J. Upton attempting to steal with Wakefield on the mound.

"He did good,'' said Wakefield. "He's caught me on the side before. He caught my earlier this spring, one of my first sides.''

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

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

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.