Just as winter finally rears its ugly head up in Boston, the Red Sox’s Spring Training schedule kicks off down in Ft. Myers, Fla. And with preseason games comes Sports of Boston’s weekly Spring Training Update! Need a recap on a certain game? Curious which minor leaguers and non-roster invitees are making names for themselves? Want to know how the Mayor’s Cup race is going, or maybe just what the Mayor’s Cup is? Look no further!
Just two days after losing one of their longest-tenured players to retirement, the Red Sox began their new preseason Saturday with a double-header against some upstart youngsters from Northeastern and BC. They began their quest to reclaim the possibly coveted Mayor’s Cup Sunday against the Minnesota Twins.
Red Sox 25, Huskies 0
The Red Sox’s 25-0 victory over Northeastern would be more impressive if a) the Huskies were a pro team, and b) the game counted for anything. Still, 25 runs! The Red Sox homered five times in this game, including one from Adrian Gonzalez and two from newcomer Cody Ross. Ryan Sweeney, another newcomer, went 4-for-5, while Will Middlebrooks went 3-for-5, all doubles.
The Red Sox lead 9-0 after the second – more than enough for their pitching. Jon Lester started and got the win, pitching two innings while giving up a single – one of just three Huskies hits Saturday, all singles – and striking out two. Michael Bowden and Matt Albers pitched the final three innings, giving up just a single between them while striking out five with no walks.
Red Sox 6, Eagles 3
The Red Sox took a 4-o lead in the second when a single by Ryan Lavarnway and back-to-back walks loaded the bases, then with one out Mike Aviles doubled to left to score two. Following an RBI ground out by non-roster player Juan Carlos Linares, Aviles scored on a passed ball. Both Aviles and Lavarnway finished with two hits.
Felix Doubront pitched two innings of one-hit baseball, but Junichi Tazawa made things interesting in the top of the third by giving up two runs. The Red Sox answered with single runs in bottom of third and fourth, including an RBI single from Linares in the fourth. The Eagles got one back in the fifth, but non-roster invitee Chorye Spoone pitched a perfect seventh for the save.
Tazawa is still working his way back from Tommy John surgery, so his struggles shouldn’t concern Red Sox fans. Doubront, however, could definitely be in the major league bullpen at some point this season, possibly even on Opening Day. Hopefully this win is a sign of things to come for the lefthander.
David Ortiz also played first base Saturday against the Eagles, handling all seven chances without an error.
Red Sox 8, Twins 3
The Red Sox and Twins took a 2-2 tie into the bottom of the seventh Sunday afternoon, then the Red Sox broke it open. They went up 3-2 on a bases-loaded walk to outfielder Che-Hsuan Lin, then Lars Anderson followed with a grand slam to right field to make it 7-2. Anderson finished with two hits, as did Aviles. Oscar Tejeda added an RBI triple in the bottom of the eighth.
Non-roster invitee Tony Pena gave up a game-tying RBI single to outfielder Ben Revere in the top of the seventh, earning a blown save and then winning due to the Red Sox’s five-run bottom of the inning. Scott Atchison – another non-roster pitcher – gave up a run on two hits, two walks and two strikeouts over the final inning.