FORT MYERS, Fla. – Clay Buchholz is showing signs he is ready for the season. Mike Napoli is proving to his new Red Sox teammates that he can be a durable addition.
Buchholz pitched four scoreless innings, and Napoli played in consecutive games for first time this spring training and had a run-scoring single and a double, helping the Boston Red Sox over the Toronto Blue Jays 5-3 Tuesday.
“Everything is starting to fall together,” Buchholz said. “I was able to go out there and execute pitches, like one after another, a little bit better than the last time out and the time before that. I feel like it’s all coming together for the spring, getting up and down a little bit more and the next time when I go out it’ll be five innings. It’s starting to feel more real now.”
Napoli, diagnosed with avascular necrosis in both hips during his offseason contract negotiations with the Red Sox, is batting .429 (6 for 14) with two homers and six RBI.
Buchholz earned the win, going four scoreless innings, giving up three hits with a strikeout. In his recent side work, the Red Sox have tried to improve Buchholz’s tempo.
“Better tempo once again, consistent with his last outing,” Red Sox Manager John Farrell said.
Eight of the 12 outs Buchholz recorded were on grounders, including a double play to end the third with runners on first and second.
“I think any time we see Clay putting the ball on the ground, he’s got a sinker, he’s got his late action pitches working down in the zone,” Farrell said. “And that was the case again today. Key double-play ball for him. And I think as we’ve seen his evolution as a starting pitcher, as he’s gone to that two-seamer, it really puts him in a good position to not only be efficient but when he needs to, get a groundball double play as the case was today.”
Toronto right-hander Justin Germano gave up two runs in three innings in his first start of the spring after four relief appearances.
The Sox added a run off Claudio Vargas in the fourth when Will Middlebrooks doubled to center, scoring on Ryan Sweeney’s single to center.
Jim Negrych’s two-run homer in the fifth off Boston lefty Andrew Miller closed the gap. But Boston got two runs off Chad Beck in the seventh. The Blue Jays scored a run off Allen Webster in the ninth.
NOTES: The Red Sox made a series of roster moves. Outfielder Alex Hassan and right-handed pitcher Steven Wright were sent to Triple-A Pawtucket. The club also reassigned first baseman/outfielder Mark Hamilton and outfielders Jeremy Hazelbaker and Juan Carlos Linares to minor league camp. The roster is at 52 players in big league camp. …
Stephen Drew, who has had post-concussion symptoms since being hit in the helmet by a pitch on Thursday, has still not been cleared to play. The Red Sox are hoping he will be cleared by Thursday. …
Red Sox minor league games begin Wednesday. Right-hander Alfredo Aceves, who returned from pitching for Mexico in the WBC, will pitch in a minor league game on Wednesday.