PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. – Long after they nearly came to blows, Sean Rodriguez still didn’t like what Alfredo Aceves had to say.
The Red Sox right-hander hit the Rays’ second baseman in the shoulder with a pitch in the fifth inning of Boston’s 9-2 win over Tampa Bay on Saturday. Benches briefly cleared and Rodriguez had to be held back as the pair engaged in a shouting match.
“I said it was a split-finger, my bad,” Aceves said. “I was not trying to hit him obviously. It was a 3-2 game, and you don’t want anybody on base. I understand he was probably upset or frustrated because he got hit, and in the last at-bat he got a homer.”
Rodriguez hit a two-run shot in the third inning before coming up with one out and none on in the fifth. He wasn’t buying Aceves’ explanation.
“He says it got away from him. I don’t know if I’d agree or disagree, but I was just kind of upset when he was still jawing when I got to first base,” said Rodriguez, who had two of the Rays’ eight hits. “He was very apologetic until I got to first. Then it was a little different.
“It’s just another good reason for … when we play Boston. I guess it just keeps things a little fired between us, which is cool,” Rodriguez added.
Aceves gave up six hits and two runs in 41/3 innings.
Both managers downplayed the spat.
“I would be more concerned if it was a fastball, but it was a split that hit him in the back,” said Rays Manager Joe Maddon.
Lyle Overbay, Ronald Bermudez, Blake Swihart and Mauro Gomez drove in two runs each for the Red Sox, who had 15 hits.
Overbay had a two-run single off Hernandez in the first. Hernandez gave up six hits and struck out five in five innings.
The Rays managed only two hits off five Red Sox relievers.
• John Lackey took a step in his return to the Red Sox from Tommy John surgery, giving up a run and four hits while facing Triple-A Durham, the Rays’ top farm club.
Lackey struck out five and walked two in five innings Saturday.
Lackey said he felt great. He hadn’t pitched at least five innings since Sept. 25, 2011, against the Yankees. Lackey missed all of last season after having elbow-reconstruction surgery.
Red Sox pitching coach Juan Nieves said Lackey is throwing from 89-92 mph. Nieves said Lackey, who will likely go five innings again in his next outing, is no longer facing any limitations related to his surgery.
• Wil Myers, the 22-year-old outfielder acquired in the seven-player trade in December that sent James Shields to Kansas City, was among six players the Rays cut Saturday.
Myers, regarded as Tampa Bay’s top prospect, hit .286 in 35 spring at-bats. On Saturday, he had a single and made a fine throw from right field that almost cut down Jose Iglesias on Ryan Lavarnway’s seventh-inning sacrifice fly.
“It was something that I knew was going to come eventually and it wasn’t a surprise at all. I’m looking forward to getting down there and getting some at-bats,” Myers said. “Every player feels like they’re big league ready. I feel like I am, but that’s not up to me to decide. I just want to go down to the minor leagues and show them what I can do.”
METS: Justin Turner, the leading candidate to replace injured David Wright at third base, left New York’s game against the Miami Marlins after spraining his right ankle.
The Mets said Turner was taken to a hospital for precautionary X-rays.
Turner made a nice play on a hard-hit grounder by Justin Ruggiano, and his left leg buckled and his right foot turned awkwardly when he tried to throw to first. Turner was limping badly and was replaced by Brandon Hicks.
Wright has a left intercostal muscle strain and is expected to rest for up to four days before he is reevaluated.
RANGERS: Right-hander Kyle McClellan could miss the first month of the season because of a strained lat muscle.
The Rangers scratched McClellan from his start Sunday against Seattle with the injury. Texas said in a release Saturday that McClellan should need three to four weeks of recovery before beginning a throwing program.
McClellan, who had spent his entire professional career in the St. Louis Cardinals organization, signed a minor league contract with the Rangers on Jan. 15 and was a non-roster invitee to spring training. After winning 12 games for the Cardinals in 2011, he was limited to 16 relief appearances and 182/3 innings last year because of shoulder and elbow injuries and did not pitch after May 17.
BLUE JAYS: Toronto claimed right-hander Guillermo Moscoso off waivers from Kansas City. The 29-year-old Venezuelan appeared in 23 games last season for the Colorado Rockies. He pitched in three games this spring for the Royals, and was 0-1 9.00 ERA in five innings.