FORT MYERS, Fla. – Outfielder Grady Sizemore returned to the field for the first time since 2011 as the World Series champion Boston Red Sox started off their spring schedule Thursday, beating Northeastern 5-2 and then defeating Boston College 5-2.
Both games were seven innings.
Manager John Farrell was satisfied with his team’s performance.
“I thought for the most part we threw strikes, we stayed in control of the count for the better part of the guys that walked to the mound, and it’s good to see guys in game situations to see their instincts,” Farrell said.
“I thought we ran the bases well,” he said. “I think just the fact that we got 14 innings in and get our pregame routine prior to a game adjusted. A good day.”
The 31-year-old Sizemore, who joined the Red Sox in January as a free agent, was once one of baseball’s most dynamic players, an All-Star with the Indians from 2006-2008 with two Gold Gloves, before being sidelined by injuries.
Since 2009, he has undergone seven surgeries, including procedures on his left elbow, both knees and a herniated disk in his lower back in 2012.
Sizemore went 0 for 2, playing three innings in left field in the first game of the doubleheader against Boston-based college teams.
“It was fun,” Sizemore said. “It was exciting. I was looking forward to it for a couple days now. But happy to get out there and get back into games.”
“I was anxious just to kind of get going. Honestly, I was just excited. I just kind of wanted to get going. I felt better than I anticipated, so I was just looking forward to getting out there and seeing how it would go.”
Northeastern sophomore James Mulry, from Boston’s West Roxbury neighborhood and a graduate of Boston Latin School, nearly struck out the side in the third. After striking out Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz, Mulry had Mike Napoli at 1-2 before giving up a single and walking Jonny Gomes. But he got Xander Bogaerts to groundout, ending the inning.
“It was a day I’ll never forget,” Mulry said. “I grew up watching these guys and getting the opportunity to pitch against them was an unbelievable experience, never mind striking them out. They are two of the best players from my generation and I am lucky to have had this chance to play them.”
Mulry impressed at least one of his victims.
“I was trying to see if I can get a strike to hit or whatever, but he ended up throwing me a nasty breaking ball,” Ortiz said. “He can party tonight.”
“He can have a drink tonight and say, ‘I struck out Papi.'”
Said Farrell of the back-to-back strikeouts: “Hopefully that’s the last time we see it.”
“But for all of our guys seeing live pitching for the first time in a game situation, it was a good day overall regardless of the result.”
Red Sox right-hander Brandon Workman started Game 1 against Northeastern and went two scoreless innings, giving up a hit with two strikeouts. It was the first time Workman, who made his big league debut last season, has pitched in a game since the eighth inning of Game 6 of the World Series against the Cardinals.
Right-hander Rubby De La Rosa earned the win in Game 2 against BC. He started and went two scoreless innings, giving up one hit with a strikeout and hitting a batter.
Outfielder Corey Brown left the second game in the bottom of the third inning after getting hit in the back of his left hand on a swing at the plate. Farrell said Brown was examined and “checked out OK,” but will be looked at again Friday.
Outfielder Daniel Nava took batting practice on Thursday. He missed the previous five days of BP after tweaking his neck. He did not play in either of Thursday’s games but is expected in the lineup over the weekend.
THIS AND THAT
Ryan Lavarnway went 2 for 2 with a double in the first game.
Christian Vazquez hit a solo home run in the second game, and Travis Shaw went 2 for 2 with a three-run double.
Left-hander Jon Lester will start in a simulated game at the Red Sox complex next Wednesday when the team travels to Jupiter to play the Cardinals.
Returning from a long suspension, Ryan Braun hit a two-run homer in his first at-bat for the Milwaukee Brewers since completing a season-ending, 65-game suspension in 2013 for violating Major League Baseball’s anti-drug agreement.
In the first inning of Milwaukee’s spring opener against Oakland, Braun hit an 0-1 pitch off Tommy Milone high over the wall near the left-field corner.
The 2011 NL MVP got a hearty round of cheers, the loudest coming from fans in the dozen rows or so behind the Brewers’ bench at Phoenix Municipal Stadium, the spring home of the Athletics.
Texas has no plans to put Super Bowl-winning quarterback Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks at the plate.
Manager Ron Washington said it’s not a good idea to let Wilson hit in an exhibition game. Washington said Wilson hasn’t seen any pitches and that it’s too risky to have him bat, but he may take part in infield drills.
Wilson played 93 games over two seasons, 2010 and 2011, for Colorado’s minor league system at the Class A level.