PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — After the Boston Red Sox coaches put together their daily rosters for spring-training games, they contact the minor-league directors and ask for extras.

For Tuesday’s game, Manager Terry Francona requested a first baseman.

Anthony Rizzo was summoned, even though he’s never played above Class A.

“The organization loves this kid,” Francona said. “He was a guy they wanted us to see.”

Francona and his coaches saw a lot. Rizzo enjoyed a 3-for-5 day, including a crushed home run to right-center off Rafael Soriano, who will be the Tampa Bay Rays’ closer .

“Fun to see a kid hit a ball like that,” Francona said. “He’s got a real pretty swing and defensively, he can handle himself.”


Indeed, Rizzo made some impressive scoops of balls in the dirt.

Will he be making those kind of plays at Hadlock Field this year? Probably, but he’ll likely begin the year in advanced Class A Salem. Rizzo finished there last season, hitting .295 in 55 games with three home runs.

Rizzo missed most of 2008 while successfully battling limited classical Hodgkin’s lymphoma. His goal last year was to “get though a full season healthy.

“Now I know what to expect and I’m more confident going into this year.”

That swing, which compares to the easy style of Adrian Gonzalez, showed a lot of confidence as he bested a major-league closer.

“Surreal,” Rizzo said. “It was a slider. I just reacted.”



JUNICHI TAZAWA and the Red Sox medical staff will be deciding on what options to take after Tazawa visited Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., on Monday.

While Andrews specializes in Tommy John ligament-transfer surgeries on elbows, no decision has been made on Tazawa.

“He’s got an ulnar collateral sprain (in the elbow),” Francona said “We know that. We need to try to figure out the best way to go about this.”

Francona said the options include surgery (though not necessarily Tommy John) and rehabilitation.



JEREMY HERMIDA is still in limbo with a strained hamstring he suffered Saturday.

Francona had hoped Hermida could play by now but isn’t setting any timetable.

“It’s not good enough for him to play,” Francona said. “We’re optimistic he’s going to be fine but we don’t want to do it too soon.”

Hermida’s absence is why outfielder Josh Reddick hasn’t yet been sent to the minors.

“(General Manager) Theo (Epstein) hasn’t done anything official (with Reddick) to cover ourselves,” Francona said.

Meanwhile, Reddick remains sizzling this spring, batting .404. He enjoyed a 3-for-5 day Tuesday with a double and a towering home run to the luxury boxes beyond the right-field wall.”



MORE CUTS were made at the minor-league complex, including the release of Sea Dogs reliever Chad Rhoades.

Rhoades, 27, was a non-drafted free agent out of Oklahoma Baptist in 2006. He was a workhorse for the Sea Dogs, recording 41 innings (5.14 ERA) in 2008, and 54 innings (3.94) last year.

The other three released players were minor-league free agents — pitchers Jorge Sosa and Scott Patterson, and infielder Christian Colonel.

Sosa, 32, a veteran of 272 major- league games, was invited to the Red Sox major-league camp but was soon sent down. Patterson, 30, was a journeyman with four games in the majors. Colonel, 28, played in Triple-A Colorado Springs the past two years.


Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be contacted at 791-6411 or at: kthomas@pressherald.com


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