READING, Pa. — People around the Boston Red Sox organization have been eager to see top pitching prospect Anthony Ranaudo return after a spring training injury.

Count Ranaudo in that group.

Ranaudo had some early butterflies, but still made quite an impression in his Double-A debut, going the first four innings in the Portland Sea Dogs’ 8-5 Eastern League victory over the Reading Phillies Tuesday at FirstEnergy Stadium.

The Sea Dogs have won two straight and 3 of 5.

Ranaudo, a 22-year-old right-hander, was far from sharp, allowing four hits and four runs but displayed the plus fastball and curve that have the Red Sox so excited.

“No matter how confident you are, it’s the first game of the year for me,” said Ranaudo, who threw 25 pitches in the first inning.

“I was a little nervous, a little anxious, but it was good to get out there. I can put it behind me now and move on and focus on my next start.”

Ranaudo allowed a walk, two stolen bases and a run in the first inning, but the Sea Dogs picked him up with five second-inning runs.

Ranaudo, ranked as the fourth-best prospect in Boston’s farm system by Baseball America, walked two in the second and gave up a pair of homers in the fourth.

Still, Sea Dogs Manager Kevin Boles liked what he saw.

“He is an impressive-looking guy on the mound,” said Boles, who hadn’t seen Ranaudo pitch previously. “He’s definitely got a lot of ability and we’re excited that he’s here. That’s a nice arm.”

A groin strain in his final spring training start delayed Ranaudo’s debut. He said he was eager to get back with a team.

“It was a big wave of emotion,” he said of his first inning, which saw him run three-ball counts to each of the first four batters. “My stuff was good today, I just didn’t pitch the way I know how to pitch. That’s the way it breaks down.

“I think I got a little bit lucky because that’s a good-hitting team. I really wasn’t sharp and I left some pitches up in the zone and was falling behind guys. Somehow I made it work.”

Ranaudo was backed by home runs from Reynaldo Rodriguez, his seventh, and Matt Spring, his third, in the bat-around second.

Oscar Tejeda had a double and drove in three runs before leaving in the eighth with an apparent hamstring injury as he tracked a fly ball into foul territory.


NOTES: The Sea Dogs batted around for just the second time this season. …

After homering in the second, Spring struck out four straight times. …

Bryce Brentz had two more hits to push his batting average to .298. …

Jeremy Kehrt (1-0) earned the win, allowing three hits and a run over four innings.


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