Boston’s Justin Turner gets knocked down after being hit in the face on a pitch by Detroit’s Matt Manning in the first inning Monday in in Fort Myers, Fla. Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Boston’s Justin Turner needed 16 stitches after he was hit on the face with a pitch in Monday’s game against the Detroit Tigers.

The 38-year-old fell to the ground after getting hit by right-hander Matt Manning. Medical personnel rushed to the plate, and Turner was bleeding and had a towel on his face as he walked off the field.

Turner’s wife, Kourtney, posted to Instagram that the infielder had “16 stitches and a lot of swelling but we are thanking God for no fractures & clear scans.”

“He’s receiving treatment for soft tissue injuries, and is being monitored for a concussion,” the Red Sox said in a statement. “He will undergo further testing, and we’ll update as we have more information. Justin is stable, alert, and in good spirits given the circumstances.”

The two-time All-Star signed a $15 million, one-year deal with Red Sox during the offseason after spending the past nine years with the Dodgers. He hit .278 with 13 homers and 81 RBIs in 128 games last season.

• Chris Sale pitched two scoreless innings for the Boston Red Sox on Monday as the seven-time All-Star tries to bounce back from three straight injury-marred seasons. Boston beat Detroit, 7-1.


Sale gave up two hits and struck out two against Detroit in his first outing this spring training.

“I got it back. I appreciate it more,” Sale told the Boston Globe. “I’m trying to have more fun with it; I’m trying to be more open-minded; I’m trying to kind of soak some things in and really appreciate it.”

Sale was one of the game’s most dominant pitchers throughout the 2010s, but has thrown just 48 1/3 innings since 2019. He missed the 2020 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery and then had a variety of injuries last season — including a bike accident — that kept him off the mound.

The 33-year-old Sale is in the fourth season of a $145 million, five-year deal.

YANKEES: Aaron Judge hit his first homer of the spring — a three-run shot — against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The reigning AL MVP launched a towering, opposite-field drive just over the right-center wall as part of a six-run second inning.


The four-time All-Star broke the American League record with 62 home runs last season.

New York Manager Aaron Boone said Judge will play left field on Wednesday, as the Yankees experiment with using their regular right fielder in the other corner on occasion.

ORIOLES: Right-hander Mychal Givens was called for two balks in the fourth inning.

Givens was called for both balks because he didn’t come to a complete stop while in the stretch before delivering his pitch. MLB says umpires are watching for more balks when runners are on base.

Givens has just one career balk in 419 regular-season appearances.

Some pitchers — particularly relievers — have funky idiosyncrasies in their deliveries and never come to a complete stop before delievering a pitch. That’s technically a balk, but umpires usually let those tics slide.


Not anymore. A complete stop with no movement becomes more significant because the pitch clock operator turns off the new pitch clock once the pitcher’s motion toward the plate begins.

Givens still pitched a scoreless inning of relief, striking out two.

ROCKIES: Reliever Brad Hand is guaranteed $2 million in his one-year contract with the Colorado Rockies and the three-time All-Star would make $11.5 million over two years if he starts this season in the major leagues and pitches at least 60 games annually.

The left-hander, who turns 33 on March 20, has a $1.5 million salary this year as part of a deal announced Saturday. The contract includes a $7 million team option for 2024 with a $500,000 buyout.

The option would become a mutual option if Hand has at least 25 games finished this year or is traded during the season. His 2023 salary would escalate to $2.5 million if he is on the Opening-Day roster, the 15-day injured list or the 60-day injured list.

In addition, Hand could earn $1 million each year in performance bonuses for games pitched: $250,000 each for 40 and 50, and $500,000 for 60.
He gets a hotel suite on road trips and award bonuses.


Hand was 3-2 with a 2.80 ERA and five saves in 55 appearances for Philadelphia last season and made seven postseason appearances for the NL champions.

BRAVES: The Atlanta Braves plan to stop the sale of season tickets to preserve the availability of single-game tickets.

Braves President Derek Schiller says this is the first time in team history season-ticket sales have been cut off before the first game.

The Braves plan to cut off the sale of season tickets on or around March 17. The team says it is on pace to approach the 2022 Truist Park record total of more than 3.1 million in attendance, the first time since 2020 at Turner Field the Braves topped 3 million.

MARINERS: Two-time All-Star Luis Castillo pitched 2 1/3 innings for the Mariners, allowing four hits and two runs against the Chicago Cubs in his second start. He struck out four and hit a batter with a pitch.

The 30-year-old right-hander was acquired from Cincinnati last summer and signed a $108 million, five-year contract. Castillo was 4-2 with a 3.17 ERA in 11 starts after the trade and helped Seattle to its first postseason berth since 2001.


Unlike many of his All-Star teammates, including outfielders Julio Rodríguez and Teoscar Hernández, Castillo opted not to play for the Dominican Republic in the WBC.

“This was a decision that a large group of us came up with,” Castillo said of staying behind. “I feel like my team has all the talent to go ahead and win the whole thing.”

One of the Cubs he faced Monday was longtime Reds batterymate Tucker Barnhart, who signed as a free agent with Chicago in the offseason.

“I think it’s the first time that I faced him,” Castillo said. “We spent a lot of time together. When we were up there he was laughing and I was laughing and we were just having fun.”

Castillo got the last laugh, retiring his former catcher on a slow roller to third.

SHIFTS: When Yankees switch-hitter Aaron Hicks batted from the left side last season, he was almost always greeted by an infield shift — a wall of defenders camped in shallow right field.


So it was a striking moment in New York’s dugout when Hicks — facing a traditional infield alignment — hit his first clean single to right field early this spring training.

“He probably hasn’t seen that hit in about eight years,” Manager Aaron Boone said.

Hicks and the rest of baseball’s most frequently shifted batters are getting used to a new reality — or rather, adjusting back to an old one — after Major League Baseball passed rules limiting infield shifts ahead of this season.

So far, those limits seem to be raising batter spirits — and they might be bolstering batting averages, too.

“I really hope this isn’t the year I start hitting the ball to the shortstop on the ground,” Yankees left-handed slugger Anthony Rizzo said with a smile. “Especially young left-handed hitters will be introduced to the 3-4 hole that’s been gone for about seven to eight years.”

Teams must now keep two infielders on each side of second base, all with their feet in the dirt when a pitch is delivered. The aim is to open up space for a few more singles in each game after data-driven teams spent the past decade carefully crafting defensive formations that targeted each hitter’s tendencies.


It’s too early in spring training to draw conclusions from the numbers, but key statistics are trending in a promising direction for hitters. Batting averages through the first 10 days of spring training are up to .263 in 2023 from .259 last season.

Crucially, left-handed hitters — the most frequent targets of the modern infield shift — are hitting .274 this spring, up from .255, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Righty averages have dropped from .262 to .255. Overall scoring is at 11.3 runs per game, up from 10.6.

There has been disagreement in the sport’s analytics community about how much impact the shift limits will have, but it does seems to be affecting hitters’ psyches, at least.

“Not getting thrown out from shallow right field on a line drive will be nice,” said Rizzo, shifted in 82.6% of his plate appearances last season.

Tampa Bay Manager Kevin Cash said he has noticed some difference already this spring but expects more offense to come later as big league regulars play deeper into games.

“I think there’s been so many balls already this spring that if you look to if that happened last year, they were out. We had a defender there,” Cash said.


Umpires have broad discretion to enforce the league’s new guidelines, but some clubs are already testing how strict those rules are.

When lefty slugger Joey Gallo — shifted in 90% of his plate appearances last year — of the Minnesota Twins came to the plate in a game against the Boston Red Sox last week, Boston experimented with a loophole in the new rules, moving center fielder Adam Duvall to shallow right field and left fielder Raimel Tapia to center field.

That shift didn’t matter much as Gallo drew a walk, but such is the new reality in baseball as teams start searching for advantages to the rules in 2023.

Marlins first-base coach Jon Jay, who had 840 singles among his 1,087 career hits, thinks the change could lead to more small ball.

“We’re seeing already ground balls going up the middle that, with the shift, were outs,” he said. “It’s definitely going to create more offense. I think the single is a big player right now. You’re seeing those 10-hoppers up the middle and those ‘rollover balls’ in the hole … those are hits again.”

Philadelphia Phillies left fielder Kyle Schwarber, who was shifted against 90.5% of the time in 2022, thinks the shift could help promote more contact, too.

“I punched out 200 times last year,” Schwarber said during Phillies spring camp. He had a career-high 200 strikeouts last season. “That’s not acceptable. If I can cut down on 50-75, that’s more balls in play. And without that wall (the shift) out there, there might be a few to squeeze through.”

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