Red Sox-Blue Jays Live: Sox Get Strong Efforts From Youngsters, Beat Jays 4-2 in Dunedin

Jose IglesiasFinal, Red Sox 4-2: Will Latimer stayed on to work the ninth inning for the Red Sox, and while he committed the cardinal sin of pitching — walking the leadoff batter — he was able to close things out for a Boston win.

Latimer walked Mike Nickeas to open the inning, but he was able to bear down and get the next three batters in order on his way to getting Adam Loewen to ground out to Deven Marrero at short to end the game.

Good stuff in this one from the Red Sox youngsters. Steven Wright had a sharp couple of innings to start the game, and that was followed by Allen Webster who was able to strike out four big leaguers in two innings of work.

Jackie Bradley Jr. had a very nice day offensively, reaching base five times with three hits and an RBI to pace the offensive effort.

Mid 9th, Red Sox 4-2: Jackie Bradley Jr. is having himself a day for the Red Sox in Dunedin.

The young outfielder has reached base five times, and he capped that with an RBI single in the ninth inning to give the Sox an insurance run. They now lead 4-2 heading into the ninth.

Bradley Jr. has two singles, a double, a walk and he’s been hit by a pitch in what’s been a pretty successful day thus far.

Jeremy Hazelbaker led off the inning with a single and came around on Bradley’s two-out single.

End 8th, Red Sox 3-2: Mark DeRosa has found yet another club, as he’ll start the season with the Blue Jays. The 38-year-old has bounced around the bigs for much of his career, and he’s coming off of a 2012 season with the Washington Nationals in which he only played in 48 big league games.

He’s trying to catch on with a young Blue Jays team where he could add a veteran presence to the clubhouse. He helped himself in the bottom of the eighth by lining a single off of Will Latimer.

Latimer allowed just the harmless single, however, and gets out of the inning unscathed.

Mid 8th, Red Sox 3-2: The Red Sox are always going to make the pitcher work, and that extends throughout the organization. It’s a philosophy that the organization preaches top to bottom.

Boston did that in the eighth inning against young Toronto right-hander Tyson Brummett, but the former UCLA hurler was up to the task. While he was forced to work for it, Brummett works a perfect inning with a pair of strikeouts.

Brummett made his major league debut last season with the Philadelphia Phillies. He got into one game and he worked just 2/3 of an inning — with two strikeouts. The more you know, right?

End 7th, Red Sox 3-2: Does the name Adam Loewen ring a bell?

The 28-year-old hasn’t played in the majors since 2008 when he was a pitcher. He’s now an outfielder in the Toronto organization, looking for a Rick Ankiel-like comeback as a position player.

He had a rough go of it in the seventh inning, however. Red Sox reliever J.D. Durbin struck out Loewen on three pitches as part of a perfect seventh for the former Phillies hurler.

That’s obviously a much better inning for Durbin after giving up a home run one inning earlier.

Mid 7th, Red Sox 3-2: Third-round pick John Stinson, who’s averaged about a strikeout per inning in the minor leagues since entering professional baseball, just survived a rocky start to the seventh inning.

The Toronto prospect, who can hit the mid-90s on the radar gun, was victimized by an error to open the inning before walking Jackie Bradley Jr. to put runners on first and second with no outs.

However, he was able to bear down and make a pitch, getting Ryan Dent to ground into a 6-4-3 double play. He followed that up by getting catcher Daniel Butler to fly out to right field to end the inning.

Stinson, who worked 104 1/3 innings in his first pro season last year, is believed by some to have bright things in his future.

End 6th, Red Sox 3-2: There are way too many changes to keep track of at this point, especially given MLB.com’s inability to update its Gameday app in a timely manner.

We do know a couple of things, though. J.D. Durbin came on to pitch the sixth for the Red Sox. After getting leadoff batter, Durbin was hurt by one of the game’s premier power hitters from a year ago, Edwin Encarnacion. He hit a bomb over the left-field fence to get the Blue Jays within one.

Also of note: Red Sox first-round pick Deven Marrero has entered the game for the Red Sox at shortstop, so we’ll be keeping an eye on that for the rest of the afternoon.

Mid 6th, Red Sox 3-1: Sean Nolin looked to be ready to cruise to a 1-2-3 inning, but he struggled to close out the inning, and the Red Sox were able to get to the young southpaw.

Mauro Gomez got things going with a two-out double, and he came around to score when Mitch Maier lined an RBI single to give Boston the insurance run in the sixth.

By the way, we’ve just about hit the fog of spring training. The Blue Jays have made wholesale changes across the diamond, while the Red Sox’ lineup was full of minor leaguers and Four-A players to begin with.

End 5th, Red Sox 2-1: Chris Carpenter, who is looking to find his place in the Red Sox organization after coming over as compensation for Theo Epstein last year, just made his spring training debut.

He looked to be in some trouble after a walk and a Jose Reyes single, but Carpenter got some help from the Red Sox defense. Carpenter was able to induce a 3-6-3 double play that was started by slick-fielding first baseman Lyle Overbay.

Overbay is fighting for a roster spot this spring, and the addition of Mike Carp, who hit an RBI double in his Red Sox debut, will make that even more difficult for the veteran Overbay.

Mid 5th, Red Sox 2-1: Darren Oliver just keeps on keeping on, and he looks to keep going strong with Toronto this season.

The veteran left-hander, who is 41 years of age, just made his spring debut for the Blue Jays.

However, the “Treat your elders with respect” mantra was lost on some young Red Sox players. Despite a single from Brock Holt and a double from Jackie Bradley Jr., Oliver was able to escape the inning unscathed.

The southpaw was able to pick off Holt, and while the Bradley double followed that, Oliver was able to get out of the inning by striking out another young Red Sox, Will Middlebrooks, to end the frame.

End 4th, Red Sox 2-1: Allen Webster, who is the 49th-ranked prospect in baseball according to Baseball America, has been impressive in his spring debut.

According to the Blue Jays radio broadcast, the young right-hander touched 99 mph on the radar gun in the fourth inning.

The Blue Jays must have been pretty impressed by the youngster. Webster struck out Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion to end the third inning, and he opened the fourth inning by punching out J.P. Arencibia and Brett Lawrie. All four strikeouts were of the swinging variety.

Mid 4th, Red Sox 2-1: It’s been an impressive Toronto debut for Josh Johnson, who has a relatively harmless second inning of work in the fourth.

The big right-hander worked around an error from second baseman Lance Zawadski (which could have just as easily been a Mauro Gomez base hit) to toss another scoreless inning.

Johnson has two strikeouts in his two innings of work thus far and just the one single from Will Middlebrooks in the top of the third.

End 3rd, Red Sox 2-1: Red Sox prospect Allen Webster, who came over to the club in the megadeal with the Los Angeles Dodgers last season, was touched up in his first inning of work in the third.

Melky Cabrera lined a dougle to left field, and Jose Reyes (reached on a fielder’s choice) scored from first.

However, give Webster credit. The young right-hander settled in nicely after that to work out of the jam. He was able to strike out both Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion swinging to get out of the jam. Impressive stuff, given those two combined to hit 69 home runs last season.

Also worth noting: Toronto just claimed former Red Sox first baseman Lars Anderson off of waivers from the Chicago White Sox.

1:55 p.m.: Allen Webster is in for the Red Sox.

Mid 3rd, Red Sox 2-0: That’s a quick inning for the Red Sox, but not without intrigue. Jackie Bradley got a free base after he was hit by a pitch, and a broken bat by Jarrod Saltalamacchia had the Blue Jays’ dugout looking lively.

Ultimately, though, Saltalamacchia, Brock Holt and Will Middlebrooks all recorded outs, leaving the Red Sox with their small margin.

1:45 p.m.: Josh Johnson is in to pitch for the Blue Jays.

End 2nd, Red Sox 2-0: Steven Wright is in a great organization for knuckleball familiarity, and he’s done some solid work today. He struck out J.P. Arencibia, Brett Lawrie and Moises Sierra to put up a tidy inning, with a Colby Rasmus single also in there.

Saltalamacchia had trouble with the last pitch from Wright, but Sierra failed to run to first, and the Sox got the easy out. Spring training is the time for brownie points and hustle plays, though, so that doesn’t look good on Sierra.

John Farrell took the road less traveled today to watch this part of the team pitch, so maybe he wanted to see what Wright had to offer.

Here’s some background on Steven Wright: He came over to the Sox last year after being traded from the Indians on July 31 and worked in Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket. He held opponents to one earned run or less in 17 of his 25 starts last season (with both organizations) on the way to a 10-7 record with a 2.54 ERA and 119 strikeouts.

Mid 2nd, Red Sox 2-0: Juan Carlos Linares was hoping for a homer, but Colby Rasmus decided to get his fielding work in today, and he came up with the out.

Mitch Maier got on base with a single to left, but he was erased as Pedro Ciriaco grounded into a double play.

For you Red Sox trivia buffs, he’s a nugget to carry you into the next inning: On this date in 1946, Ted Williams hit a home run on the first pitch he saw at spring training after missing three seasons due to military service.

End 1st, Red Sox 2-0: It’s one thing to think about the changes the Blue Jays have made this offseason. It’s another thing to see them. The Red Sox got a good taste of Toronto’s new pieces this inning but were able to sneak out of the inning with some timely outs.

Melky Cabrera showed he’s still got a nice swing, pounding a double, but Jackie Bradley gobbled up a long Jose Bautista fly to keep him from scoring on what looked like a sure home run. (The wind may have helped.)

The Sox also took care of Jose Reyes, who has brought the best wheels in the game to the American League East. Boston kept Reyes off the basepaths out of the leadoff spot thanks to a quick throw to first from Pedro Ciriaco, but the Red Sox’ infield defense is going to have to be at its best this season to keep Reyes from causing damage. He’s one of the best in the game when he can smell an extra base.

Mid 1st, Red Sox 2-0: The Red Sox have a good handle on the knuckleball early, and R.A. Dickey’s big debut with the Jays is off to a wobbly start.

Brock Holt and Jackie Bradley both punched pitches from Dickey through, then Jarrod Saltalamacchia, batting in the cleanup spot, hit a liner. He couldn’t get more than one base out of it, but Holt came around to score and give the Red Sox the edge early.

Bradley then scored all the way from second on a loose knuckler from Dickey that went through.

Dickey, who had yet to throw a ball, then walked Lyle Overbay on four pitches.

But Dickey got a little help to end the inning from outfielder Moises Sierra, who showed off his arm in right. Mauro Gomez lofted a fly ball, and Saltalamacchia, thinking he could reach third on the tag (and it being spring training and all), took off. Sierra had other thoughts, though, and cut down Saltalamacchia to end the inning.

The Sox have struck first, though.

1:05 p.m.: First pitch!

1 p.m.: We’re pretty excited about the bounty of knuckleballers out here today. We hear Tim Wakefield is on the premises, fresh off his hosting of a knuckleball competition that included Doug Flutie. Alas, Flutie did not win, but you can still see him try the throw here.

We’d love to give you a Top 10 knuckleballers, but there haven’t been that many in the history of baseball altogether. Two of the most well known are here today (Wakefield and R.A. Dickey), and maybe Steven Wright can find some similar magic.

12:35 p.m.: Get your lawn chairs out, folks. We’re ready to get this one under way.

The Blue Jays have put themselves in position for some much more competitive games in the American League East, and that all starts today with their first content against the Red Sox since switching their manager and much of their roster. What we see today could have implications for how these two teams match up this season.

10:35 a.m.: And here’s who we have for the Blue Jays. The Red Sox will be getting a good taste of their American League East foes in this one — these are the big guns.

Jose Reyes, SS
Melky Cabrera, LF
Jose Bautista, DH
Edwin Encarnacion, 1B
J.P. Arencibia, C
Brett Lawrie, 3B
Colby Rasmus, CF
Moises Sierra, RF
Lance Zawadzki, 2B

R.A. Dickey, P

Further pitching: Josh Johnson, John Stilson, Mickey Storey, Chad Beck, Sean Nolin, Tyson Brummett.

10:05 a.m.: Here’s who the Red Sox have going today against Toronto:

Brock Holt, 2B
Jackie Bradley, CF
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Lyle Overbay, 1B
Mauro Gomez, DH
Mitch Maier, RF
Juan Carlos Linares, LF
Pedro Ciriaco, SS

Steven Wright, P

9:15  a.m. ET: The Red Sox will be answering to voices from the recent past Monday afternoon when they split the squad for two more spring training games.

The half of the team that heads to Dunedin, Fla., will be facing the Toronto Blue Jays. That’s the former team of new manager John Farrell, of course, meaning the Red Sox skipper will be handling flak from the Toronto media as well as managing his team Monday afternoon. Many people in Toronto are still sore that Farrell left after just two seasons, even though Blue Jays management gave Farrell the green light to go when he told them his heart was still with Boston.

Farrell was 154-170 in two seasons with the Jays, who did just fine in the offseason. Toronto may have had the best offseason of any American League East team, in fact. The Blue Jays flipped a huge deal with the Marlins that poached the rest of Miami’s already shrinking roster, adding Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle to the northern crew. The Jays have also signed Melky Cabrera, who was one of the best hitters in the National League last year until his suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs. They also traded for R.A. Dickey, who resuscitated his career via the knuckleball — a familiar pitch for Red Sox fans — in the last few years with the Mets.

While the Red Sox and Blue Jays haven’t said which marquee players will be making the start in Dunedin this afternoon, early reports indicate that Dickey will be on the mound, followed by Johnson, and at least Will Middlebrooks and Farrell will be there for the Sox. (Middlebrooks seems a little nervous about the knuckleballs already.)

Boston is expected to pitch righties Steven Wright, Allen Webster and Chris Carpenter, as well as minor league call-ups, according to The Boston Globe. Webster was a big piece in last season’s August deal with the Dodgers.

Wright, coincidentally or not, is also a knuckleball pitcher. Longtime Sox knuckler Tim Wakefield, not coincidentally, “is expected to be in attendance,” according to the Red Sox.

Check back here later for the lineups and more information, then be sure to stay here once first pitch lands at 1:05 p.m.

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