FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Boston Red Sox are more than halfway through their Grapefruit League schedule.
The Red Sox fell to the Philadelphia Phillies 4-1 on Saturday. Jon Lester tossed four solid innings, but Boston was unable to generate much offense against Cliff Lee and Co.
The Red Sox will travel to Port Charlotte to face the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday. Before shifting gears, let’s go over some spring training notes from Saturday.
– Lester gave up one run on two hits while striking out five and walking one. He threw 68 pitches (44 strikes).
– Catcher A.J. Pierzynski is continuing to learn the Red Sox’s pitching staff, although Lester said Saturday the process has been seamless thus far.
“He’s done a great job of talking to us and trying to figure us out, as well as in between innings and in the games,” Lester said. “I don’t think there’s really going to be much adjustment, like I said before. The guy’s been around 15-16 years. He knows what he needs to do to prepare. We’ve got a pretty veteran staff to make things a little bit easier for him.”
– Manager John Farrell said Christian Vazquez has the ability to be a “shutdown” catcher and that the Red Sox would be comfortable turning to him this season if the need arose.
– Chris Capuano pitched three perfect innings in relief. The left-hander induced seven ground ball outs and struck out two in a very efficient performance.
– Jonny Gomes provided Boston’s only offense with a solo homer in the seventh inning. Gomes’ homer — his first of the spring — was an absolute missile over everything in left field.
– Grady Sizemore played eight defensive innings and garnered four at-bats without any physical issues.
Farrell said before Saturday’s game the Red Sox viewed Jackie Bradley Jr. as the projected starting center fielder at the beginning of spring training and that nothing has radically changed, but clearly, Sizemore has added some competition to the position.
– Will Middlebrooks sat out Saturday’s game because of a jammed right middle finger. The third baseman is expected back in the lineup Sunday or Monday.
– The Red Sox’s utility infield spot remains up for grabs between Jonathan Herrera and Brock Holt.
“There’s a competition going on,” Farrell said. “Both Herrera and Holt, those two guys have the versatility that you need at the position. As we’ve said before, the ability to play shortstop is the preference on the defensive side of things, and that’s why as we’ve gotten those guys on the field we’ve tried to get (them) a number of innings played on the left side of the infield. We feel like they’re both very capable at second base. So that’s the evaluation going forward, and both have shown well so far.”
– General manager Ben Cherington said Red Sox prospect Jon Denney will enter a program in the wake of his recent arrest.