Jackie Bradley Jr. ‘A Work In Progress'; Other Red Sox Spring Training Notes

Jackie Bradley Jr.The Boston Red Sox got back in the win column Tuesday with a 4-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays in Port Charlotte, Fla.

The Red Sox, who had lost seven of their last nine games, received contributions from several players, but it was Grady Sizemore who delivered the game’s big blow. Sizemore smacked his first home run in a Red Sox uniform to give Boston a lead it didn’t relinquish.

The Red Sox will host the Baltimore Orioles at JetBlue Park on Wednesday. Let’s go over some spring training notes before that contest gets underway.

– Clay Buchholz pitched very well Tuesday, with the exception of the third inning.

Buchholz gave up two runs on three hits — all in the third inning — over six innings while striking out five and walking two. He threw 84 pitches (50 strikes).

Buchholz showed good velocity and continued to induce plenty of ground-ball outs. His spring ERA sits at 2.84.

– Koji Uehara, Junichi Tazawa and Edward Mujica closed out Boston’s win rather easily.

– Will Middlebrooks and Xander Bogaerts each collected two hits. Middlebrooks hit his third home run of the spring.

– Sizemore’s home run, off left-hander Cesar Ramos, was his first in a game since July 15, 2011. (He homered against Jake Arrieta, then of the Baltimore Orioles, in that 2011 contest.)

Sizemore’s home run also was his first against a lefty since he took Tim Collins of the Kansas City Royals deep on April 26, 2011.

Sizemore said after Tuesday’s game that he’s surprised by how good he feels in such a short time since joining the Red Sox over the offseason.

– Jackie Bradley Jr., who is battling Sizemore for the starting center field job, saw his spring training struggles continue. Bradley went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts (one swinging, one looking).

Bradley is hitting .173 (9-for-52) with a .232 on-base percentage and 16 strikeouts in 56 plate appearances this spring.

“He’s just missing some pitches that are in the strike zone,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said after Tuesday’s game. “You can’t say that he’s trying to do too much. At times, you see him taking a good, compact swing. Sometimes you see him get a little long at times. Nothing drastic. Just a little bit of the timing right now.”

Bradley is subscribing to the “spring training is spring training” theory, but the young outfielder still is disappointed with how he has swung the bat recently.

“Not where I want to be right now,” Bradley told reporters Tuesday. “I’m recognizing pitches, but I’m not putting the swings I want to put on them. It’s a work in progress.”

– Craig Breslow, who appeared in a minor league game Monday, is scheduled to appear in another minor league game Thursday. The Red Sox should have a better idea at that time if the left-hander will be ready for Opening Day.

– Shane Victorino’s Opening Day status also is unclear, although the outfielder expects to be ready.

Have a question for Ricky Doyle? Send it to him via Twitter at @TheRickyDoyle or send it here.

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