FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Boston Red Sox are exactly three weeks away from Opening Day.
Clay Buchholz spearheaded the Red Sox’s 4-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates in Bradenton on Sunday. Jon Lester will look to follow with a strong performance in his spring training debut against the Tampa Bay Rays at JetBlue Park on Monday.
Before Lester wheels and deals, let’s dive into some spring training notes.
-Buchholz, who tossed three no-hit innings Sunday, said he feels as good physically now as he did last spring training.
“I feel as fresh as I was then,” Buchholz told reporters Sunday. “Nothing awkward feeling or anything. I don’t feel like I’m compensating for anything. I feel pretty right at home right now.”
-Mike Carp went yard in Sunday’s victory. It’ll be interesting to see how much playing time Carp garners this season, but the 27-year-old first baseman/outfielder insists he’s not focused on that aspect of the game right now.
“They found plenty of at-bats for me last year — and it worked,” Carp said Sunday, according to MLB.com. “Hopefully, they can find a little more this year, but we’re trying to win. The whole goal is to go out and win a world championship — and we did that last year. The formula for success is there. We’ll try to keep on a winning track, and when I get the opportunity to be in a game, I’m going to do everything I can to help the team win that day.”
-John Farrell shed light on his instant replay strategy before Monday’s game.
-Farrell also revealed the Red Sox’s remaining spring training goals.
-The Red Sox are expected to have all five of their projected starters pitch this time through the rotation.
Farrell said Monday that the way the starters currently are lined up — Lester, John Lackey, Felix Doubront, Jake Peavy and Clay Buchholz — could be how the club begins the regular season.
-Brandon Workman, Chris Capuano and Allen Webster will continue to start games with the major league club as spring training progresses. Drake Britton also will stay stretched out, although perhaps not to the extent of the others.
Minor league spring training games begin Wednesday.
-Craig Breslow, whom the Red Sox have been bringing along slowly, is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Tuesday. Farrell said there’s still a “strong possibility” Breslow will break camp with the Red Sox.
“We feel that there’s still ample time to get him to where not only is he built up in terms of pitches thrown in a given outing, but (als0) durability,” Farrell said. “Health is first and foremost, and then we’ll react accordingly if we need to.”
-Grady Sizemore could be a leadoff option if he keeps progressing — it would allow Shane Victorino to remain in the two hole — but Farrell said that’s a conversation worth having later in camp.
Jackie Bradley Jr. won’t begin the year as Boston’s leadoff hitter, although eventually he could grow into the role.
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