Rich Hill Grateful For Opportunity; Other Red Sox Spring Training Notes

Rich HillFORT MYERS, Fla. — Look out. The Boston Red Sox have won five of their last six spring training contests.

The Red Sox downed the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin on Friday behind a strong effort from Clay Buchholz. The Sox now shift their attention to the Philadelphia Phillies, who will arrive in Fort Myers on Saturday for a 7:05 p.m. ET clash.

Before shifting our attention to Saturday’s Jon Lester-Cliff Lee duel, let’s dive into some Red Sox spring training notes.

- Buchholz was excellent Friday, giving up just two hits in four shutout innings. The right-hander allowed back-to-back singles to open the game, and then retired 11 in a row to cap his start, during which he struck out three and didn’t walk anyone.

Red Sox manager John Farrell threw out the word “elite” while discussing expectations for Buchholz this season. That’s a strong word to use in conjunction with a pitcher, but there’s no denying Buchholz has tremendous ability when healthy.

- How could you not root for Rich Hill this year?

Hill, who recently arrived at Red Sox camp following the tragic death of his infant son, pitched a 1-2-3 fifth inning.

“It’s nice to go out there and compete. I’m grateful for the opportunity to be out there,” Hill told reporters after his outing.

- Rubby De La Rosa has had a tough spring. He gave up one run on three hits in two innings Friday, and now has surrendered six runs on 12 hits over six innings in three Grapefruit League games.

- Tommy Layne pitched a scoreless inning, giving the lefty five scoreless outings this spring.

- Corey Brown kicked off Boston’s scoring Friday with an RBI double. Brown has had a solid spring thus far, showing the Red Sox’s outfield depth will extend beyond the major league roster to begin the season.

- Sean Coyle, a third-round pick in 2010, cracked an RBI double in the eighth inning. Coyle recently appeared on NESN.com’s list of under-the-radar Red Sox prospects to watch in 2014.

- Shane Victorino did not play in a minor league game Friday as originally planned. The outfielder said there were no physical issues, and he participated in batting practice at JetBlue Park. Victorino expects to play in Saturday’s game against the Phillies.

- Xander Bogaerts and Will Middlebrooks both have been impressive this spring, seemingly making it even more unlikely that Stephen Drew will return to the Red Sox. Drew told The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo he’d love to return to Boston, though.

- Bogaerts on Friday shared his “wow” moment of 2013, and briefly touched on the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry.

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

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