Postgame, Braves 6-1: Since there weren’t very many highlights for the Red Sox in this one and we are going to analyze John Lackey in a separate story, I’ll leave you with a note on David Ortiz.
Terry Francona was first asked about Ortiz, who is 5-for-8 with a home run, at the plate:
“He’s certainly short to the ball right now and he’s not trying to muscle up, and he’s keeping everything fair.
“He’s getting the barrel to the ball real good right now. Nice short swing, he’s barreled up five or six balls the last three games.”
As for the one dose of excitement for the Sox in this one, Ortiz’s steal of second in the fourth, it was all by design. Francona wants to get teams to hold Ortiz so that it can open up the hole between first and second for J.D. Drew. That might be a hint that Francona is not too shy about batting Ortiz and Drew back-to-back. Both of them struggled mightily against lefties last year, so keeping them apart would make some sense. That might not always be the case, and a tiny dose of respect for Ortiz on the base paths, as odd as that sounds, can only help.
“We wanted him to run there because J.D.’s hitting behind him,” Francona said. “Having that hole over there is something that J.D. really uses. We just want to make them respect that hole a little bit. We’d like for them to hold him on in the regular season. If they don’t, yeah [we’ll send him], depending on the situation.”
With that, we close up shop here for the day. Look for more on Lackey a little later, as well as the weekly edition of the Red Sox lineup, nine thoughts related to the club. The live blog will kick back up Thursday morning in anticipation of a visit from the big, bad Philadelphia Phillies, who throw Cole Hamels at the Sox.
Final, Braves 6-1: Nothing doin’ in the ninth. Off to catch Terry Francona. Back soon with some postgame reaction.
Mid 9th, Braves 6-1: For those of you high on second base prospect Oscar Tejeda, he has looked very shaky in the field so far.
Tejeda had an error in the opener and just had a pair of misplays in the ninth.
First, he bobbled a ball while making a force out at second. That prevented him from potentially turning a double play. Then, on a grounder up the middle, he and Jose Iglesias came together but both pulled up and let it go through.
Both could take some blame, but Tejeda was the last line of defense and looked very hesitant.
Tejeda came up a shortstop, but was moved to second base last year and the organization wants to keep him there.
End 8th, Braves 6-1: Jose Iglesias gets on with an infield single, but that’s all the action in the eighth. The Red Sox are three outs from falling to 2-2 and causing some to question what this offseason was all about.
Mid 8th, Braves 6-1: An Atlanta hitter led off the eighth with a drive to the wall in right that Juan Carlos Linares tracked down.
Shawn Bowman tried his hand at left field, and succeeded. Bowman sent a Clevelan Santeliz offering down the line for the Braves’ second home run of the day.
Catcher Tim Federowicz made a nice catch while slamming into the rail atop the Atlanta dugout to end the inning.
End 7th, Braves 5-1: Daniel Nava remains in pursuit of that first home run since that memorable grand slam in his first at-bat. But he’s getting closer.
Batting with the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh, Nava hit a fly to rather deep right that might’ve had enough to get out on a day with no wind.
Alas, it sends this one into the eighth. Clevelan Santeliz is on for Boston.
3:13 p.m.: Since it is the seventh inning stretch, click here for some entertainment, courtesy of some NESN promos shot in camp. Enjoy. It’s good stuff.
Mid 7th, Braves 5-1: A few control issues for Alex Wilson in the top of the seventh. He walked several men, including one with the bases loaded.
Two more unearned runs came in later in the frame, opening this one up a bit. They were the result of an error on a wacky play in which the Red Sox had a chance for a triple play but only got two outs and saw two runners scamper home.
Without the benefit of replay, it’s a bit fuzzy as to the entire breakdown of the play. In any event, the Sox minor leaguers are in a bit of a hole.
End 6th, Braves 2-1: If David Ortiz could just get a little support, the dreams that this lineup has to produce at a high level will be realized.
OK, so it’s too early for such talk. But Ortiz is about the only offense going right now. He has three of the team’s four hits in this one after a sharp single through the shift in the sixth.
J.D. Drew followed with a walk to mount a little threat against Braves righty Cristhian Martinez, but Jed Lowrie grounded to second to end it.
Both Ortiz and Drew were lifted for pinch runners. No starters left for the Red Sox. Alex Wilson is the new pitcher.
Mid 6th, Braves 2-1: A clean inning for Kyle Weiland, who was roughed up a bit against Northeastern the other night and again in his first frame vs. Atlanta.
Dustin Pedroia is going to lead off in search of his first hit of the spring (0-for-4).
End 5th, Braves 2-1: After the Red Sox go quietly in the bottom of the fifth, Kyle Weiland is on for his second inning of work.
Jacoby Ellsbury’s day is done. Che-Hsuan Lin, one of several intriguing outfielders at the top two levels of the system, is his replacement.
2:34 p.m.: While we were away talking to John Lackey, Kyle Weiland gave up a string of hits that led to the second Braves run.
We rejoin the action with Lars Anderson batting with no outs in the bottom of the fifth.
As for Lackey, there will be a complete look at his debut later on, but he said that all he threw today were four-seam fastballs, a conscious effort to get the feel for it early on.
He also was asked the standard questions about last year, and said in no uncertain terms that he is tired of talking about 2010.
End 4th, 1-1: David Ortiz is now 4-for-7 with a home run and four RBIs after his second base hit of the game. Plus, he has a stolen base. That just happened.
John Lackey now speaking with reporters…back in a bit.
Mid 4th, 1-1: The wind strikes again. It’s been the Red Sox’ 10th man.
After consecutive strikeouts for Hideki Okajima, Freddie Freeman takes him deep to right. J.D. Drew went to the wall and then raced in and caught the ball on the grass. It had been knocked down considerably. That’s now three potential home runs hurt by a breeze.
Still, a much better inning for Okajima after getting knocked around a bit the other night.
End 3rd, 1-1: In an inning that had the Red Sox send Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, Carl Crawford and Nate Spears to the plate, it was Spears who had the one stolen base.
Spears walked to begin the inning. The next three did nothing, although Crawford missed extra bases by about a foot down the line in right.
Hideki Okajima is on to pitch the fourth. He gave up four runs in his debut Sunday night.
Mid 3rd, 1-1: The stiff wind blowing right to left is really putting a damper on the Braves in this one.
For the second time in as many innings an Atlanta hitter (Dan Uggla this time) rips a ball deep to left, only to see it get blown foul by a whisker. A few inches here or there and it could be 3-1.
But it’s not. Scott Atchison has a clean 1-2-3 inning. Nate Spears, Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia are due up.
End 2nd, 1-1: Three lazy grounders to the right side gets Tim Hudson through the second in no time at all.
Scott Atchison is the new Red Sox pitcher. John Lackey allowed a run on four hits, striking out one. He threw 41 pitches, 25 for strikes.
Mid 2nd, 1-1: Former Red Sox shortstop Alex Gonzalez sent a no-doubter over the wall in left to lead off the second, and it wasn’t the only hard-hit ball in the inning.
The next batter, Freddie Freeman, sent a scorching line drive that Lars Anderson dove to catch. David Ross followed with a smash down the line in left that just barely curved foul.
Ross thought he had a home run and stayed at first base for awhile after the signal was made.
Lackey gave up one more hit before getting Martin Prado to end it. Three singles and a home run in two innings in Lackey’s first outing of the spring.
End 1st, Red Sox 1-0: Plenty to talk about in the bottom of the first inning. Here is the basic rundown.
Jacoby Ellsbury led off with an infield hit (he converged at first base in much the same way that he did in that collision in Texas last year).
Ellsbury was nearly picked off by catcher David Ross. He later went on a 3-2 offering to Dustin Pedroia but it was ball four.
A fielder’s choice erased Pedroia at second and gave the Red Sox Ellsbury on third and Crawford at first. Surely, some of us wanted to see a double steal, but those efforts can be saved for now.
Anyway, David Ortiz singled to center to plate Ellsbury. Crawford was an easy out trying to go first to third.
Mid 1st, 0-0: John Lackey was so remarkably smooth in his first spring training with the Red Sox. If memory serves, he did not even walk a batter until his fourth or fifth outing. Work quick, throw strikes — that’s always the strategy and that’s what he did.
The first two batters of his 2011 campaign grounded out within seconds of one another, but that’s where the similarities came to an end. Jason Heyward, the dynamic young outfielder for the Braves, grounded a single to right and Dan Uggla followed with a hard base hit to left. Both worked deep into the count, as did Eric Hinske, who grounded to first on the seventh pitch of the at-bat to end the threat.
Lars Anderson made two nice plays in the field in the inning. Our Anderson note should be up shortly.
12:55 p.m.: Some clouds have floated in, but just white fluffy ones. No threat of rain. It has only served to block out the sun for a bit.
Anyway, Terry Francona was talking earlier about today’s starter for Atlanta, Tim Hudson.
The two were together when Francona was in Oakland. Francona said Hudson was one of his favorite players and the ultimate competitor.
It will be interesting to see what kind of a season Hudson has. He was reborn last year, but is now 35. It gets harder to string together such spectacular years when you get older as a pitcher.
First pitch was just thrown out by a vet who received a nice hand from the always-friendly crowd at City of Palms. We’re just about set to start.
12:12 p.m.: One of the first trade rumors to bubble up in Florida has naturally involved the Yankees, who were rumored to be looking again at Francisco Liriano, although general manager Brian Cashman sort of shot down those rumors.
If that ever did come to fruition it would give the Yanks that lefty they need when staring down at Boston’s left-leaning lineup. New York missed out on two such guys when Cliff Lee signed with Philadelphia and Andy Pettitte retired.
Certainly they could use some more starting pitching, and getting a southpaw would only help in matchups with the Sox down the road.
It’s a small sample, but the left-handed hitters on the Red Sox who have faced Liriano (Crawford, Drew, Ellsbury, Ortiz) are 7-for-28 (.250) with just one extra-base hit, an Ortiz double, and 11 strikeouts.
Of course, Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis are 10-for-21 vs. the Twins starter.
Something to think about, that’s all.
11:16 a.m.: Another note for those of you looking forward to the Yankees game Friday night in Tampa.
We know Clay Buchholz will start, but now we also know that Jason Varitek will catch him. Jed Lowrie, Ryan Kalish, Daniel Nava and Darnell McDonald are also slated to make the trip, along with a handful of kids. Oscar Tejeda is one.
Many of the other big names will be left behind due to the fact that there is a split-squad situation the following afternoon. It would make no sense to send Jacoby Ellsbury or Dustin Pedroia to Tampa, get them back at 2 a.m. and then have to use them when the teams split the next day.
OK, off to the clubhouse for a few. Will be back with more updates soon. In the meantime, here is Atlanta’s lineup, including a pair of former Red Sox players:
Martin Prado, LF
Jordan Schafer, CF
Jason Heyward, RF
Dan Uggla, 2B
Eric Hinske, DH
Alex Gonzalez, SS
Freddie Freeman, 1B
David Ross, C
Ed Lucas, 3B
11:06 a.m.: The Red Sox are about to wrap up batting practice and the Braves are stretching along the first-base line.
One update on Adrian Gonzalez. He took 75 cuts Wednesday (“really went at it,” Terry Francona said.) and will take Thursday off.
He will probably get into the cage Friday and is not far from live pitching.
“He’s definitely ahead of schedule,” Francona added.
There is still no set date for his return, but we should have a better idea in a week or so.
Another update to pass on. Brent Dlugach, who suffered a dislocated left shoulder diving for a ball Tuesday, was in a sling and is set to undergo some more testing today.
We will pass on word on how long his layoff will be once we hear.
Francona talked this morning about a handful of other items, among them Lars Anderson and Juan Carlos Linares. We spoke with Anderson a couple of days ago and will have a note up soon on his mindset this spring.
As for Linares, a somewhat stocky center fielder who was 2-for-2 on Tuesday, he has caught some attention.
“Interesting. When you look at his body, I don’t think it screams center field,” Francona said. “That’s what he’s playing. We’ll move him around…As we get into these split-squad games he will play full games rather than four innings.”
10:28 a.m.: Josh Beckett has been scratched from his scheduled start Thursday against Philadelphia. Prospect Stolmy Pimentel will take his place.
Terry Francona said that Beckett passed his baseline tests and is doing just fine, but there was no need to rush him back for a March 4 start.
Beckett will be pushed to his next scheduled day, likely next Tuesday.
More in a moment.
8:40 a.m.: It’s another sunny day at City of Palms Park. It rained last night for the first time since camp opened up, but there is nothing but a steady breeze in the forecast for Wednesday.
The Red Sox welcome back the presumed top third of their lineup for the matchup with Tim Hudson and the Atlanta Braves. Here is the complete batting order:
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Carl Crawford, LF
David Ortiz, DH
J.D. Drew, RF
Jed Lowrie, SS
Jason Varitek, C
Lars Anderson, 1B
Nate Spears, 3B
We touched a little on Alfredo Aceves and his potential impact Tuesday. One item left out was how manager Terry Francona called Aceves “a maniac” in his preparation. The team has given Aceves, coming off back issues and a broken left collarbone, every opportunity to hold back and he won’t. At 8:05 a.m. he was the only figure on the field, running laps around the track.
8 a.m.: John Lackey makes his first start of the spring when he takes the hill against the Atlanta Braves at home on Wednesday. First pitch is 1:05 p.m. and we will follow the action for you right here.
Lackey entered camp slimmed down and feeling comfortable about entering his second season in Boston. He is coming off a 14-win season in which he led the team in innings and starts.
The Red Sox enter 2-1 after taking the final two games of three straight with Minnesota this week.
We should know more Wednesday morning about the status of Josh Beckett’s scheduled start Thursday, as well as an update on infielder Brent Dlugach, who suffered a dislocated left shoulder in the 5-0 win over the Twins on Tuesday.
The Braves are 2-1-1 this spring after a 3-0 win over Houston on Tuesday. Tim Hudson is scheduled to get the start.
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