Mike Napoli Already Beasting And Other Red Sox Spring Training Notes


Mike NapoliFORT MYERS, Fla. — Monday was a good day at the ballpark for the Boston Red Sox.

The Red Sox rolled to a 6-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on a day in which Jon Lester and Shane Victorino made their spring debuts, David Ortiz homered for the first time this spring and Boston featured what could be a variation of its 2014 lineup.

Let’s go over some additional notes from Monday’s action at JetBlue Park.

-Lester was lights-out in three shutout innings. The left-hander consistently painted the black, showing fantastic command, especially for his first spring start.

Lester struck out four in the one-hit effort, and all four K’s were looking. The Rays simply looked overmatched, which catcher A.J. Pierzynski seemed to verify after the game.

“All of them were perfect pitches,” Pierzynski said of Lester’s four strikeouts. “Even if they would have swung at them, I don’t think they could have done a whole lot with them.”

-Victorino picked up right where he left off. The outfielder, who got plunked an American League-high 18 times last season, was struck by the first pitch he saw Monday.

Even more interestingly, Victorino carried last season’s trend of batting right-handed, even versus right-handed pitching, into Monday’s contest. Victorino batted right-handed against a pair of Rays righties.

But don’t read too much into it — for now, at least. Victorino wasn’t ready to say after exiting Monday’s game that he’s done with switch-hitting altogether.

-Victorino, who played three defensive innings, said he felt good physically despite not having an opportunity to swing the bat in his two plate appearances.

-David Ortiz, Mike Napoli and Corey Brown homered for Boston. All three were absolute shots.

Napoli’s homer — a towering blast to left-center field — was his second of spring training. He’s now hitting .333 (5-for-15) in six spring contests.

“He’s a beast,” Ortiz said of Napoli. “He hits moon shots.”

-Will Middlebrooks went 2-for-3 with a couple of RBIs, continuing what has been a solid spring offensively for the third baseman.

-Grady Sizemore, who went 1-for-3 on Monday, is expected to play Tuesday, giving him his first taste of back-to-back action.

Sizemore also ran on a 3-2 pitch with Dustin Pedroia batting Monday.

“The game situation is going to dictate when we put him in motion,” Farrell said. “We haven’t turned him loose in terms of trying to steal any bases, but there’s going to be some game situations that you start to lengthen out the leash a bit, and he continues to respond favorably from a physical standpoint.”

-Victorino has partnered with Fame4Good.com to send a lucky fan to spring training as the outfielder’s guest. Fans donating as little as $1 to the campaign — which is raising money and awareness for the Shane Victorino Foundation (Victorino’s charity that benefits underprivileged children) — are automatically entered into a drawing to have a VIP experience with The Flyin’ Hawaiian.

Check it out right here.

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

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