FORT MYERS, Fla (CBS) – David Ortiz is off to a blistering start this spring, but a 3-for-3 day wasn’t enough as the Red Sox fell to the Braves 6-1 Wednesday afternoon.
Ortiz is now 5-for-8 in his first three spring games with a home run and four RBI’s. After an ice cold start to the regular season in 2010, Ortiz hopes his bat won’t cool off after he leaves sunny Florida for Boston.
“He’s certainly short to the ball right now, and he’s not trying to muscle up,” Manager Terry Francona said. “(He’s) getting the barrel to the ball real good right now. It’s a nice short swing; he’s barreled up five or six balls the last three games.”
Ortiz also stole second in the first inning. He has just 10 career steals over his 14-year career.
Pitcher John Lackey took the hill for the first time this spring, going two innings and allowing a solo home run to former Red Sox shortstop Alex Gonzalez. Lackey threw 41 pitches, 25 for strikes, most of them fastballs.
“It felt good, I threw a bunch of fastballs,” the right-hander said after the game. “That’s what I pretty much went with on the day, just tried to work on the arm strength. A good first step.”
John Lackey Talks About His First Start of the Spring
In his first season in Boston, Lackey went 14-11 with an ERA of 4.40. After his outing Wednesday, Lackey said he feels better now than he did at this point last season. He’s tired talking about his 2010 campaign, a transition year for him, and 2011 should go much better.
“It’s a better division bottom line,” Lackey said. “There were definitely some adjustments, but I should be good going forward.”
Scott Atchison and Hideki Okajima each pitched a scoreless inning, but a three-run seventh inning by the Braves doomed the Sox.
They are now 2-2 in Grapefruit League play.