KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) – Dustin Pedroia is more than glad to play deep into these exhibition games.

The former AL MVP tripled and doubled Friday and the Boston Red Sox beat the Houston Astros 9-3 in a split-squad game.

Coming back from a season cut in half by a fractured left foot, Pedroia drove in two runs against Brett Myers with a double in the first inning.

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Pedroia’s seventh-inning triple was one of four triples for the Red Sox, including two by catcher Mark Wagner.

“It felt good to stay in the game for a while and play seven innings, get four at-bats,” Pedroia said. “You feel more involved in the game, so that was fun.”

Pedroia had surgery on his foot on Sept. 3. He’s 5 for 21 in eight spring games.

“I feel normal. I’ve had a lot of time off, that’s the only difference. I’m just getting used to being out there and playing again,” he said. “Now I’m just focusing on getting ready for the season, hitting the ball hard and playing good defense. I’m not worrying about any health issues.”

Myers pitched three innings in his third spring start, giving up five runs on six hits.

“It was one of those days where you had to gorilla grip the ball really hard to make it feel right in your hand,” Myers said.

“The balls were pretty slick, but you have to just battle through that. I’m sure I’m going to encounter that a couple times this year. That’s just pitching.”

A sore shoulder moved Astros left fielder Carlos Lee to a DH role. He drove in Houston’s first run with a double.

“I asked for it, told (manager Brad Mills) my shoulder’s a little tired,” Lee said. “There’s been a lot of throwing going on, but I feel good. It’s not a big deal.”

Jason Michaels, limited to hitting as a DH because of a sore back, played left field for the Astros and is set to do so again on Saturday.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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