The Red Sox beat Northeastern University and Boston College on Thursday, which is to be expected, but it was the first time the Sox saw real game action this spring.
The Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham spoke with 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Johnston & Flynn, who were filling in for Toucher & Rich, about how the pitchers looked, stand out guys and concerns about David Ortiz.
The Sox used all of their relievers for one inning in the two seven inning games on Thursday. There was some focus on Daniel Bard’s inning, how did he look?
“I though Bard had a pretty good day,” said Abraham. “He let up a bloop single and struck out three guys in a row on 15 pitches. It’s hard to get much of a gauge of the competition because they were playing a college team, but just the fact he threw a lot of strikes, was aggressive, broke out his slider and went after hitters, that’s the kind of stuff you want to see from Daniel Bard.”
They went on to discuss how the organization might have to approach Bard after the season he had last year. They also went on to talk about John Lackey starting in the team’s first Grapefruit League game Saturday against the Rays — his first time since coming back from Tommy John surgery. The guys agree that it’s a good sign that Lackey started camp with no restrictions.
David Ortiz on the other hand isn’t quite ready, but from everything being said by the team he’ll be ready to go for opening day. The designated hitter suffered a Achilles injury back in July, and no one thought it was a major injury, but the slugger missed significant time as a result.
“He’s still not ready to start running the bases, but he’s moving around pretty good,” said Abraham. “He’s taking batting practice, he’s taking infield practice; he’s doing all that kind of stuff.”
Ortiz did return in August for a game and had a couple of hits but was placed back on the DL the next day. Abraham wonders if he hurt himself more than everyone thought that game.
“I would think that if it was just a strain he would have been back by now certainly playing full speed,” said Abraham. “Everybody says that he’ll be ready for opening day and a guy like David — who’s a DH — it’s not like he needs to put a lot of time in on the field or anything like that. All he probably needs is 35 or 40 at-bats, it would probably only take a couple weeks of games for him to get ready. It’s not that big a deal that he’s not playing now, but if in ten days or two weeks he’s not playing that really becomes something that you have to start wondering if he’s going to be ready for the first game in New York.”