FORT MYERS, Fla. — It wasn’t a memorable game at JetBlue Park Monday. In fact, it never really officially took place.

Joe Kelly

Joe Kelly

FORT MYERS, Fla. — It wasn’t a memorable game at JetBlue Park Monday. In fact, it never really officially took place.

The meeting between the Red Sox and Cardinals was halted due to rain after 4 1/2 innings, with St. Louis carrying a 2-0 lead. Even though the stats don’t count, let it be known that Rick Porcello went five innings for the Sox, giving up two runs on six hits while striking out five and walking one.

The real news, however, came after the sort-of-game with John Farrell suggesting his team could break camp with eight relievers.

Such a scenario would take place if the Red Sox decide to keep Joe Kelly back in extended spring training. Kelly, who hasn’t pitched in Grapefruit League action since leaving his March 16 start with biceps soreness, is slated to pitch in a minor league Friday.

Farrell noted that the situation should be clearer after Friday. Kelly isn’t pitching in the Red Sox’ scheduled game against the Braves in Orlando that day in order to keep the option of retroactively placing the pitcher on the 15-day disabled list in play. (If a player performs in front of a paying spring training crowd, it limits the club’s ability to retroactively DL him.)

The Red Sox won’t need a fifth starter for their first two series in Philadelphia and New York due to the April 7 off day. The first time they would need the extra starter would be April 12.

Kelly threw a bullpen session Sunday without incident, integrating starts and stops to simulate game situations. (“I don’€™t anticipate him not being ready at this point, but we’€™re just keeping the other scenario as an option,” the manager said.)

“I think that group has probably narrowed some, the guys in competition,” said Farrell regarding the competition for the last bullpen spot. “We’€™ll have more information to factor in by Saturday, which would include Kelly’€™s next outing. There’€™s one scenario that could have us break with eight relievers. And the first time we would need a fifth starter would be on the 15th. That’€™s all being factored into this as well.”

Clay Buchholz will pitch against the Braves in Orlando Friday, with Steven Wright joining Kelly in facing minor leaguers.

The group of relievers projected by this writer to make the team in such a scenario would be: Koji Uehara, Junichi Tazawa, Edward Mujica, Craig Breslow, Alexi Ogando, Anthony Varvaro, Tommy Layne and Matt Barnes.

– Porcello was optimistic in regards to his outing, having now allowed three earned runs over 10 innings.

“I feel strong,” the pitcher said. “My sequences and the way I’m thinking on the mound is there. The consistency of the pitches isn’t where I want it to be. That’€™s why we’re here in spring training right now. I’ve just got to keep working on the consistency. I like the sequences. The changeup was really a lot better today, and that was really the one pitch I had been working on in between starts. It’s there, and there’s spots where everything is really good and working together, and there’s some spots where it’s a little inconsistent. Overall I feel strong and healthy and ready to go.”

David Ortiz could see some at-bats in minor league games over the next few days, but is still eyeing a Thursday return to the regular lineup.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

FORT MYERS, Fla. — With two weeks to go in spring training, Shane Victorino has weighed his options and made his decision — hitting exclusively from the right side will be the way he goes from here on in.

FORT MYERS, Fla. — With two weeks to go in spring training, Shane Victorino has weighed his options and made his decision — hitting exclusively from the right side will be the way he goes from here on in.

The right fielder attempted a return to switch-hitting earlier in camp, having felt his newfound health could withstand swinging from the left side. Victorino hadn’t routinely hit lefty since the middle of the 2013 season.

Speaking to WEEI.com, Victorino offered the reasoning behind giving up switch-hitting:

“I just felt doing so much work, trying to get comfortable and trying to find my left-handed swing was taking a toll,” Victorino said. “It had been countless hours in the cage trying to hit from the left side, feeling comfortable to work on that and continuously doing that. I felt like it was starting to physically take a toll and was setting me back in regards to what I was dealing with my hamstring and some typical leg soreness and kind stuff we were dealing with. I felt it led to what a lot what going on where my lower half was tired, because I was spending a lot of time working on things in the cage. Beyond that, it was a decision I felt like I thought it was necessary to make. Why go down that path (of potentially getting injured) again? I don’t want to put myself behind the eight ball. Whatever it takes.

“Then to have an organization say, ‘If that’s what’s going to make you feel better and allow you to go out and play every single day then we’re more than fine with it,’ that helps a lot in making that decision. When you signed me I was a switch-hitter and physical things led me down another path. I wanted to feel as good as I was and be a switch-hitter again, but it was taking a physical toll.”

While there will be continued adjustments to be made, the outfielder felt it was time to prioritize his health.

“Physically everything is going good, and that’s the most important part for me,” Victorino noted. “It’s not about being lefty or righty or being a switch-hitter. I want to be healthy. That’s the most important thing for me. Whatever is going to get me to play 162 games. Obviously I hope to play 162, although I doubt they’ll look at it that way. From my standpoint, things have come along. I tried but I felt there were some physical setbacks that were starting to kick in and everything was happening on the left side. So I said, ‘Let’s not make it worse.’ I felt like it was getting to that point, and that’s why I made the decision to be a right-handed hitter.”

He added, “This year I feel like I’m healthy going into the season, knock on wood. Hopefully nothing changes. But the way I feel now, and where I’m at, I feel confident I can go out there and be an everyday player and hit solely right-handed. But there are going to be adjustments I have to make from a hitting standpoint. At some point is there going to be a little bit of fear or discomfort in the box? Of course. It’s something that I’ve never really done over the course of a year. But I have confidence in myself I’ll make adjustments and I’ll figure it out.”

To read all of Victorino’s comments, click here.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Red Sox manager John Farrell had been cooking up the idea for some time.

Sunday morning, he hatched the plan — a relay race between two groups of position players that would determine the who was to make the three-hour trip to Jupiter Tuesday when the Red Sox took on the Marlins.

“That’s something I’€™ve been thinking about for quite a while, back in the offseason. Knowing where our travel schedule is going to put us,” Farrell said. “I thought it was a chance to get a good conditioning day in. Looking for ways to have a little bit of a team building event. I think it accomplished all that, maybe more, the way guys took to it. nobody wants to make that bus ride so there was a little incentive.”

What it also accomplished was sending some regulars on the trip across the state, with the team consisting of Dustin Pedroia, Hanley Ramirez, Jemile Weeks, Jackie Bradley, Humberto Quintero, Quintin Berry, Rusney Castillo, Xander Bogaerts and Daniel Nava taking the loss.

The competition came right down to the end, with Mookie Betts narrowly beating out Weeks on the final leg.

The winning team — which was officially identified by referee David Ortiz (who dressed in full referee garb) — included Betts, Luke Montz, Garin Cecchini, Pablo Sandoval, Brock Holt, Jeff Bianchi, Deven Marrero, Bryce Brentz and Matt Spring.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

Shane Victorino is optimistic heading into the last two weeks of spring training. (Elsa/Getty Images)FORT MYERS, Fla.



Hanley Ramirez and Mookie Betts put on their own display of thunder and lightning in a 7-6 victory over the Phillies on Sunday.

Hanley Ramirez and Mookie Betts put on their own display of thunder and lightning in a 7-6 victory over the Phillies on Sunday.

Ramirez blasted a titanic three-run homer to dead center and Betts added an inside-the-park shot that paced a 13-hit attack and made a winner of knuckleballer Stephen Wright, who tossed four shutout innings.

Betts and Ramirez both went deep in the third inning. Betts led off with a drive to the wall in center that eluded Phillies outfielder Odubel Herrera. Clearly thinking three bases out of the box, Betts turned on the jets around third when Herrera struggled to find the ball at his feet, sliding in as the throw deflected off of him.

After Dustin Pedroia and Pablo Sandoval reached, Ramirez followed with a monstrous blast to dead center with a swing reminiscent of Manny Ramirez, fully extending his arms on a fastball over the plate and punishing it.

The homer was Ramirez’s first of the spring. Betts, meanwhile, went 2 for 2 with a pair of runs to raise his average to .471.

As for Wright, the knuckleballer allowed two hits and two walks, striking out two. He lowered his spring ERA to 1.80 and improved to 2-0.

Blog Author: 
John Tomase

Matt Barnes has entered the mix for a spot in the Red Sox' bullpen. (Getty Images)BRADENTON, Fla. -- Every spring training it is an exercise that takes up way too much time -- figuring out which relief pitcher will make the Opening Day roster.



BRADENTON, Fla. — A few days ago, Joe Kelly was sure he would be making his scheduled start Sunday after experiencing right biceps tightness in his last outing. Despite his confidence, he will have to wait a bit.