The Red Sox headed across Fort Myers to take on the Twins on Friday in another TV-less game. So, we didn’t get to see it but there was MLB Gameday as well as Twitter (as well as radio, but that’s not an option for me personally) to keep track of the action. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a whole hell of a lot to keep track of in this one as the Red Sox lost 4-1. Some notes!
A nice showing for J.D. Martinez
J.D. Martinez had played in a few spring games before Friday, but he had yet to do much of anything in those games. Obviously that’s not a concern — it’s J.D. Martinez. He’ll be fine at the plate — but it’s still more fun when he’s hitting. Well, he hit today. He was the only Red Sox, really, who hit, but he hit. He had a triple in his first at bat, which is weird in its own right, but it was apparently arguably a home run. I say arguably with some purpose, because Ron Roenicke went out to argue the call. This is non-Martinez related, but big fan of arguing over meaningless spring training games. Hell yeah, Ron. Do you.
Anyway, yeah, Martinez apparently put a charge into that one, and then he did a little more his next time out. In the fourth he came to the plate against Cory Gearrin and launched it for his first homer of the spring. Arguably. In fact, weirdly enough, it was his first homer in any spring from his three years with Boston. Like I said, there wasn’t going to be any doubt about Martinez no matter what he did in camp, but it’s still nice to see this kind of day.
Your daily battle update
Figure I should probably make this a thing, yeah? I’m going to track four battles in this space: The last two spots of the rotation, the last two spots in the bullpen, the last two spots on the bench, and the backup catcher list.
For the rotation battle, we got three potential members getting an appearance on Friday. Kyle Hart got the start in this one after struggling in his first spring outing. He did much better this time around, tossing a pair of scoreless innings on a walk and a strikeout. I think Hart is probably fighting an uphill battle, but a good spring could easily put him on the roster. Hector Velázquez pitched later in the game, tossing a scoreless inning with two walks. Finally, Matt Hall was the last pitcher used, tossing a scoreless inning of his own on a walk and two strikeouts.
Moving over to the bullpen, we got two notable appearances. First up was Austin Brice for his second outing of the spring. The righty, who I think has a good shot at one of the two open spots, gave up a double to Josh Donaldson but was otherwise perfect. Trevor Hildenberger is probably on the outside looking in at this point, and he didn’t help himself on Friday. The righty, facing his former team, allowed a double, a single and a walk en route to two runs in an inning of work. He did strikeout one.
For the bench battle, Tzu-Wei Lin got the start at shorstop and was leading off in this one. He went 0-3 with two ground outs and a strikeout. Jonathan Arauz came in later off the bench and went 1-2 with a single and a fly out. The two prospects looking for a spot, Bobby Dalbec and C.J. Chatham, also both came in off the bench. The former went 0-2 with a fly out and a ground out while the latter went 0-1 with a fly out and a hit by pitch.
Finally, in the catcher battle, both Kevin Plawecki and Jonathan Lucroy got into this one. Plawecki was the starter and smacked a single in his first at bat and then flew out to right field. Lucroy, meanwhile, got in for one at bat and grounded out.
- Rafael Devers made his spring debut today, but it wasn’t a notable one. He went 0-2 with a strikeouts.
- César Puello also made his debut, getting the start in left field. Like Devers, Puello went 0-2 with a strikeout.
- The Twins turned a triple play in this one, and apparently it was weird. I’ll let Alex Speier tell the story.
Really, no one seemed to know exactly what was going on, but people just kept throwing the ball until all three outs were recorded.— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) February 28, 2020
- Also getting hits in this game who have not been mentioned were: Marcus Wilson and Rusney Castillo, both of whom had a single.
- Also pitching in this game who have not been mentioned were: Josh Taylor and Robinson Leyer. The former tossed a perfect inning with two strikeouts while the latter allowed two runs in an inning.
The Red Sox are back in action tomorrow against the Yankees, who are in split squad action. That one will be on NESN+ as well as 93.7 FM WEEI. There’s a replay broadcast on MLB Network at 8:00 PM ET as well. First pitch is at 1:05 PM ET.