The Red Sox finished their exhibition schedule with an 8-0 loss to the Dodgers, only managing one hit, Bobby Kielty’s one-out single in the eighth, while punching out a dozen times against three Dodger pitchers; Hiroki Kuroda, Clayon Kershaw and Brian Falkenborg. Clay Buchholz started and pitched three innings, allowing five hits, four earned runs while striking-out five. Buchholz ended spring training with a 1-3 record and a 10.03 ERA. The sox exhibition record was 8-13-2, 10-13-2 if you include two exhibition wins in Japan. They will work out in Oakland today and then resume the regularly scheduled portion of their schedule on Tuesday.
Sox notes: The Red Sox signed free agent righthanded pitcher Terumasa Matsuo from the Independent Shikoku Island League in Japan. Matsuo was the Shikoku Island League Most Valuable Player in 2007, when he led the league with 15 wins (15-3 record) and 159 strikeouts. He posted a 1.72 ERA in 152.0 innings over 30 starts. Matsuo is expected to report to extended spring training camp in Fort Myers, Fla. early this week.
Kevin Cash hit a three-run home run, a conventional shot to center field, and Kevin Youkilis hit a screen shot, a two-run home run, to help the Sox to a 7-5-win over the Dodgers in front of 115, 300 fans. Starter Tim Wakefield, held the Dodgers to five hits and one run over five innings of work.
Sox notes: Fans hoping to see where Bartolo Colon is in his bid to make the Red Sox rotation still have a chance to buy tickets for Pawtucket’s season opener Thursday night, when Colon is scheduled to make his next start after four strong innings against the Dodgers Friday night. Bobby Kielty said he had made up his mind to accept an assignment to Pawtucket and told Theo Epstein as much, but this morning the outfielder said that could change, as his agent indicated there may be another big-league club in need of a right-handed hitting OF (Kielty is a switch hitter). Kielty said he plans to remain in LA for a couple of days with family while awaiting word on his job prospects. If another job doesn’t materialize, he’ll go to Pawtucket, which opens its season Thursday.
Bartolo Colon, who took another step toward making a claim on the fifth spot in the Red Sox rotation with four solid innings in a 3-1 loss to the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium last night, is now scheduled to pitch Pawtucket’s season opener Thursday night in Pawtucket, Colon will travel with the team to Oakland before heading back for his start for Boston’s Triple A affiliate. Colon was impressive, striking-out four of the first seven batters he faced, not surrendering a hit until Rafael Furcal’s two-out single in the third inning. Colon threw 60 pitches, 36 for strikes, topping out at 92 miles an hour on the Dodger Stadium radar gun.
Sox Notes: Mike Timlin was placed on the 15-day disabled with a laceration of the ring finger on his pitching hand. The move was retroactive to March 20, meaning Timlin is eligible to be activated next Friday, the first game of the weekend Toronto series. Timlin joins Josh Beckett, who also can’t pitch until the Toronto series, on the DL.
The Red Sox, coming off their trip to Japan, conducted a light, optional workout Thursday at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. Twenty players, most of the regulars showed up at the stadium. The only non-pitcher players who did not attend the workout were Manny Ramirez, Coco Crisp, and Bobby Kielty. The team will have a 40-man roster this weekend, including 14 from down on the farm.
Pitcher Bartolo Colon had a root canal yesterday, but is still expected to throw 60 pitches in tonight’s exhibition game against the Dodgers.
Notes: While his teammates were in Los Angeles, Red Sox righty Josh Beckett pitched for Double-A Portland yesterday at the Red Sox minor league complex in Fort Myers against the New Britain Rock Cats, the Twins’ AA affiliate. Beckett threw 47 pitches, 33 for strikes, in four innings of work. He allowed one hit, a single to lead off the fourth inning, and struck out six. Beckett, who is suffering from a sore back, was placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday retroactive to March 19. He is eligible to come off the disabled list on April 3, the day before the Sox play their first game against the Blue Jays. J.D. Drew returns home to Dodger Stadium tonight. But he probably won’t be in the Red Sox lineup and isn’t expected to play until the first game against Oakland.
The Red Sox lost 5-1 to the A’s in thr final game of the 2-game Japan series. Jon Lester started and allowed four earned runs over four innings of work. Lester wasn’t sharp and labored often, walking three while striking-out four. The Sox offense was limited to five hits. Mike Lowell (.375) had two singles, Coco Crisp a double, and Julio Lugo added a single. Manny Ramirez accounted for the only run with a tremendous home run off of winning pitcher Rich Harden, who was very sharp.
The Red Sox are headed back to the States, bidding Sayonara to Japan after today’s loss to the Athletics. They are set to arrive in Los Angeles tonight and will hold an optional workout on Thursday before playing the first of three exhibition games against the Dodgers on Friday.
Saturday’s exhibition expects to be the most interesting. It will be played at the LA Coliseum in front of a crowd that could exceed 115,000. The stadium will feature a 60-foot netting wall in left field less than 200 feet from home plate.
Those games against the Dodgers will be as follows:
March 28: Red Sox at Dodgers, 10:40 p.m. (Exhibition) Starter-Bartolo Colon
March 29: Red Sox at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m. (Exhibition at LA Coliseum) Starter-Tim Wakefield
March 30: Red Sox at Dodgers, 4:10 p.m. (Exhibition) Starter-Clay Buchholz
Notes: The Red Sox optioned Brandon Moss to Pawtucket, where he is expected to work on improving his defense at first base. The move indicates that JD Drew will likely not be out for long as the team now has just four outfielders on the roster: Manny Ramirez, Coco Crisp, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Drew. (Bobby Kielty is not on the roster, though he was in Japan.)
Having already gone to great lengths to start their season, the Red Sox went to extra innings in the first regular-season game they have ever played outside of North America. The Sox gave Japan its first taste of what has made them World Series champions twice in the last four seasons with a 6-5, 10-inning win over the Oakland Athletics before 44,628 in the Tokyo Dome. The Sox came from behind twice; Manny Ramirez had a two-run double that snapped a 4-all tie and made a winner of native son Hideki Okajima. Jonathan Papelbon had a shaky outing, giving up a run on three hits and a walk, to earn the save.
If the Sox had not come to Japan, rookie Brandon Moss would never have left Florida with the club. He would not have been in the starting lineup if right fielder J.D. Drew had not felt some tightness in his back while running sprints in the outfield just before the game, forcing manager Terry Francona to make him a late scratch.
But without Moss, the Sox would not have taken Oakland to extra innings. Moss singled home the go-ahead run in a three-run Sox rally in the sixth, and with the Sox two outs from defeat in the ninth, the left-handed hitting rookie connected for his first major-league home run to tie the score at 4.
Brandon Moss was one of the extra players the Sox were allowed to bring to Japan because they were exempt from having to trim their roster to 25 players because of their early start date. With Moss having a very good spring and start to the 2008 season, Bobby Kielty may be the odd-man out.
Even though the Red Sox were allowed to bring 30 players to Tokyo for the first two games of the season (not including Curt Schilling), the team is allowed just 25 on the active roster and three more designated as inactive, with those 28 players all eligible for the 25-man roster once the Red Sox head back to the States. Team sources indicated Monday afternoon that Tim Wakefield, Sean Casey, and Mike Timlin were likely to be the three inactives. Jed Lowrie and Bobby Kielty are expected to be the two extra players.
Tim Wakefield pitched in Sunday’s exhibition, which renders him unable to pitch in either of the first two games. Casey and Timlin are both injured. Casey came off the plane to Tokyo with a stiff neck and Timlin got two stitches on the ring finger of his pitching hand on Wednesday. None of the inactive or extra players is allowed to be in uniform for either of the two games.
Two moves will need to be made for this to happen. Kevin Cash’s contract will be purchased and Josh Beckett will be placed on the disabled list retroactive to March 19. That means Beckett will be eligible to come off on April 3, the off day between series in Oakland and Toronto. Beckett pitched two innings against Double A hitters on Sunday morning in Fort Myers, Fla., and will have to be brought along slowly back from his lower back injury.
Mike Timlin will be re-evaluated in Los Angeles, and the possibility remains that he might also have to go on the disabled list, which would create a roster spot for Bryan Corey or David Aardsma.
The Sox took their first Japanese exhibition game from the Hashin Tigers, 6-5, in front of 37,431 fans in the Tokyo Dome. Jonathan Papelbon finished off the game with an inning of work, following Clay Buchholz, Kyle Snyder, Javier Lopez, and Manny Delcarmen.
The Red Sox offense was led by David Ortiz (2-4, HR, 1 R, 1 RBI), Kevin Youkilis (2-5), J.D. Drew (1-4, HR, 3 RBI), and Mike Lowell who went two for three with a run scored.
Tim Wakefield starts on Sunday for the BoSox.
Mike Timlin ended up with stitches on the ring finger of his pitching hand, after fielding a comebacker to the mound in Wednesday’s spring training game against the Blue Jays. Manager Terry Francona indicated it was unlikely the injury would result in a stint on the disabled list for Timlin.
Notes: Coco Crisp is likely to be available for the games. The Sox are hoping for six innings from Wakefield and five from Clay Buchholz in their exhibition game starts in the next two days.
The Red Sox today announced their 30-man travel roster for the two exhibition games the team is playing in Tokyo March 22 and 23.
The Red Sox also will open the regular season in Japan, with games against the Oakland A’s on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 25 and 26. For the A’s games, the Red Sox will be allowed to have a 28-man opening day roster, with 25 of those players eligible for those two games.
Here is the complete 30-man travel roster for the Japan trip:
PITCHERS (13): David Aardsma, Clay Buchholz, Bryan Corey, Manny Delcarmen, Jon Lester, Javier Lopez, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Hideki Okajima, Jonathan Papelbon, Kyle Snyder, Julian Tavarez, Mike Timlin, Tim Wakefield.
CATCHERS (3): Dusty Brown, Kevin Cash, Jason Varitek.
INFIELDERS (8): Sean Casey, Alex Cora, Mike Lowell, Jed Lowrie, Julio Lugo, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis.
OUFIELDERS (6): Coco Crisp, J.D. Drew, Jacoby Ellsbury, Bobby Kielty, Brandon Moss, Manny Ramirez.
60-DAY DISABLED LIST (1): Curt Schilling.
Notes: Bartolo Colon won’t be starting the season with the big club, instead he will remain in the Red Sox camp. Colon was assigned to minor league camp yesterday along with two other non-roster invitees, infielders Keith Ginter and Joe Thurston. Two players on the Red Sox major league roster, righthander Josh Beckett and lefthander Craig Breslow, will remain in Florida while the team travels to Japan.
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