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Red Sox Spring Training Update (3/26-4/1): Boston Sets Rotation, Infield

Cody Ross watches his home run in Tuesday's spring training game against the Tampa Bay Rays. (BostonHerald.com/Christopher Evans)

Opening Day is less than a week away. Who’ll be starting Thursday in Detroit became a lot clearer this week, when the Red Sox hammered out their infield and starting rotation. They optioned both Jose Iglesias (.200 BA, five RBIs in nine games) and Lars Anderson (.343 AVG, eight RBIs in 18 games) to Pawtucket Tuesday, then announced Sunday that Daniel Bard and Felix Doubront would complete their starting rotation.

Only the outfield remains unsettled, but Cody Ross will certainly be on the roster. Ross went 5-12 this week, homering four times, scoring five runs and driving in 10. He also won this week’s Spring Training Player of the Week award!

Ross played a big part in Boston’s 4-1-1 week. Who else helped out? Here’s the update from the final full week of Spring Training.

Red Sox 6, Phillies 0

It seems Jon Lester can still dominate after all. Lester submitted the best start of the Spring, striking out 10 Philadelphia hitters while giving up just two hits and hitting a batter in seven scoreless innings. He threw six 1-2-3 innings.

Boston’s offense, meanwhile, banged out 11 hits Monday, including three home runs. Dustin Pedroia‘s first-inning home run made it 1-0, then Jarrod Saltalamacchia singled in the second and scored on a throwing error two batters later.

The Red Sox went up 5-0 in the fifth on David Ortiz‘s RBI single, followed by Ross’ third preseason home run. Non-roster infielder Mauro Gomez homered in the top of the ninth to make it 6-0.

Matt Albers struck out one in a perfect eighth inning.

Red Sox 8, Rays 0

Josh Beckett and a trio of relievers pitched a shutout Tuesday, giving up just three hits and three walks to Tampa Bay. All three walks belonged to Beckett, but so did five of the team’s nine strikeouts.

The same Ortiz-Ross tandem that proved so effective Monday worked the same magic the day after. Ortiz doubled following a Kevin Youkilis walk, putting men on second and third. Ross cleared the bases just two pitches later, homering to left to put the Red Sox up 3-0 in the second.

Following Pedroia’s RBI triple in the sixth, the Red Sox tacked on four more in the seventh, starting with a bases-loaded walk and a wild pitch. Gomez then singled to center to drive in two more and make it 8-0.

Mark Melancon set the final four Rays hitters down in order, striking out two.

Blue Jays 3, Red Sox 2

Alfredo Aceves won’t be starting during the season, but he did so Thursday, holding the 22-4 Blue Jays to just two runs – one unearned – on three hits and two walks with four strikeouts in six innings. Aceves performed admirably as the long-reliever last season, and hopefully this game shows he will again this season.

Ryan Sweeney‘s RBI double gave Boston a 1-0 lead in the second, but two Boston Errors helped Toronto retake the lead 2-1 in the top of the sixth. Boston tied the game 2-2 on Ortiz’s home run in the bottom of the inning.

The Blue Jays went up 3-2 in the top of the eighth when non-roster center fielder Anthony Gose led off with a walk. Gose then stole second, third and home off Red Sox non-roster reliever Justin Thomas. Saltalamacchia (2-2) doubled with one down in the bottom of the ninth, but the next two Red Sox struck out to end the game and hand Thomas his first loss.

Red Sox 9, Twins 7

The Red Sox scored eight runs over the final four innings against the Twins, powering them to a slug-fest victory. Who did most of the damage? Ross, of course! Ross went deep twice Friday, putting the Red Sox up 2-1 in the second and 4-1 in the sixth. Ross finished 2-3, as did Sweeney.

Two Minnesota runs off starter Bard in the bottom of the sixth cut the lead to 4-3, but Boston added a run in the seventh and three in the eighth on a sacrifice fly and a two-run homer from Gomez.

A fielding error helped the Twins put up two in the bottom of the ninth, but Melancon induced an easy ground out back to the pitcher to complete the save. Bard, who went six innings and gave up three earned runs on four hits, three walks and seven strikeouts, picked up his second win.

Red Sox 7, Rays 7

The Red Sox didn’t exactly play their A-team Saturday, but even the scrubs still managed a tie, belting out 11 hits and taking advantage of four Rays errors, especially when down 5-1 entering the fifth. Boston scored on a throwing error following Pedro Ciriaco‘s sacrifice bunt in that inning. Then with two men on, Gomez singled to right to cut Tampa Bay’s lead to 5-4.

The Rays added a run in the bottom of the fifth, but the Red Sox tied it on an RBI double by Daniel Nava and another Rays fielding error. They took a 7-6 lead in the seventh on a single from Sean “Who is this guy?” Coyle.

Non-roster reliever Tony Pena Jr. couldn’t preserve the lead, however, giving up a one-out homer to Luke Scott to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh. Two innings later, they called it a draw.

Red Sox 5, Twins 1

Red Sox fans, rejoice: the Mayor’s Cup is back where it belongs. Bobby Valentine pieced together the win using only relievers, but it worked: five pitchers held the Twins to one earned run on five hits (one home run), two walks and eight strikeouts.

Boston entered the bottom of the sixth down 1-0, but Ross’ double scored Ciriaco (two stolen bases in the sixth) to tie the game 1-1. Two batters later, Sweeney drove in Ross with a single.

A double from Mike Aviles put Boston up 3-1, then Jacoby Ellsbury‘s triple scored Aviles. Ellsbury nearly had an inside-the-park home run, but he was thrown out at home.

The win went to Garrett Mock, who gave up the sixth-inning home run but came back to pitch a scoreless seventh. Vicente Padilla started, giving up two hits with two strikes in 1.2 scoreless innings.

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