Red Sox: Top of order shines again
FORT MYERS, FLA. >> Boston's first three hitters — Mookie Betts, Dustin Pedroia and Xander Bogaerts — combined for seven hits, three runs and two RBI to lead the Red Sox to a 5-1 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday.
Bogaerts had a solo home run, his second of the spring, and No. 9 hitter Jackie Bradley Jr. had a two-run homer, his third.
"He's in a good place right now and I think he firmly believes he's a major league player and that's more than half the battle to go along with the talent that he has," Red Sox manager John Farrell said.
Odubel Herrera, who returned to the lineup Saturday for the first time in 13 days after injuring his left middle finger while sliding headfirst into home, went 3 for 3 on Sunday and scored the Phillies' run.
"He's a freak," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "This guy can hit. He's just a real different kind of hitter. He's got such great hand-eye coordination, it doesn't take him long to get on track."
Maikel Franco, who leads all major league players with eight home runs this spring, drove in Herrera with a first-inning double high off the replica Green Monster in center field. His drive just missed going out and was reviewed by the umpires, who let the call stand.
Phillies: Right-hander Jerad Eickhoff went five innings, plus one batter in the sixth. He gave up five runs on 11 hits, including two home runs, with no walks and two strikeouts. It was just his second start of the spring after being delayed because of a fractured right thumb.
"He's rusty," Mackanin said. "He made a lot of real good pitches with his curveball, but he didn't locate his fastball real well. He's behind everybody, so I'm not concerned about it. He did OK."
Mackanin confirmed Eickhoff has a spot in the rotation.
Red Sox: Knuckleballer Steven Wright went 5 2/3 innings, giving up one run on seven hits and two walks with three strikeouts. He is competing for a spot in the rotation.
"He certainly helped his cause today with a solid outing," Farrell said. "I thought he did a nice job with his fastball and his curveball in the early innings to get back into some counts, and then he got a better feel for his knuckleball as the game went along."
Phillies: IF/OF Cody Asche has been sidelined by an oblique strain and is questionable for opening day.
Red Sox: 3B Pablo Sandoval has been sidelined since Thursday with lower back stiffness. He took batting practice on Saturday, and the team hopes to get him into a game on Tuesday. ... LHP Eduardo Rodriguez suffered a subluxation of his right knee on Feb. 27 and will not be ready for opening day. He threw a 40-pitch bullpen session on Saturday. The team hopes he can face hitters in a week. ... Reliever Koji Uehara, who has been sidelined with general soreness, is expected to appear in a game on Monday.
Red Sox outfielder David Murphy exercised the opt-out clause in his minor league contract. The team has 48 hours to decide whether to add him to the major league roster or release him.
Farrell said catcher Christian Vazquez, who is coming off of Tommy John surgery in April, will either go to Pawtucket or stay in Fort Myers when camp breaks; he will not go with the Red Sox to Cleveland for opening day.
Phillies: RHP Vince Velasquez, who is competing for a rotation spot, will start for the Phillies when they host the Blue Jays today. RHP Marcus Stroman will start for Toronto.
Red Sox: RHP Rick Porcello gets the start today when the Red Sox host the Orioles. RHP Mike Wright gets the start for Baltimore.
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