SARASOTA, Fla. — Jon Lester got into a major league spring training game for the first time this year, and his pitching line looked a bit better than he felt.
Lester allowed one run and a hit in four innings Sunday as the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 6-1.
His two previous appearances this year were two innings in a 25-0 win over Northeastern and 2 2-3 innings in a “B” game against Minnesota.
“About halfway through the second, I finally got into a little bit of a rhythm,” Lester said. “We had a hard time kind of figuring out where the plate was. We were just missing on a lot of pitches.”
Lester, 14-0 against Baltimore during the regular season, walked four and struck out two. The only hit he gave up was an RBI single to Adam Jones in the first.
“I really liked what I saw of Jon Lester,” Boston manager Bobby Valentine said. “He had good stuff and he had to make an adjustment during those innings.”
Working with a new catcher, Kelly Shoppach, Lester admitted that he was trying to get comfortable with him — as well as with plate umpire Chad Fairchild’s strike zone.
“He was setting up just a little bit off and just not getting the calls. So it’s spring training, trying to figure out the umpires too,” Lester said.
Five pitchers combined on a three-hitter. Aaron Cook, who signed a minor league deal with the Red Sox after 10 years with Colorado, pitched a hitless sixth and seventh innings in his first appearance of spring training. He walked two and struck out one.
“It felt really good,” Cook said. “First inning I was a little amped up. Felt like a little kid.”
Dustin Pedroia had two hits and two RBIs. His two-out double off Dana Eveland in the second gave Boston a 3-1 lead.
Eveland gave up three runs — one earned — and six hits in two innings. In two starts, both against theRed Sox, he has allowed eight hits in four innings.
“Not very good,” Eveland said. “I threw way too many pitches and gave up way too many hits.”
Besides Pedroia, Boston brought along regulars Jacoby Ellsbury and David Ortiz.
“Against this lineup, you can’t really make many mistakes, and I paid for every one I made,” Eveland said. “That’s the difference between having a good outing and a bad one. They hit every mistake I made.”
NOTES: The Orioles unilaterally renewed the contract of C Matt Wieters on Saturday. “I’m not disappointed,” he said. “Your first three years, the team can pay you whatever they want.” … Red Sox SS Julio Iglesias is out with a right groin injury. … Orioles RHP Darren O’Day was scratched due to a groin injury. … The teams also met in a “B” game that began at 10 a.m. on a back field. The Orioles used pitchers Tommy Hunter, Zach Britton, Jim Johnson and Willie Eyre. All have been sidelined by injuries. … Boston OF Carl Crawford, rehabbing from January surgery on his left wrist, “had a full day’s activity,” Valentine said. “He’s feeling good about his throwing. And he’s just about ready, we don’t want to say what day. It’s a very monitored program he’s on.” … Red Sox LHP Andrew Miller, hampered by a stiff left elbow, threw on flat ground, and could throw in the bullpen Tuesday.
Yankees 3, Phillies 0
TAMPA, Fla. — Mariano Rivera walked to the mound as “Enter Sandman” played before the fourth inning, his number 42 matching his age during a game for the first time. Many of the 10,810 fans in Steinbrenner Field rose for a standing ovation, a tribute to the start of what may be the great closer’s final season.
Rivera followed CC Sabathia with a perfect inning during his first spring training appearance of the year and got the victory in New York’s 3-0 split-squad victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.
If Rivera’s 18th major league season will be his last, he isn’t saying.
“I always appreciate it,” he said of the ovation. “It don’t matter the situation. I always appreciate it.
When Rivera reported to the Yankees on Feb. 20, he said he had decided on whether he will retire after this season but said he might not reveal it until October. It’s a touchy subject. Asked whether he thought fans rose to their feet because they thought it might be his final year, he smiled, said “I got to go” and walked away after his postgame interview lasted just 95 seconds.
Rivera needed 14 pitches to get through the fourth. He retired Ty Wigginton on a flyout, Luis Montenez on a flyball that center fielder Chris Dickerson ran down to end a 10-pitch at-bat and Hector Luna on a grounder.
“It’s the first outing,” Rivera said. “You just have to do what you have to do, and I think I did what I wanted to do. I threw my pitches, felt good, and I’m waiting for the next outing.”
Rivera went 1-2 with 44 saves in 49 chances and a 1.91 ERA last year, when he was selected for his fourth straight All-Star appearances and 12th overall. Last spring training, he struck out the side against a Minnesota split squad on March, the first of five scoreless, one-inning appearances during the exhibition season.
“He looked sharp,” Yankees catcher Russell Martin said. “When doesn’t he look sharp — that’s the question? Same guy as last year. Same guy for the last 20 years. The command he has is second to none.”
Following the retirements of Bernie Williams, Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada, Rivera and 37-year-old Derek Jeter are the only remaining players from the core group that led the Yankees’ resurgence.
“It’s just a great feeling to have him and to be able to watch the way he goes about his business,” Sabathia said. “Hopefully he plays a few more years
Sabathia, slated to start New York’s opener at Tampa Bay on April 6, allowed two hits, struck out two and walked one. He threw 28 of 39 pitches for strikes, and he worked out of a two-on, no-outs jam in the first, getting fly balls from Shane Victorino and Wigginton.
“Fastball command was pretty good,” Sabathia said. “Secondary pitches were working. Still have a little ways to go. Still want to work on my two-seamer and being able to throw that at any time, but feel good today.”
Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick gave up three hits in three shutout innings with two strikeouts and no walks.
“I feel real good right now, that’s the main thing,” Kendrick said.
Kendrick agreed to a $7.5 million, two-year contract with the Phillies last month. He went 8-6 with a 3.22 ERA last year in 15 starts and 19 relief appearances.
“I love starting, but if it’s the seventh, eighth — if it’s starting, whatever they ask you take the ball,” Kendrick said. “I just go out there and try to get better. Do my business every day. They’re going to make those decisions. It’s up to them.”
Derek Jeter singled off Kendrick in the first and third innings. Chris Dickerson had a two-run single in the fourth — an inning after he collided with plate umpire Dan Iassogna after getting tagged out in a rundown.
Philadelphia had three hits off seven pitchers.
“Really, our bullpen is probably the strength of our team,” Sabathia said. “Just to have all those guys back there and Mo closing it up. That just feels good.”
Notes: Martin was hit on the side of the elbow by an Austin Hyatt changeup in the fourth, but remained in the game. … Hyatt gave up two runs and two hits in three innings. … Martin has four stolen bases this spring. He had eight during the regular season last year. … Yankees INF Eduardo Nunez, hit by a pitch last Monday, said he only feels pain when swinging a bat and did not take batting practice on Sunday. “It’s feeling better, but slowly, Nunez said. … New York LHP Boone Logan, slowed by a stiff neck, pitched a 1-2-3 fifth.