Buchholz battles, Betts blasts for Boston

Starter pitches into fifth inning through multiple jams

Buchholz battles, Betts blasts for Boston

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Pedro Ciriaco cleared the bases with a three-run double off Clay Buchholz and Julio Teheran completed six strong innings as the Braves claimed a 4-2 win in a rain-shortened game over the Red Sox on Friday afternoon at Champion Stadium. Ciriaco's second-inning double accounted for the only runs Buchholz allowed until his day concluded with Kelly Johnson's leadoff homer in the sixth inning. The only two runs Teheran allowed over 5 ⅔ innings came via Mookie Betts' fourth-inning homer.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED

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Mark Bowman and Ian Browne are reporters for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Vazquez to undergo MRI

Vazquez to undergo MRI

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- After playing in a Minor League game on Friday morning, Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez was scheduled to undergo an MRI this afternoon to determine if his right elbow is healthy enough for Opening Day.

Vazquez has been slowed for the last couple of weeks by some discomfort in the elbow. At the very least, the MRI should give him some peace of mind that the injury isn't serious.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Castillo turns extra time into walk-off party

Castillo turns extra time into walk-off party

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Rusney Castillo's Spring Training has been abbreviated, but no less impressive. The outfielder belted a walk-off homer over the Green Monster against reliever Jake Reed in the 10th inning to lift the Red Sox to a 5-4 win over the Twins on Thursday.

After missing two weeks of Grapefruit League action with a left oblique injury, Castillo has quickly regained his stroke.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Red Sox want Cecchini to work on versatility

Top pitching prospect Owens reassigned to Minors camp

Red Sox want Cecchini to work on versatility

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- With Pablo Sandoval entrenched at third base for the Red Sox, the club will have prospect Garin Cecchini move around the diamond at Triple-A Pawtucket.

Cecchini, among the latest round of players who were optioned on Thursday, will start getting reps at first base and the outfield, as well as third base.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Uehara's hamstring better, opener still possible

Uehara's hamstring better, opener still possible

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Red Sox got an encouraging piece of news on the injury front on Thursday, as closer Koji Uehara took a step forward in his recovery from a right hamstring strain.

"He threw 60 [pitches] from flat ground today," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "He'll do that again tomorrow. And our plan is for him to get on the mound on Saturday. Today, there was more intensity to his running, roughly 60-70 percent intensity. Following the off-day [on Wednesday], today was a sizable step forward with Koji."

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ortiz defends legacy regarding PEDs

Red Sox slugger writes adamant defense linking '03 test to over-the-counter supplement

Ortiz defends legacy regarding PEDs

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Red Sox slugger David Ortiz still carries the sting from perceptions that resulted from the 2009 report in the New York Times that he was one of 103 players flagged in anonymous survey testing in 2003 for performance-enhancing drugs.

In a lengthy first-person account for The Players' Tribune, the new venture headed by retired Yankees icon Derek Jeter, Ortiz remained adamant that he "never knowingly took steroids" and said the positive test stemmed from taking an over-the-counter product.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Red Sox thrilled to see Big Papi, Napoli back in lineup

Red Sox thrilled to see Big Papi, Napoli back in lineup

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Red Sox got two key pieces back in the middle of their batting order on Thursday, as David Ortiz and Mike Napoli both played for the first time in several days.

Ortiz, who had been dealing with dehydration that led to overall soreness and then a bout with the flu, went 0-for-3 with an RBI in his first start since March 16.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Vazquez may not be ready for Opening Day

Red Sox catcher could land on disabled list to start season

Vazquez may not be ready for Opening Day

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Red Sox could be without Christian Vazquez on Opening Day, as the catcher has battled right elbow discomfort for the past couple of weeks.

Vazquez will undergo another medical exam on Friday, at which point the Red Sox will determine whether an MRI is needed.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Victorino takes issue with radio hosts' trade comments

Outfielder says he never said he wanted Mookie dealt for Hamels

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Shane Victorino was offended by comments from Boston talk show hosts Michael Felger and Tony Massarotti that suggested he'd like to see Mookie Betts traded so that the Red Sox can get Cole Hamels.

"All I said was, 'Hey, if we can get Cole Hamels and it's giving up two or three guys, I'm all for it.' I never said anybody's name," said Victorino. "I never said an individual's name. And these guys are quick to the assumption that, because those were the guys they were talking about, that I was trying to call out my teammate or trying to get him shipped away.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Fomer NFL LB Magee switches gear, hits Sox camp

Fomer NFL LB Magee switches gear, hits Sox camp

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Red Sox still don't know quite what they have in the player they took in the 23rd round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft. But with linebacker Brandon Magee recently released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they are about to get a much closer look.

The move had not practically even made its way on the NFL transaction wire on Wednesday, and Magee, an outfielder, was already headed to Spring Training to reunite with the baseball team that drafted him three years ago.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Chili's skills perfectly suited for role as teacher

Red Sox hitting coach blends experience from playing days with problem solving

Chili's skills perfectly suited for role as teacher

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Some of the best hitting coaches -- and, for that matter, pitching coaches -- were mediocre as active players.

But there are exceptions, like new Red Sox hitting coach Chili Davis. The switch-hitter clubbed 350 homers over 19 seasons, to go along with a sturdy OPS of .811.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hitting coach's notes: Chili's take on 5 Red Sox

Hitting coach's notes: Chili's take on 5 Red Sox

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- During his strong two-year stint as the hitting coach for the Oakland A's, Chili Davis made his mark helping young players have instant success. Now with the Red Sox, Davis works with a more veteran-laden group.

In a recent sitdown with MLB.com, Davis evaluated many of the hitters he's worked with the last several weeks.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Uehara's Opening Day status up in the air

Needing more prep before season, Red Sox closer remains out of game action with tight hamstring

Uehara's Opening Day status up in the air

JUPITER, Fla. -- Four days after John Farrell stated that he "fully" expected closer Koji Uehara to be ready for Opening Day, the manager sounded far less certain as he spoke to reporters before Tuesday's game against the Marlins.

"I think with each passing day he's not in a game, there's growing concern, concern in the sense, 'Will he be ready for April 6?' And we're just working through that," said Farrell.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pedro joining MLB Network's broadcast team

Martinez will work alongside 2015 Hall of Fame classmate Smoltz

Pedro joining MLB Network's broadcast team

For Pedro Martinez, who made seven consecutive Opening Day starts for the Red Sox from 1998-2004, it's time for a new Opening Week challenge.

MLB Network president Rob McGlarry announced on Wednesday that Martinez has joined its stable of broadcast analysts, adding to his continuing role as a Turner Sports postseason analyst in what is sure to be a memorable summer for the legendary right-hander from the Dominican Republic.

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Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Q&A: Orsillo on Red Sox's chances, Betts and more

NESN play-by-play man gives his take as regular season inches closer

Q&A: Orsillo on Red Sox's chances, Betts and more

In a recent sitdown with MLB.com, Don Orsillo -- who is entering his 15th season calling Red Sox games along with Jerry Remy on NESN -- discussed his excitement for the coming season.

MLB.com: This team has been a roller coaster the last few years, from worst to first to worst. Do you think there's another turnaround in store this season?

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Johnson pitches way into potential callup conversation

Another sharp outing has prospect among options to start for Boston if injury occurs

Johnson pitches way into potential callup conversation

JUPITER, Fla. -- Brian Johnson, meet Giancarlo Stanton.

Much like everything else in his first Major League Spring Training, Johnson was unfazed by facing perhaps the most feared hitter in the game. In their first encounter, Johnson induced Stanton into a grounder to short. And in the third inning, the lefty struck out Stanton swinging on a sweet 75-mph curve.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Craig shows off swing of old in RBI situation

Craig shows off swing of old in RBI situation

JUPITER, Fla. -- The liner emerged from the barrel of Allen Craig's bat and shot through the gap in right-center, as three Boston baserunners scored on the double against the Marlins on Tuesday.

"It feels good to hit the ball to right-center," said Craig. "I've typically been pretty good at hitting the ball there in my career, and I put a good swing on it."

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Crowded Sox outfield will have to be pared down soon

Victorino's health, Castillo's development to factor in decision; Craig looking better after tough '14

Crowded Sox outfield will have to be pared down soon

JUPITER, Fla. -- With less than two weeks before Opening Day, there remains an obvious logjam in the Red Sox's outfield, one that will soon force manager John Farrell and general manager Ben Cherington into some tough decisions.

This much is certain: Hanley Ramirez will start in left and Mookie Betts is all but set for center field. Daniel Nava is also in line for a spot on the bench, in large part because he's the team's only left-handed-hitting outfielder.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lefty Johnson sharp, fellow prospect Owens not

Starter allows one run, while touted hurler gives up six; Craig, Swihart deliver in 4-run third

Lefty Johnson sharp, fellow prospect Owens not

JUPITER, Fla. -- Jeff Baker, Jordany Valdespin and Jhonatan Solano each plated a pair of runs in an eight-run eighth inning, as the Marlins rallied for a 9-4 win over the Red Sox on Tuesday at Roger Dean Stadium.

Baker delivered a two-run double off Boston prospect Henry Owens, and Valdespin followed with a go-ahead two-run triple. Cole Gillespie delivered an RBI single to chase Owens, who was charged with six runs allowed. Solano added a two-run double and Adeiny Hechavarria added an RBI single off Dana Eveland.

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Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Anthony Castrovince

Betts taking Red Sox Nation by storm

Betts taking Red Sox Nation by storm

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Mookie Betts knows his status on the service-time totem pole and the requisite reticence that comes with it. His job here is to prove himself on the field and be reserved and respectful off it, and he seems to have embraced those ideals. He dons no multi-colored mohawk, a la Rusney Castillo, and he draws attention to himself only with his play, not his words. Heck, the kid hasn't tweeted since camp opened. Can't be a coincidence.

But when it came to John Farrell's apparel, Betts simply couldn't help himself. He had to say something.

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Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Red Sox have contingency plan in place for Kelly

Red Sox have contingency plan in place for Kelly

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Though the Red Sox are confident that right-hander Joe Kelly is recovered from his recent bout with a right biceps injury, the club is keeping open the possibility he could serve an abbreviated stint on the disabled list and make his debut on April 12 against the Yankees, when Boston first needs a fifth starter.

Under that scenario, the Red Sox could open the season with four starters and eight relievers. If that ends up being the case, Kelly would only be on the DL for the first five games of the season, then make his debut in the finale of a three-game series at Yankee Stadium.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Porcello grateful for Verlander-Scherzer influence

Porcello grateful for Verlander-Scherzer influence

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- For Rick Porcello's entire time with the Tigers, Justin Verlander was always around if he needed some insight, or even if he just wanted to watch one of the best pitchers in baseball go about his daily work. And with the exception of his rookie season in 2009, Porcello had Max Scherzer to lean on as well.

But even if he isn't teammates with those two ace righties anymore, Porcello has brought parts of Verlander and Scherzer with him to the Red Sox.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Porcello fans five Cardinals before rainout

Porcello fans five Cardinals before rainout

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Cardinals scored two runs against Red Sox right-hander Rick Porcello in the top of the fifth to break a scoreless tie. With Boston trailing, 2-0, and set to bat in the bottom of the fifth, the game went into a 55-minute rain delay before it was called due to unplayable field conditions.

Porcello got his work in, giving up six hits and two runs over five innings. The righty walked one and struck out five.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mookie, Hanley highlight Red Sox's offensive showcase

Betts hustles for inside-the-park homer; Ramirez drives in five runs

Mookie, Hanley highlight Red Sox's offensive showcase

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- From an inside-the-park home run by Mookie Betts to a three-run rocket off the bat of Hanley Ramirez, the Red Sox were clicking throughout the lineup in Sunday's 7-6 victory over the Phillies at JetBlue Park.

Ramirez went 2-for-3 with five RBIs after coming into the game with a .208 average.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Betts adds to incredible spring with inside-the-park HR

Leadoff man goes 2-for-2 vs. Phillies, raises Grapefruit League average to .471

Betts adds to incredible spring with inside-the-park HR

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Mookie Betts saw the flight of the ball and the path center fielder Odubel Herrera was taking as he ran after it. Betts was thinking double off the bat.

Perhaps Betts hasn't been following his own Spring Training close enough. Everything he touches turns to gold. And this inside-the-park home run in the third inning in Sunday's 7-6 win over the Phillies was no different.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wright ready to step into any situation for Sox

Farrell confident that 30-year-old knuckleballer can pitch quality innings

Wright ready to step into any situation for Sox

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Red Sox have five established starting pitchers slotted into their rotation. But when a need arises at some point this season for an injury or another reason, knuckleballer Steven Wright is positioning himself to be the next man up.

Joe Kelly was scratched from Sunday's start early in the week so he could take some extra time to recover from a right biceps injury. Wright got the call, and threw four scoreless innings against the Phillies, allowing two hits and two walks while striking out two.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Red Sox relay race decides who stays home

Betts leads squad to victory to avoid Tuesday's trip to Jupiter

Red Sox relay race decides who stays home

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Red Sox created a friendly competition on Sunday morning to break up the monotony of Spring Training. Two separate teams of position players battled in agility relay drills with this caveat: the winning squad gets to skip Tuesday's bus ride to Jupiter, Fla. The losing team has to go.

Mookie Betts finished an instant before Jemile Weeks in the final stretch, lifting his team to victory.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Buchholz strikes out 10 in Minor League game

Righty avoids potential Opening Day opponent as Red Sox face Phillies

Buchholz strikes out 10 in Minor League game

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- With the Phillies playing the Red Sox on the main diamond on Sunday, right-hander Clay Buchholz pitched in a Minor League game on the back field rather than facing his opponent for Opening Day on April 6.

The Red Sox haven't announced Buchholz as their Opening Day starter yet, but the rotation is clearly lined up that way. Buchholz's next start is scheduled for Friday against the Braves in Orlando, and then he'll have one last tune-up on April 1 against the Twins.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.