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Aceves settles down after rough start

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- It just wouldn't be an Alfredo Aceves outing if there weren't something a little unconventional about it.

Aceves had a fairly normal first appearance of the spring in Monday's 6-3 loss to the Rays at Charlotte Sports Park. He walked a couple of batters and allowed two runs in the first inning before settling in for a solid second.

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After Aceves finished pitching, he headed down to the Red Sox's clubhouse briefly and then rejoined his teammates in the dugout for the remainder of the game. It's not all that bizarre, but it's not typical for a veteran this early in the spring. Aceves viewed it as an opportunity to show some team spirit.

"I want us to win," Aceves said. "I want the best for us. Whatever I can do to help, they're going to get that from me."

On the mound, Aceves looked like a pitcher making his first start of the spring. He walked the second and third batters of the game, then allowed a two-run double on a 2-0 count to Yunel Escobar. But Aceves followed that by retiring five of the last six batters, and four of his six outs came via ground ball.

"I missed one pitch," Aceves said, before quipping, "I walked two guys, scored two runs. They got me two hits. Pretty much the number two. Today was the number two."

Aceves likely has one more outing before joining the Mexican team for the World Baseball Classic. He's been pitching in winter ball, he said, and that likely helped him maintain his strength throughout the 10-batter outing.

"I feel really strong," Aceves said, "but whatever the team needs, I'm going to do it. I'm OK with that. I didn't get tired. I was maintaining my endurance. I feel like I have endurance. They wanted me to throw two innings, so I'm OK with that."

Matthew Leach is a writer for MLB.com. Read his blog, Obviously, You're Not a Golfer and follow him on Twitter at @MatthewHLeach. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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