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Devers still eyeing Opening Day after collision

Red Sox third baseman day to day after suffering right knee contusion during play at plate
MLB.com @IanMBrowne

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers exited Monday's 4-2 exhibition win over the Cubs with a right knee contusion, but the expectation is that he will be in the lineup for Opening Day on Thursday at Tropicana Field against the Rays.

"God permitting, I'll be able to make it that day. We'll see how I feel [Tuesday]," said Devers through interpreter Daveson Perez. "It feels a little painful now, but with treatment I'm sure I'll be ready for Opening Day."

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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers exited Monday's 4-2 exhibition win over the Cubs with a right knee contusion, but the expectation is that he will be in the lineup for Opening Day on Thursday at Tropicana Field against the Rays.

"God permitting, I'll be able to make it that day. We'll see how I feel [Tuesday]," said Devers through interpreter Daveson Perez. "It feels a little painful now, but with treatment I'm sure I'll be ready for Opening Day."

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"He'll be fine," Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. "Probably give him [Tuesday] off, see how he reacts, obviously, and go from there. There's no need for him to get at-bats tomorrow or play the field. Expect him to be ready for Thursday."

Devers suffered the injury when he collided at the plate with catcher Victor Caratini while scoring a run in the bottom of the second inning.

Devers raced home when Caratini made a throwing error, and he was on the ground in pain for a brief time.

"When I saw the catcher coming toward me I tried to hit the ground before he could get there and the collision happened," Devers said.

The slugger did get up without assistance and walk back to the dugout, flexing his right knee as he walked off. When the Red Sox went out for defense in the top of the third, Blake Swihart replaced Devers at third base.

"At first, I felt scared because it was a clear pain in my knee," Devers said. "I thought it was worse, but I stood up and felt the knee was good."

If Devers can't play Thursday, Eduardo Nunez, Brock Holt and Swihart are options to replace him in the lineup.

E-Rod honoring Johan
Red Sox lefty Eduardo Rodriguez, as a measure of gratitude to third-base coach Carlos Febles trading numbers with him at the beginning of Spring Training, will treat the entire team to dinner on Tuesday night in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area.

Rodriguez, who hails from Venezuela, wanted 57 out of respect to countryman Johan Santana, who was one of the best left-handed pitchers of his era.

Video: Outlook: Rodriguez will return in late April or May

Rodriguez gave his old number (52) to Febles.

"For me, it's such an honor to wear that number," Rodriguez said. "That number I was seeing for a long time when I was a little kid. Johan was using that number and that's why I wanted to get it, especially because he's getting his number retired this year with the Twins and I decided to tell him I'm going to use that number and he was like, 'I'm glad to know you're going to be using that number.' He lives down in Naples and I go like twice a week to talk to him."

Porcello finishes strong
Facing most of the "A" lineup for the Cubs, Red Sox right-hander Rick Porcello had a strong finish to his preseason, scattering seven hits and two runs over five innings. He walked none and struck out three while throwing 89 pitches.

Porcello is determined to bounce back from his 2017 season and thinks he has put down the foundation to get that done during camp.

"I feel like I've come pretty far in a month-and-a-half as far as the sinker and executing it down in the zone," Porcello said. "Working in camp has been good and I feel more than prepared for the season so it was a good Spring Training, good buildup. I felt better and better every time out, honestly. Today was as good as I felt all spring arm-wise, life on the fastball and everything like that. I feel good, really good."

Porcello will pitch the third game of the regular season for the Red Sox, on Saturday against the Rays at Tropicana Field.

Up next
The Red Sox play their final tune-up before Opening Day with Tuesday's 1:05 p.m. ET contest against the Cubs. Right-hander Hector Velazquez, who will pitch the fourth game of the season, draws the start. The Cubs will counter with lefty Jose Quintana. The game will be broadcast live for free on MLB.TV.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Boston Red Sox, Rafael Devers