Pearce soaks up atmosphere in spring debut

March 6th, 2019

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Four months after completing his magical World Series MVP Award-winning run against the Dodgers, was back in the batter's box for his first game of Spring Training on Wednesday against the Pirates.

Pearce is the kind of complementary player who used to get in his work leading up to Opening Day without hearing much from the fans. But times have changed.

“I like it. I like hearing them up there. It gets me motivated,” he said.

So what cheer does he hear most often?

“Just, 'MVP,'” Pearce said. “I like it. That kind of sticks out.”

Because Pearce has had some Spring Training injuries in the past when he tried to get his body started up too quickly, manager Alex Cora put him on a more conservative pace this spring.

The right-handed hitter went 0-for-2 and started at first base during Wednesday's 6-1 loss to the Pirates.

“I was kind of nervous and anxious and at the same time ready to go, and I’m glad everything felt like I wanted it to,” Pearce said. “Especially when you get the date you’re going to play, you have like a little countdown going, so I was kind of ready for it last night.”

And now Pearce is ready to spend his first full season with the Red Sox. He turned out to be a vital acquisition by president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski last June.

“It’s nice to be able to start here and start working and getting in the trenches with the guys and start preparing for the season,” Pearce said.

Pedroia will be an opener
's first game of Spring Training will be a short stint. The second baseman is expected to get one at-bat and play two innings of defense on Thursday against the Twins as the Red Sox continue to build him up slowly after two years of complications with his left knee.

Assuming Pedroia’s debut goes off without a hitch, he will play again on Saturday at home against the Mets. Cora thinks Pedroia should have enough time to be ready for Opening Day on March 28 against the Mariners.

“I hate to set a schedule for him, but if everything goes well tomorrow and he reacts OK in the upcoming days, then he’ll play Saturday and we’ll treat him like a regular guy,” Cora said.

Thornburg still trying to find it
Righty reliever is in a tough spot this spring because he’s trying to solidify a roster spot.

In Wednesday’s outing against the Pirates, Thornburg allowed two hits, two walks and one run. One of the hits was a routine fly that Andrew Benintendi lost in the sun.

“Not happy, not mad. Happy to get another outing in and get further in spring,” Thornburg said. “I’d say mechanics-wise [I'm] probably on par with most years and normal years and then arm-strength wise, kind of a little weirded out right now. I never really throw this hard this early in spring, so it’s kind of a little different. Hopefully I’ll gain a little bit more, who knows. But like I said, it feels pretty good right now. Just a matter of honing everything in.”

Thornburg has allowed at least one run in all three of his outings.

At this point, Cora sees enough positive signs from Thornburg.

“Lineups are going to get better, which is something I’m looking forward to, him facing the big guys,” Cora said. “As far as the stuff is there now, I’m happy with that. But later on, he needs to get people out. I have a feeling that he will.”

Colten Brewer had a good day in his latest audition for a bullpen spot, recording a 1-2-3 inning that included two strikeouts.

Brasier getting close
Righty reliever , who was sidelined by a pinkie toe infection on his right foot, is getting closer to game action.

Brasier will throw a side session prior to Thursday’s game and perhaps progress to live batting practice later in the week.

Brasier is one of Boston's most important relievers heading into the season.

Up next
Lefty Brian Johnson, whose last start was scratched due to a virus, will be back out there Thursday at home against the Twins. Brandon Workman will see action out of the bullpen. After getting a day off Wednesday, star slugger J.D. Martinez should be back in the lineup. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET.