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J.D. knocks first three Red Sox hits

Red Sox slugger drives ball to RF, reminds Cora of Manny
Special to MLB.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- J.D. Martinez, who made his Grapefruit League debut for the Red Sox on Wednesday, collected his first hits in a Boston uniform Thursday against the Rays. He went 3-for-3 with a double, an RBI and one run scored in a 6-6 tie.

In the first, Martinez doubled to right, scoring Mookie Betts to cut the Rays' lead to 3-1. With two outs in the third, Martinez singled to right. And with one out in the fifth, he singled to center and came around to score one of Boston's two runs in the inning.

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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- J.D. Martinez, who made his Grapefruit League debut for the Red Sox on Wednesday, collected his first hits in a Boston uniform Thursday against the Rays. He went 3-for-3 with a double, an RBI and one run scored in a 6-6 tie.

In the first, Martinez doubled to right, scoring Mookie Betts to cut the Rays' lead to 3-1. With two outs in the third, Martinez singled to right. And with one out in the fifth, he singled to center and came around to score one of Boston's two runs in the inning.

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Spring Training: Info | Tickets | Schedule

About his two opposite-field hits, Martinez replied:

"It's a good sign for me to be making contact right now," he said. "So I'm happy with that. To be able to hit it that way is obviously a plus. So definitely happy about it."

Tweet from @RedSox: ICYMI: @JDMartinez14 went 3-for-3 in today���s game with an RBI. 👏 pic.twitter.com/CxylaYOhXL

For manager Alex Cora, Martinez brings to mind another right-handed slugger.

"Manny," Cora said. "And I know people go crazy, 'Oh, he's Manny Ramirez.' But he can hit for average and he can do that [go the opposite way]. There's certain situations we know he's going to hit the ball out of the ballpark, but he's going to be able to get on base and hit for average, and that's key."

Martinez won't start fully judging his at-bats until later in camp.

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"I don't look into it until just the last about week," he said. "And then I'm really trying to grind and really see at-bats, really see pitches, work the counts, and that's kind of when I start hitting the where-I'm-at button, trying to figure everything out."

Sale set for spring debut Friday
Left-hander Chris Sale is scheduled to make his Grapefruit League debut Friday, facing the Marlins in Jupiter, Fla., at 1:05 p.m. ET, live on Gameday Audio. He is expected to throw about 50 pitches.

David Price has yet to make his spring debut as the team monitors workloads this spring. But, Cora is satisfied with the progress Price and Sale have made pitching in Minor League games on the back fields at the team's Spring Taining complex.

"The only difference is that they haven't pitched on the main fields," Cora said. "[Price] was up and down enough the other day and they're going after it the right way. One of the things we talked about on [Monday], just watching David, he was throwing the ball with the intensity, he was throwing with conviction. He was throwing the ball in a controlled environment on Field 2, [but] it was like he was pitching on the main field, which was great, because the next day they feel it, body-wise, but mentally, it's a lot different.

"But they all are doing a great job back there, [Rick Porcello, who pitched two scoreless innings in one appearance], David and Chris. So we feel comfortable that when hey get on the mound, it's just a difference that you have 10,000 people instead of 30 people."

This and that
• Betts went 1-for-3, collecting his first spring hit.

Xander Bogaerts went 2-for-3 and is batting .500 (going 9-for-18).

• Left-hander Brian Johnson went three innings, giving up three runs on four with a walk and four strikeouts. He had a rough first inning, facing seven batters and giving up three runs, before settling down to face the minimum in the next two innings. In the second, he struck out the side in order.

Video: TB@BOS: Johnson strikes out the side in the 2nd

Up next
After Sale's spring debut, right-hander Brandon Workman and left-handers Roenis Elias and Bobby Poyner are among those scheduled to pitch for Boston. Right-hander Dan Straily is expected to start for Miami.

Maureen Mullen is a contributor to MLB.com.

Boston Red Sox, J.D. Martinez, David Price, Chris Sale