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Porcello on target in second spring start

Right-hander allows one run over five innings
March 20, 2019

SARASOTA, Fla. -- It started out a little shaky, but Rick Porcello finished his second Grapefruit League start in impressive fashion in the Red Sox’s 6-4 win over the Orioles on Wednesday at Ed Smith Stadium. Porcello gave up a home run to the first batter he faced. It was

SARASOTA, Fla. -- It started out a little shaky, but Rick Porcello finished his second Grapefruit League start in impressive fashion in the Red Sox’s 6-4 win over the Orioles on Wednesday at Ed Smith Stadium.

Porcello gave up a home run to the first batter he faced. It was the only run he allowed. After getting ahead in the count, 0-2, Orioles center fielder Cedric Mullins took Porcello deep.

“Actually, I was in a great position 0-2, I just didn’t make the pitch,” said Porcello, who walked the next batter. “I was a little off with fastball command.”

But Porcello settling down to end the inning with no further damage, facing the minimum from that point through the fifth inning.

“After that I felt great, everything was working well,” Porcello said. “Had the opportunity to mix in some sequences and use everything. It was a good building block to keep moving forward."

Porcello needed a pair of double plays, one he started, and a pickoff to accomplish the feat, but he finished strong nonetheless. He went five innings, allowing four hits, three of those singles, while walking one and striking out another. He threw 58 pitches (40 strikes).

“I felt strong,” Porcello said. “I felt like I could have easily thrown 90 or 100 pitches. To have the command is a nice spot to be in.”

Porcello will likely make one more spring start, possibly in Arizona against the Cubs on Monday or Tuesday.

“I feel pretty comfortable going out there and competing with where I’m at right now, but another start never hurts,” Porcello said. “I'll go out there and continue to refine the things I need to refine and keep building that pitch count up. But I feel like I’m in a pretty good spot after this one.”

In his only other outing this spring, Porcello allowed two runs on four hits over three innings in a March 10 start against the Rays.

Price to throw bullpen Thursday

Scratched from his last start because of an illness, David Price is going to throw “an aggressive bullpen” on Thursday, according to manager Alex Cora.

“He was [in camp] today,” Cora said. “He’s in good spirits. Now it’s just a matter of seeing where he’s at after that and how we’re going to fit him into the program.”

The lefty has made just one Grapefruit League start.

“Obviously we’re running out of time and he has to build up,” Cora said. “So we’ll make decisions when we have to make them, but first things first. We’ve got to see how he feels tomorrow.”

Price will no doubt make the Opening Day roster, and Cora will put him in position to get ready for that.

“He’ll pitch somewhere,” Cora said. “Obviously tomorrow is the big day and we’ll get the feedback afterwards and obviously we’ll map it out.”

Nunez starts at short

Red Sox infielder Eduardo Nunez started at shortstop on Wednesday, going 0-for-3. It took an inning before he really got involved in the game. Nunez had a hand in all three outs of the second inning, cleanly fielding two ground balls. The second resulted in an inning-ending double play. Nunez glided to his left, fielded the grounder, stepped on the bag and threw to first.

“He wanted to play short before we break camp,” Cora said. “He hasn’t played short in a while. So that’s good for him to do it.”

Nunez came into the game with just three innings at shortstop this spring, but was flawless in his three chances.

Versatility is important to what the Red Sox want to do and to that end, Brock Holt will play first base on Thursday.

“We know these guys are moving parts and that’s very important to what we’re trying to accomplish,” Cora said. “We have to make sure they see the angle and play positions they haven’t played in a while before we go to Seattle.”

Pearce expected back this weekend

Steve Pearce took batting practice inside today and will most likely hit off Minor League pitching Thursday. Pearce left Sunday’s split-squad game against the Pirates with a left calf strain.

“Just to make sure that he’s OK,” Cora said. “Most likely we’ll play him either Friday or Saturday. He’ll play in Arizona if everything goes well and get ready for the season.”

Up next

The Red Sox play their second of three consecutive night games when they host Tampa Bay at 6:05 p.m. ET on Thursday in Fort Myers, Fla. Right-hander Hector Velazquez gets the start for Boston. It will be his fourth Grapefruit League start and fifth overall appearance this spring. In 8 1/3 innings so far, Velazquez has allowed 17 hits and 12 runs (nine earned) while striking out eight and walking just one. Right-handers Matt Barnes, Tyler Thornburg, Marcus Walden and Colten Brewer are also scheduled to pitch for the Red Sox. Right-hander Hunter Wood gets the start for Tampa Bay at JetBlue Park.