March 26, 2013

RED SOX NOTEBOOK: Hitters rolling as season arrives

By Kevin Thomas
Staff Writer

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Before we get to the Jackie Bradley Jr. news of the day, there are some other Boston Red Sox hitters having themselves a solid spring training.

Will Middlebrooks enjoyed a 3-for-4 outing Monday, in a 12-9 loss to the Baltimore Orioles. Middlebrooks is now batting .362. Mike Napoli (.342) went 2-for-3. Jonny Gomes (.283) also looked good, going 2-for-3 with a home run.

"Good to see as we get closer to the start of things," Boston manager John Farrell said.

When Boston gets to that thing called the regular season, will Bradley be on the Red Sox roster?

"Not only are you all waiting, but I am too," Bradley joked with reporters after the game.

Bradley again amazed with his batting. He entered in the seventh inning with runners on second and third with Boston down 9-7. Facing veteran reliever Pedro Strop, Bradley singled up the middle, tying the the game.

In the ninth, Bradley tripled off left-hander Chris Petrini, launching a ball off the right field wall.

"Very consistent approach," Farrell said. "And what was even more impressive was that after (Sunday) when some left-handers tied him up a bit, he came back against a left-hander who has quality stuff and put a good swing on the ball."

Bradley called Monday, "a good day. Keep swinging and be ready to play tomorrow."

• • •

The Red Sox major leaguers are actually off today as coaches and the front office gather for meetings. It's possible the roster or most of the roster could be set.

Bradley, batting .444 this spring, has appeared to have played his way onto the team. But Bradley hasn't heard anything.

"You always want to know where you can go to make arrangements. Got to get an apartment or something," Bradley said, smiling.

In Portland, Bradley stayed with a host family. Maybe a family in Boston will take him in?

"Why not? I'll sleep on the couch," he said.

• • •

Ryan Flaherty is in a battle to make the Orioles major league team. And while Flaherty, the pride of Portland, showed his versatility by playing both right field and shortstop, but he went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.

• • •

Jose Iglesias appears to have made the major league team because starting shortstop Stephen Drew is still recovering from a concussion (although Drew had a full workout in Fort Myers on Monday).

Iglesias has improved this spring, going 1-for-3 Monday for a .276 average. But Farrell said when Drew comes back, he moves right in as the starter.

"Oh yeah, that's his job," Farrell said. "Stephen was signed for that reason. A temporary injury situation is not going to alter that ?Not to take anything away from Jose. He's had a very good spring."

• • •

Jacoby Ellsbury took Monday off after rolling his right ankle on a pick-off play on Sunday. After another off day today, Farrell expects Ellsbury to be ready to go Wednesday.

• • •

Boston made three expected roster moves Monday, sending infielders Xander Bogaerts, Drew Sutton and Jonathan Diaz to minor league camp. Bogaerts is expected to join the Portland Sea Dogs, the team he finished with last season.

• • •

Reliever Chris Martin, who is expected to be back in Portland this year, entered Monday's game and pitched a scoreless eighth inning. He allowed two singles and struck out one.

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