SARASOTA, Fla. — Clay Buchholz has done everything he can to win a spot on the Boston Red Sox.
Buchholz threw six sharp innings and Boston rallied for a 2-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday. The right-hander allowed an unearned run and three hits, lowering his spring ERA to 0.46.
Buchholz was sent back to the minor leagues last season after going 2-9 with a 6.75 ERA in his second year with the Red Sox. Boston has since added veteran pitchers John Smoltz and Brad Penny.
“I’ve had a good spring,” Buchholz said. “I know they have their eye on someone else, but even if I’m at Pawtucket, I’m still pitching and I’m a phone call away.”
Buchholz’s errant pickoff attempt led to Jeff Keppinger’s RBI single in the sixth inning.
Cincinnati’s Johnny Cueto was even better, surrendering two hits in six scoreless innings. He struck out five and walked none.
“All my pitches were good,” Cueto said, with closer Francisco Cordero serving as an interpreter. “I used the fastball, slider and changeup for strikes.”
Reds manager Dusty Baker was impressed with Cueto’s control and efficiency. The right-hander threw 48 of his 69 pitches for strikes.
“Cueto threw a lot of quality pitches today,” Baker said. “We even had to send him to the bullpen to throw some more pitches. He only went 3-2 to one hitter.”
Cincinnati was bidding for its third consecutive shutout before minor-league infielder Aaron Reza hit a two-run double off Bill Bray in the ninth inning.
Notes: Boston OF J.D. Drew was in the lineup against the Reds. He missed three games with a contusion on his right hand after being hit by a pitch. “I had some good at bats,” Drew said. “I felt really good today.” … Reds 3B Edwin Encarnacion’s aching shoulder is better. He is expected to play Friday night against the New York Yankees. … Reds 2B Brandon Phillips and INF-OF Jerry Hairston Jr., who both had been sidelined with the flu, returned to camp. Hairston was the designated hitter in a minor league game, leading off every inning to get more at-bats. Both are expected to play Thursday night against Minnesota.
Red Sox sign RHP Cherry
FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Boston Red Sox have signed right-hander Rocky Cherry to a minor league contract.
The 29-year-old Cherry was 0-3 with a save and a 6.35 ERA in 18 relief appearances for the Baltimore Orioles last year. He spent most of the season at Triple-A Norfolk, where he was 0-1 with a 2.89 ERA in 28 relief appearances.
The team announced the move on Wednesday.
Pettitte throws to minor leaguers
TAMPA, Fla. — Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte threw 83 pitches over 5 1-3 innings in a minor league game on Wednesday.
Pettitte allowed five runs — one earned — and seven hits for Class-A Tampa against Philadelphia’s Clearwater team. All the runs came in the second, when Tampa committed three errors.
“I felt good with everything,” Pettitte said. “Obviously you always wish you could have a little better command sometimes. All in all, it was good. Got through it. Stretched me out.”
Pettitte struck out three and walked one. He had an aching left shoulder during the latter part of 2008, but has experienced no problems during spring training.
“It’s been great,” Pettitte said. “I didn’t think it was going to be a concern going into the season. I’m hoping that I worked hard enough that I shouldn’t have any problems.”
Pettitte went 14-14 with a 4.54 ERA in 33 starts last year.
In other news, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman again said he doesn’t expect injured third baseman Alex Rodriguez to rejoin the team before it breaks spring training camp next Wednesday. A-Rod, rehabbing in Vail, Colo. after right hip surgery on March 9, could move his workout program to the Yankees’ spring training complex in early April.
“It may be possible we would see him right before we leave, but I doubt it,” Cashman said. “I think he’ll get in here after we’ve departed Florida for New York.”
Rodriguez is working out in a pool, doing range of motion drills and lifting weights.
“He’s doing a lot of work,” Cashman said. “It’s going well.”
Cashman is pleased with the progress of catcher Jorge Posada, coming back following right shoulder surgery last July 30. Posada threw out Boston’s Jacoby Ellsbury at second on a stolen base attempt in Tuesday night’s 7-1 win over the Red Sox.
“This is exactly where we hoped to be,” Cashman said. “That was pretty significant surgery. He’s worked hard to get here.”
Notes: Ambidextrous pitcher Pat Venditte is expected to start the regular season with Class-A Charleston. He went 1-0 with 23 saves and an 0.83 ERA over 30 games in his first pro season last year at short-season Class-A Staten Island. “I’ve got a long way to go still,” Venditte said. “This year I want to develop more of a changeup from both sides and work that in there more. Maybe throw more fastballs from the left side. Improve my game as a whole, and take it season by season and just try to work my way up.” … Chinese LHP Kai Liu, signed by the Yankees in 2007, is set to start the season with the Yankees’ extended spring training team.