FORT MYERS, Fla. — Brad Penny offered his last audition for a spot in Boston’s regular season rotation. Francisco Liriano warmed up for his opening day start for Minnesota.
Penny gave up three runs and five hits in five innings for the Red Sox in a 7-3 loss to the Twins Thursday, while Liriano allowed one run and two hits in three innings.
Boston manager Terry Francona said Penny will probably be his fifth starter and take the mound April 12 against the Los Angeles Angels. He’ll pitch in a minor league game before then. Penny struck out three without a walk Thursday.
“He did what we wanted him to do,” Francona said. “We need to sit down and talk. That’s why I want to keep things open. Again, weather could get in the way.”
Penny was pleased.
“The arm strength is there. The velocity is there,” said Penny, whose 2008 season with the Los Angeles Dodgers was marred by shoulder trouble. “This whole camp, I’ve felt pretty good.”
Penny, who was competing with Clay Buchholz for the job, finished with a 3.75 ERA in three spring starts. Buchholz went 2-0 with a 2.52 ERA in six starts.
Liriano learned before the game he will start Monday for the Twins against the Seattle Mariners, after Scott Baker was placed on the 15-day disabled list with stiffness in his shoulder. Liriano struck out three and walked one in an abbreviated outing, because he’ll pitch in the opener on three days of rest.
He said he felt bad for Baker’s missed opportunity, but expressed excitement about the honor and hope for the season.
“Last year, it was difficult,” said Liriano, who was recovering from elbow surgery last season after missing all of 2007. “This year I’ve gotten all of my pitches to work. I’m not worried about it. It’s going to be good. My goal is just to stay healthy. That’s all I want.”
Michael Cuddyer started at first base instead of Justin Morneau, who is resting a sore back but is expected to return in time for opening day. Cuddyer went 2-for-2 with three RBIs, a triple and a run scored Thursday.
Notes: Jason Bay hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning off Twins reliever Brian Duensing. … Joe Crede, who returned three days after getting hit by a pitch on his knuckles, went 1-for-3 with an RBI for Minnesota. … Twins LF Delmon Young, who has been out with a sore right shoulder, is expected to play Friday. … The Red Sox broke camp and left Florida for New York, where they will face the Mets in exhibition games Friday and Saturday at new Citi Field before hosting the AL champion Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park on Monday.