FORT MYERS, Fla. — Boston’s bullpen could get a little extra work during Clay Buchholz’s first couple of starts this season.
Buchholz pitched four innings of one-hit ball as the Red Sox played a 1-1 tie against the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday, and manager Terry Francona said the right-hander’s abbreviated work this spring could lead to some shorter outings early on.
Buchholz, who allowed one run, struck out three and walked two in his final exhibition start, did not pitch more than four innings in any of his spring games.
“Because of the way things went this spring, he’s probably one up and down behind everybody else,” Francona said. “We kind of wanted to let him go back out but his pitch count was pretty high. So in his first outing or his first couple of innings, you might see him an inning short.
“I hope it doesn’t cost us anywhere. But it’s an awfully long year. But he’s healthy and he looks great. I just think he’s been about one inning behind the rest of the guys.”
This one went much better than Buchholz’s previous outing, when he gave up 11 runs, six earned, and 11 hits over four innings in a 15-7 loss to Florida.
“It was good,” he said. “I felt as good physically as I did the other day. But things went a little bit better. I think I was down in the zone a little bit more, made some better pitches in some key situations. I felt like I was out there for a while, had a couple at-bats where (I) threw some good pitches they laid off of, fouled off a couple of good pitches, got deep in the count.
“A lot of those guys are going to be guys that we see when we face that team so I got some good looks at some good hitters and that’s what I went out there for.”
Rays righthander Wade Davis also pitched four effective innings, yielding one run on Adrian Gonzalez’s second spring homer and five hits. He struck out one and walked one.
“Really good,” manager Joe Maddon said of Davis’ performance. “I like what he’s done with his delivery — a lot more consistent, a lot more compact. I think he’s gained better rhythm and tempo from that. I think he looks really good.”
For Davis, knowing that he has a spot in the rotation has made a difference to his approach this spring.
“As far as just being able to throw everything in a position where I want to direction-wise and being able to use everything how I want to and not guessing, I’m in a better place mentally in being able to do that,” he said.
It likely was Boston’s final home game at City of Palms Park, its spring training home since 1993. The Red Sox expect to move into a new facility in Lee County next year.
“I think we’d be a little more sentimental if we were leaving town,” Francona said. “I think we’re all glad we’re staying here. I think we’re also very appreciative that we get to go into a state of the art facility where we can probably get our work done a little bit better and have our minor league complex together.”
Boston left immediately after the game to travel to Houston for an exhibition game against the Astros on Wednesday night.