CLEARWATER, Fla. — Dustin Pedroia homered in his first at-bat — and that was all the evidence he needed.
“I feel good, ready to go,” Pedroia said after the Boston Red Sox’s 6-0 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday. “Today was a step forward, I hit the ball good.”
Red Sox starter Jon Lester looked ready for his opening-day start, too. He struck out 10 in in seven innings.
Pedroia’s home run off Joe Blanton was Pedroia’s second of the spring. With opening day just over a week away, the 2008 American League MVP said his bat is ready.
The 31-year-old Blanton, who missed the majority of the last season with an elbow injury, allowed five runs on seven hits in five innings.
After pitching five shutout innings in his first two starts of the spring, Blanton has given up eight runs in his last two games, a span of 10 innings.
“I threw a lot of fastballs up,” Blanton said of Monday’s effort.
When Philadelphia pitching coach Rich Dubee outlined his plans for the rotation for the regular season, he said that Roy Halladay would start opening day and Cliff Lee, Vance Worley and Cole Hamels would follow. He didn’t have an immediate plan for Blanton, who figures to be the rotation’s fifth starter.
“No idea – he hasn’t said anything to me,” said Blanton, who could start the season in the bullpen since the Phillies have two days off in the season’s first week. “I don’t know. I don’t pay any attention. I’m just going in, getting my work in.”
Lester held the Phillies to two hits and didn’t walk a batter.
The 28-year-old Lester will pitch one more time before taking the ball for the Red Sox on April 5 at Detroit.
“Just pitch, that’s the biggest thing,” Lester said of what he had left to do to prepare. “Just pitch, get innings, get runners on base and work on stuff like that. That’s always been the biggest thing. Just pitch.”
The Phillies were shut out for the fourth time in 23 spring exhibition games. With All-Star infielders Ryan Howard and Chase Utley out of the lineup and expected to begin the season on the disabled list, the short-handed Phillies lineup managed just three hits.
NOTES: Philadelphia LHP Lee will make his fifth start of the spring when the Phillies host the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday. Lee has 16 strikeouts in 15 2-3 innings. . Phillies RHP Justin De Fratus will throw off a mound for the first time this spring on Tuesday. De Fratus was held back in camp after experiencing elbow soreness while playing long-toss in January. . Boston third baseman Kevin Youkilis stayed in Fort Myers to play in a minor league game. Youkilis missed Sunday’s game with a sore back, but is expected back in the Red Sox lineup on Tuesday.