FORT MYERS, Fla. — Red Sox lefthander Felix Doubront started his first spring training game Monday in Boston’s 5-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays at JetBlue Park.
Doubront has been battling shoulder weakness this spring but pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings against the Rays, giving up a hit and a walk while striking out two.
Boston rested most of its starters on Monday and were paced by Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jonny Gomes, who each had two hits. Saltalamacchia was back behind the plate for the first time in five days after experiencing back stiffness while Gomes has been out of the lineup since Wednesday due to a knee injury.
Jose Iglesias contributed two doubles for the Red Sox and Pedro Ciriaco added an RBI single.
Red Sox manager John Farrell told the Red Sox website that Iglesias is showing more consistency.
“They are aggressive swings, solid contact,” said Farrell. “He looks pretty confident at the plate right now.”
For Tampa Bay, Jeremy Hellickson gave up two hits and a run while not walking a batter and striking out four in three innings. Jeff Niemann gave up three hits and a run in 2 2/3 innings
On Tuesday at 7:05 p.m., Boston righthander John Lackey will get his third spring training start when the Red Sox play Team Puerto Rico at JetBlue Park.
Dodgers’ Crawford still sidelined
Carl Crawford’s bloated contract was one of the things the Los Angeles Dodgers had to take on in order to land first baseman Adrian Gonzalez in last Augusts’ blockbuster trade with the Boston Red Sox. But they hoped Crawford would rebound from wrist and elbow surgeries well enough to fill two problem spots for them — left field and leadoff.
Last year, nine different players started in left field for the Dodgers at least once (none more than 48 times) and, as a group, posted a .674 OPS that ranked 24th in the majors. Leadoff was even more of a problem. The Dodgers’ 2012 leadoff hitters batted a combined .226 with a .281 on-base percentage, both 29th in the majors.
It looks now like those problems will follow the Dodgers at least into the start of the 2013 season. Midway through spring training, Crawford experienced a setback in his recovery from Tommy John surgery and had to be shutdown from throwing or hitting for at least a week. After taking live batting practice (against a minor-league pitcher) just once, Crawford suffered nerve irritation in his left forearm. It now looks unlikely that he will be ready to open the season on time.
“It’s still a goal of mine,” Crawford said of playing on Opening Day. “If we have to push it back a week or whatever, I understand.
“It’s frustrating but I know it’s for my own good. I just have to be patient.”
If Crawford is unavailable, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly has indicated he would most likely go with a platoon of Jerry Hairston Jr. and Skip Schumaker in left field and some combination of players including Schumaker and Mark Ellis at leadoff. But 22-year-old Cuban prospect Yasiel Puig has made a positive early impression in spring camp. The Dodgers could be tempted to jump him from Class A to the majors and see how his raw skills translate at the big-league level for a short stretch.