May 24, 2018
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Twins’ Pelfrey shuts down Red Sox

By The Sports Xchange, Special to the BDN

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Minnesota righthander Mike Pelfrey pitched three shutout innings to propel the Twins by the Boston Red Sox 2-0 in a spring training game Friday night.

Pelfrey, in his first season with the Twins, allowed two hits and struck out five at JetBlue Park.

“I had a really good sinker tonight,” said Pelfrey on the Red Sox website. “I think I should’ve realized that earlier. I think it was all I threw in the second and third inning. It was really good tonight, and I think I can have days like that where it’s my strength and I can throw it 90-95 times.”

New Red Sox starter Ryan Dempster allowed five hits and two runs in 3 2/3 innings while not walking a batter and striking out two. The righthander has not walked a batter in three exhibition starts.

“I feel really good,” Dempster said on the Red Sox website. “That just comes with me trying to repeat it as much as I can on the side, and obviously in the game. I just feel like even behind the count I can make a pitch where I want to throw it, or get softer contact.”

Aaron Hicks had a hit and scored a run for the Twins while Ryan Doumit chipped in with two hits.

Jacoby Ellsbury, Ryan Sweeney and Jonny Gomes had a hit apiece for the Red Sox.

Lefthander Felix Doubront will start for Boston at 7:05 p.m. Saturday against the Orioles. It will be his second spring training start.

Red Sox notebook

— OF Jackie Bradley continues to wow with his defensive instincts and has gotten some time in right field, even though he’s a center fielder by trade. He impressed the coaching staff Thursday against the Twins by signaling his fellow outfielders to shift toward right on a 1-2 pitch against overmatched Twins hitter Brian Dozier, assuming Dozier would take a defensive swing and not pull the ball against hard-throwing RHP Allen Webster. Dozier hit a shallow flair that Bradley was perfectly positioned to catch in right.

— RHP Rubby De La Rosa, who recently discovered he is a distant cousin of Red Sox great Pedro Martinez, appears to have some of Martinez’s magic in his right arm. Throwing 100 mph with a devastating changeup, De La Rosa is making the Sox look like winners in the deal that sent Adrian Gonzalez and others to the Dodgers.”He’s got electric stuff,” 2B Dustin Pedroia told the Boston Herald. “We’re glad to have him. You can never have enough pitching, and it’s pretty exciting, the guys we got in that trade. They’ve got some great stuff. Getting young talent like that, especially pitching, those are prized pieces. This will be huge for our team.”

— Left-handed relief figured to be an area of strength, but with Craig Breslow and Franklin Morales unable to pitch for the first month of camp, that leaves Andrew Miller as the sole healthy southpaw.

MLB notes

— New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter has declared himself ready to play now that his broken left ankle is “100 percent healed.”

“We move forward,” Jeter said Friday at the Yankees’ spring-training complex in Tampa, Fla., after he batted against left-hander Andy Pettitte in a simulated game.

The next step is to play a spring-training game. Manager Joe Girardi has said Jeter would start as a designed hitter and likely be limited to two at-bats initially.

“As soon as I can play, I will play,” Jeter said.

His first action could come this weekend or Monday.

The 38-year-old Jeter suffered a dislocated ankle in Game 1 of the American League Championship series in October. After he underwent surgery, the ankle was immobilized for much of the offseason.

On Thursday, he had a checkup that confirmed the ankle is fully healed.

“It is always reassuring to have someone say that something that was broke is not broken anymore,” Jeter said. “Now, it is just getting through the normal aches and pains that come around it. As long as you know a break has healed, the aches and pains go away in time.”

— Tigers manager Jim Leyland is working on a one-year contract and he’s 68 years old, but he has no plans to retire after this season, regardless of whether the Tigers win the World Series,’s Jason Beck reported.

“I’m not retiring, whether we win or we don’t win,” Leyland said Friday. “Now, I mean, (the front office) might have different thoughts, but it won’t be mine.”

He likes to sign one-year extensions so neither he nor the Tigers feel obligated to a contract.

“I mean, I have no intention of retiring,” Leyland said. “I feel good. I like what I’m doing. I have absolutely no intention of retiring.”

He didn’t think seriously about retiring if the Tigers had won the World Series last season.

“A lot of people said, ‘Well, if you won last year, would you have retired?’ No, I would not have,” Leyland said. “That was never in the plan. I don’t have any plan on retiring anytime soon, but that could very easily change with how the club does and how (team president/general manager) Dave (Dombrowski) and Mr. (Mike) Ilitch (the team’s owner) feel.”

— Bruce Bochy didn’t take long to set his 2013 rotation. Tentatively, at least. It’s not much different from 2012. Same five guys, just a bit of a change in the order.

Barry Zito isn’t the No. 5 starter.

Ryan Vogelsong is.

Say what?

Vogelsong won 14 games last year, 27 over the past two years. He was picked as a starter for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic.

Fact is, Bochy doesn’t perceive Vogelsong as a No. 5 starter. While the manager didn’t fully explain why Vogelsong is fifth, two things are clear: Bochy wants to reward Barry Zito for his 2012 performance, so he made Zito the No. 4 starter, meaning he’ll pitch the home opener. Also, Bochy didn’t want to bury Tim Lincecum at the bottom of the rotation and, therefore, made him No. 3.

Matt Cain will throw the season opener at Dodger Stadium on April 1, and lefty Madison Bumgarner will pitch the second game.

As to the alignment, Bochy said, “I don’t want these guys to get caught in it, and I don’t want to send that message either. At the end of the year, if they’re all healthy, knock on wood, they’ll all have the same number of starts.”

With the Giants down 3-1 in the NL Championship Series, Zito beat the Cardinals in Game 5, beginning a momentous comeback. The lefty also beat the Tigers in Game 1 of the World Series.

In the regular season, Zito posted his first winning record as a Giant. It was the sixth year of his seven-year, $126 million contract.

His first start would be against … St. Louis.

“It’s going to be exciting to be there. It’s going to be a great vibe there,” Zito said. “Pitching against the Cardinals is going to be great, coming off last year.”

— The eventuality the St. Louis Cardinals had to consider all winter became their reality Thursday when the club and Rafael Furcal surrendered to surgery that will repair the shortstop’s elbow but probably cost him the entire season.

Furcal will have Tommy John surgery sometime next week to replace the torn ligament in his throwing arm, an injury that happened in late August but persisted as a reason he could not throw at full strength and without pain this spring.

The Cardinals turn again to Pete Kozma as the immediate replacement ?while general manager John Mozeliak left open the possibility of looking outside the organization if necessary.

“I think going into this we always knew this was a plausible outcome,” Mozeliak said. “Having said that, when you think about all of the things that could have been done this offseason there was never really an opportunity that was going to make the impact that changed how we were looking. … There was a high level of confidence with what we had in place.”

Furcal, 35, met with Dr. James Andrews on Wednesday in Pensacola, Fla., and was presented with at least two options to attack the ache in his elbow.

Furcal explained that Andrews could remove the bone spur in the right elbow and Furcal could attempt a return within a few months. Or, Furcal could have the torn ligament replaced and miss six months or more. He said surgery was presented as the solution if he wanted to play beyond this season, his last under contract with the Cards.


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