Legends On Deck

Red Sox Win First Of Two Game Home And Home Series With Rays

The Boston Red Sox brought most of their projected starters to Port Charlotte on Saturday and came away with a 9-6 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays at Charlotte Sports Park. The Rays head south to play the Red Sox on Sunday at jetBlue Park in the second of a home and home series.

Charlotte Sports Park

Charlotte Sports Park

Knockleballer Steven Wright pitched 3 2/3 innings, allowing five unearned runs on five hits. He threw 72 pitches.

Mike Napoli hit a two run home run in the 3rd inning off Rays starter and loser Nathan Karns. It was Napoli’s 3rd homer of the spring.

The victory capped off a busy week for the Red Sox, who made two long road trips to play National League East Division teams, losing to the Miami Marlins 9-4 on Tuesday in Jupiter and dropping a rain shortened game to the Atlanta Braves on Friday 4-2 at Disney’s ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex.

In Friday’s loss,  Boston’s opening day starter Clay Buchholz took the loss, pitching 5 innings, allowing 4 runs on 12 hits, including a home run to Kelly Johnson on his 91 st and last pitch of the day.

Outfielder Rusney Castillo, bidding for a roster spot, hit his second home run of the spring in a walk off win against the Minnesota Twins at jetBlue Park Thursday.

Earlier in the week, in a game that was eventually rained out, (therefore the statistics did not officially count) Rick Porcello pitched five innings against a lineup of mostly St. Louis Cardinals regulars and struck out five. Porcello projects as the number two starter in Boston’s rotation.

Elsewhere in Sox news, former Tampa Bay Buccaneers player Brandon Magee reported to Boston’s minor league camp. He had been drafted by the Red Sox as were fellow football players Jeff Driskel and Shaq Thompson, but opted for the NFL. After Tampa Bay cut Magee last week in a salary cap move, Magee decided to try his hand at baseball.

Driskel never reported to the Red Sox after being drafted, electing to stay at the University of Florida where he started at quarterback. He still has the option to play with Boston if he so chooses.

Thompson played a year of minor league ball in the Red Sox system after he was drafted in June 2012, but left early to play football at the University of Washington. Thompson is projected to be a fairly high choice in next month’s NFL Draft. The Minnesota Vikings are said to be a front runner for Thompson’s services.

The Red Sox released a number of minor league players this past week including pitchers Willie Ethington, Deryk Hooker and K.J. Trader, catcher Simon Gravel, and outfielder Kendrick Perkins. One time Braves and Cardinals closer Mitchell Boggs was also released last week.

The Red Sox begin their final week of spring training games and play Tampa Bay and Minnesota almost exclusively, except for a Wednesday split squad game at jetBlue Park versus the Toronto Blue Jays.

Monday the Sox play a night game against the Twins at jetBlue at 7:05. On Tuesday, Boston has a return trip to Port Charlotte for their final game of the spring against the Rays. In addition to Wednesday’s game against the Blue Jays, the Red Sox also send a split squad team to Hammond Stadium, six miles away to play the Twins in the first of four consecutive games against Minnesota to end the 2015 exhibition schedule.

Thursday the Twins host the Red Sox in a night game at 7:05 and Boston returns the favor the next evening with another 7:05 game at jetBlue. Saturday ends the spring schedule for both teams as the Twins play host to the Red Sox at 1:05 PM.

Photo Of The Day:

media work area at the park

Media work area at the Charlotte Sports Park.

Brian Mullen

Brian is a Boston native and art school student who took a summer job with a baseball team and never left. He has been employed by the Boston Red Sox in one capacity or another since 1982. He also follows and blogs college basketball. Follow him on Twitter @BostonBrian2015