PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. Before Thursdays game against the Rays in Port Charlotte, Carl Crawford said he was looking forward to the trip. It would give him a chance to see some old friends and former teammates in the organization that drafted him in the second round out of Jefferson Davis High in Houston in 1999. He was also looking forward to getting it out of the way.
After the game, an 8-6 Red Sox loss, Crawford acknowledged he was glad to have it behind him.
Yeah, he said. Just to see how it feels for the first time playing against your former team. Just wanted to get that feel and know what to kind of expect next time around. So, it was nice to get that out of the way.
Crawford, who went 1-for-3, spent some time before the game visiting with his former teammates and manager Joe Maddon.
They wished me well and I did the same for them, he said. Just got to move forward.
Its baseball when it comes down to it. Its the same game. I just try to make everything feel as normal as possible. So, it didnt feel too weird today.
Oscar Tejeda went 1-for-4 with a run scored, 2 RBI and a game-tying home run in the ninth inning. He is hitting .391 (9-for-23) in 12 games this spring with .696 slugging percentage and .440 on-base percentage. He entered the game tied for the Grapefruit League lead with two triples.
Mike Cameron, who had not played since March 5 with tendonitis in his left knee, served as the designated hitter, going 1-for-4 with a run scored. It was good just to put the bat on the ball, he said. I didnt know where I was going to be with that, after taking a few days off. A little bit out of sync, but for the most part I was seeing the ball well and able to put some good swings on it.
He is scheduled to play next on Saturday against the Marlins at City of Palms Park.
Nate Spears went 3-for-4 with a run scored, two RBI and a triple. In 10 Grapefruit League games he is hitting .381 (10-for-21).
Andrew Miller, the 6-feet, 7-inch lefty vying for a spot in the bullpen, went 1 13 scoreless innings, giving up one hit with one strikeout. It was a nice rebound from his two-inning stint Sunday against the Mets when he allowed three runs on four hits, including a home run, with one strikeout. I hope he understands how tough he can be to face, Terry Francona said. At times he looks like a left-handed Daniel Bard. Very tall, when he leverages the ball downhill, theres some giddy-up on the fastball. Hes got a nice feel for the breaking ball. Hes real interesting.
Said one scout in attendance: Miller threw hard, but got behind too many hitters especially when he first came in. He was helped by his defense, for example the Carl Crawford catch on Sam Fulds fly to end fourth. He was a little better in the fifth. He got Evan Longoria a little off balance with a changeup for the last out. He had better command in an earlier outing, but he threw fine.
The Red Sox have two split-squad games Friday, both on the road. Pitchers schedule to face the Twins at Hammond County Stadium are Jon Lester, Tim Wakefield, Hideki Okajima, Tony Pena, Alex Wilson, and Jason Rice. Pitchers scheduled to face the Astros in Kissimmee include Kyle Weiland, Dan Wheeler, Dennys Reyes, Rich Hill, Clevelan Santeliz, Michael Bowden, and Matt Albers. Bench coach DeMarlo Hale will manage the game against the Twins. Francona will travel to Kissimmee to face his former bench coach and current Astros manager Brad Mills. Dustin Pedroia is also expected to make the trip to Kissimmee.
Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia was out of camp Thursday morning for personal reasons. He and Jason Varitek are expected to catch in the game against the Twins.
Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp:twitter.commaureenamullen