Boston starter Ryan Dempster made his Grapefruit League debut against a familiar foe. He has appeared in 49 career games against the Cardinals, more than any other active pitcher.
Signed as a free agent in the offseason, he pitched two hitless innings and struck out two. He threw 33 pitches, 24 for strikes. The only runner against him was Oscar Tavares, who reached on an error by second baseman Jonathan Diaz.
“Things went good,” Dempster said. “Felt like body and arm felt good. Was able to attack the strike zone for the most part. Good first day.”
Red Sox manager John Farrell enjoyed Dempster’s outing.
“He threw the ball well, established his fastball, showed a good split against righties and lefties both,” Farrell said. “Went out and did exactly what we hoped he’d do in two innings of work.”
“He was clean. Did a good job of controlling the running game. I thought he threw the ball very well for his first outing in camp,” he said.
Red Sox reliever Clayton Mortensen took the loss, allowing three runs on two hits and two walks in two innings. Tony Cruz hit a three-run double with two outs in the third.
“I thought he threw the ball better than the line shows,” Farrell said.
Matt Adams, who had been slowed by tendinitis in his knee, had a two-run, pinch-hit homer for the Cardinals. He later drew a bases-loaded walk.
“He’s got big-time power,” Matheny said. “He’s got a pretty good idea of the strike zone and a pretty good idea of his swing and he repeats it.”
NOTES: Red Sox RHP Clay Buchholz, who had been slowed by a right hamstring strain on the first day of official workouts for pitchers and catchers, threw a two-inning, 40-pitch simulated game yesterday morning. He is expected to start Saturday against the Twins. ... Boston 1B Mike Napoli is expected to get into his first game on Friday when the Red Sox host the Pirates. Napoli, who joined Boston as a free agent this offseason, is being brought along slowly this after his team physical revealed he has avascular necrosis in both hips. ... Farrell didn’t rule out the possibility of Bradley, one of Boston’s top prospects, making the team out of spring training. Bradley, who was promoted to Double-A during the season last year, will get some games in right field when Shane Victorino leaves for the World Baseball Classic. ... Switch-hitting SS Rafael Furcal reported he felt fine after taking some swings left-handed on Monday. Furcal, who tore a ligament in his right elbow last season and has been bothered by a bone spur this spring, received an anti-inflammatory injection in the joint on Friday. He said he could get into a game this weekend for the Cardinals.