Red Sox newcomer Chris Sale tunes up for spring debut
Even a spring tuneup for Chris Sale drew a nice crowd.
The Boston newcomer threw a two-inning simulated game Wednesday morning in preparation for his first spring training action, saying ''everything is going as planned.''
Sale stayed at camp in Fort Myers, Florida, while the Red Sox traveled to Sarasota to face the Orioles. The lefty ace faced teammates Dan Butler and Steve Selsky, with catcher Sandy Leon behind the plate and fellow pitchers David Price and Steven Wright watching from the third base dugout.
Sale then threw to three additional batters as pitching coach Carl Willis, vice president of pitching development and assistant pitching coach Brian Bannister looked on along with former Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield.
''Felt good,'' Sale said. ''Today was a good work day. Great to pitch on the game mound with no screen. Everything went well.''
Acquired Dec. 6 from the retooling Chicago White Sox for four top prospects, Sale threw 38 pitches. There was some solid contact in the first inning, when Butler lined what would have been a single to center.
''Threw all of my pitches,'' Sale said. ''In the second inning focusing mostly on fastball/changeup. Those are my feel pitches, so I just wanted to throw those more, just for repetition.''`
Sale is slated to start Monday against Houston in West Palm Beach.
''I think I was ready on Dec. 7,'' Sale said. ''I've been preparing for this, so I'm feeling good.''
The left-hander, who turns 28 on March 30, is part of a rotation that includes reigning AL Cy Young winner Rick Porcello and Price, who won the prize in 2012.
''Now we're starting to playing real baseball and not throwing off the side mounds or simulated games,'' Sale said. ''I'm excited. It will be fun.''
He has never pitched in the postseason. The Red Sox, swept by Cleveland in the AL Division Series last year, hope to win their fourth World Series title since 2003.
''I have expectations for myself wherever I am or whatever year it is,'' Sale said. ''I've been like that at a young age. I demand a lot of myself at a high level. If I don't meet those expectations, there's nobody more upset than I am. For right now, just putting in the work to get to the promised land.''
AROUND THE GRAPEFRUIT AND CACTUS LEAGUES
PIRATES 3, TWINS 1
Joe Mauer made his spring debut for the Twins and was hit by a pitch from Josh Lindblom his first time up. Mauer also walked and struck out.
Lindblom, who spent the last two seasons in Korea, started for Pittsburgh and pitched two scoreless innings. John Jaso had two hits for the Pirates, including a home run.
Minnesota starter Kyle Gibson, who overhauled his delivery in the offseason and said his slider was ''pretty bad,'' lasted less than two innings, giving up two runs on six hits.
CARDINALS 6, METS 1
St. Louis starter Carlos Martinez allowed only one hit over three innings. Randal Grichuk homered, doubled and drove in four runs.
Cardinals prospect Luke Weaver got two outs before exiting with back spasms.
Highly touted Amed Rosario had two hits for the Mets. Michael Conforto kept up his strong spring with another two-hit game.
PHILLIES 5, RAYS 5, 9 INNINGS
Jesus Sucre, acquired this month from the Mariners, hit a two run-run homer for Tampa Bay. Starter Jake Odorizzi opened with two scoreless innings.
Aaron Altherr, who missed the start of last season after a spring training injury, hit a bases-loaded triple and double, a day after homering. Philadelphia starter Vince Velasquez threw two shutout innings.
TIGERS (ss) 5, BLUE JAYS 4
Michael Fulmer struck out three in two scoreless innings and James McCann had two hits and drove in two runs for Detroit.
Dalton Pompey homered in his first spring game for Toronto and Kevin Pillar had two hits. Blue Jays star Josh Donaldson took batting practice for the first time since straining his right calf on Feb. 17.
NATIONALS 9, TIGERS (ss) 1
Joe Ross got off to a nice start for Washington by retiring six of seven batters, including Ian Kinsler, Victor Martinez and Miguel Cabrera in order in the first.
A day after hitting a game-ending homer, Michael A. Taylor hit another home run and drove in three for the Nationals.
Detroit starter Mike Pelfrey allowed two runs in 1 2/3 innings.
ORIOLES 12, RED SOX 5
Adam Jones hit two homers and drove in three runs and Orioles starter Dylan Bundy gave up one earned run in two innings.
Boston's Andrew Benintendi hit a two-run homer.
MARLINS 9, ASTROS 5
Christian Yelich homered and Miguel Rojas' three-run shot ended the day for Houston starter Chris Devenski with one out in the second inning.
Marlins starter Tom Koehler pitched two innings and allowed one run. Houston's Carlos Correa had a double and a walk.