Kevin Gray's Spring Training Notebook: Kudos go to the Wright knuckler
Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey wasn't the most impressive knuckleballer on the mound as the Blue Jays hosted the Red Sox at Florida Exchange Stadium in Dunedin, Fla., on Monday. Red Sox minor leaguer Steven Wright, who made one start for the Sea Dogs last season, unveiled his knuckler at big-league spring training by working two scoreless innings and striking out three in Boston's 4-2 win.
The Red Sox pinned the loss on Dickey, who gave up two runs in his first appearance in a Blue Jays uniform. Sox prospect Jackie Bradley, Jr., went 3-for-3 in a game that featured nine ex-members of the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats playing for the Blue Jays, including southpaw Sean Nolin. Nolin, John Stilson and Chad Beck each pitched a scoreless inning of relief.
Wright, a former farmhand with the Indians, pitched against the Fisher Cats as a member of the Akron Aeros in 2011. In one game at Manchester, Travis d'Arnaud and Mike McDade each homered off the knuckleballer to power the Fisher Cats to a 7-1 victory.
The Blue Jays picked up former Red Sox first baseman Lars Anderson on Monday, claiming the lefty slugger off waivers from the White Sox. Anderson, a career .272 hitter with 76 homers in the minors, was never given much big-league opportunity with Boston. The Jays had been needing additional pop at first base since the loss of ex-Fisher Cats All-Star David Cooper (chronic back pain), who is expected to miss several weeks. The Jays placed right-hander Kyle Drabek on the 60-day disabled list in order to make room for Anderson on the 40-man roster. Drabek, returning from Tommy John surgery, will miss at least three months of the regular season.
Red Sox manager John Farrell, who spent two years managing the Blue Jays, was booed by Jays fans during pregame introductions. Farrell, technically, was traded to the Red Sox in exchange for infielder Mike Aviles in the unusual off-season deal. Many Blue Jays fans aren't happy about the departure of Farrell, who was released from the final year of his contract in Toronto.
"I appreciate that people might have differing opinions," Farrell said at mlb.com. "All I can do is go about my work day in and day out. People are going to form their own impressions. I can't control that. I thoroughly enjoyed the time there."
GRAPEFRUIT SEEDS: At Port Charlotte, Salem High graduate Terry Doyle worked two innings for the Red Sox in a 6-3 victory for the Rays. Doyle surrendered a Cole Figueroa double and allowed an earned run in the seventh inning, but he was encouraged by his command and velocity.
"I felt good. Velo was up from normal, especially for this early in the spring. I've got to make sure I'm not overthrowing and staying on top of the ball to get down in the zone more," Doyle said.
Durham's Sam Fuld has appeared in two spring games for the Rays, going 0-for-5 with two strikeouts. Fuld successfully returned from wrist surgery (sheath tendon) last season and batted .255.
"I feel great and healthy, and I don't have this lingering injury in the back of my mind. That makes a world of difference. Spending the whole off-season and knowing I don't have to worry about my wrist, it's a nice feeling. It's awesome to get going here," said Fuld, who had surgery last April.
The versatile outfielder is in position to earn a spot on the 25-man roster.
"Last year was the first time I'd ever missed any significant time," Fuld said at mlb.com. "I'm optimistic that I'll be healthy and have a good opportunity to play."