FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — Mike Napoli hit a solo homer, his fourth of the spring, to help the Boston Red Sox defeat the Minnesota Twins 4-0 on Friday.
The Red Sox gave Grady Sizemore the day off after telling the oft-injured three-time All-Star that he will be their starting center field on opening day. He has had seven operations since 2009 and has not played since 2011. He is hitting .333 (13 for 39) with one home run and two RBIs, and he is expected to play Saturday in Boston’s spring finale, also against Minnesota.
“He’s going to be a good addition,” Napoli said of Sizemore. “He’s like everyone else in this clubhouse. He works hard. He loves the game. He fits in well here. We expect him to go out there and play good baseball.”
Napoli homered off of Twins starter Phil Hughes, and the ball landed on the grass-covered berm in left field.
“I got behind him a little bit,” Hughes said. “He put his head down and hit it. It’s one of those things. It’s spring training.”
Red Sox: Felix Doubront made the most of his final spring training start, striking out seven and giving up two walks and seven hits in five innings. He lowered his spring ERA from 9.64 to 7.11 in five appearances.
“I have met my goals,” Doubront said. “I have the mentality set to start the season. It was a better start than the last one. In spring training, I figured out a lot of things.”
Red Sox manager John Farrell said he noticed the improvement.
“I thought he used his cutter a little bit more today than he has pretty much all spring,” Farrell said. “We saw some pitching power. It was a good way to finish camp.”
Twins: Hughes, in his fifth and final start of his first spring training with the Twins, gave up four runs on four hits and struck out two in 5 1-3 innings. He finished with a 4.74 ERA.
“The ball’s coming out of his hand real good,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “His velocity is good. His arm strength is good.”
Hughes, who signed a three-year, $24 million deal after spending the previous seven years with the New York Yankees, said he has grown acclimated to his new team.
“It went well,” Hughes said of spring training in general. “It wasn’t as drastic as I thought. I had no idea what I was coming into. The first couple of days were a little weird. Once I learned the lay of the land, things went really well. Everyone’s been great. They have welcomed me with open arms.”
RESERVES STEP UP
Red Sox reserve Mike Carp started at first base and had two hits with an RBI and two runs scored.
Twins reserve Jason Bartlett, who made the roster despite a spring-long slump, started in right field and led off with a single. He went 1 for 5, which raised his spring batting average from .083 to .098 (4 for 41).
Red Sox: Shane Victorino, who has been slowed by pain on his left side, started in center field for the Red Sox and went 1 for 4.
Twins reliever Samuel Deduno struck out five in two shutout innings. He has a spring ERA of 1.76.
“He might be a guy that we run out there in the sixth inning, and he might be able to finish a game,” Gardenhire said. “He can get out of innings in a heartbeat. He brings us another look, which was something we wanted. Putting him out there is kind of fun. He might walk some guys, but then he might strike the next three out. He’s a power guy. He’s hard to hit.”
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