The Red Sox played their first “real” games of the spring on Thursday taking on the Northeastern Huskies and the Boston College Eagles in a doubleheader at JetBlue Park. The first game featured a major league lineup, while the second game was more of a minor league affair. The Red Sox took both games – 3-0 over Northeastern and 11-1 over BC.
Here are three things we learned Thursday:
Bard off to good start
One of the biggest questions going into this spring was how reliever Daniel Bard would bounce back from last season. Making his first appearance of the spring, Bard made a nice first step in getting back to his 2010 and 2011 form. Pitching one inning, the second, he struck out the side after allowing a single to Connor Lyons, the first hitter he faced.
In all, Bard threw 18 pitches, 13 for strikes. He struggled with his command early on, especially with his fastball, which was around 94-95 MPH. Fortunately, his slider was working and he was able to use that to his advantage generating three strikeouts. It was a step in the right direction for Bard whose next appearance is scheduled for Monday in Port Charlotte against the Rays.
Red Sox future appears to be in good hands
Many of the Red Sox' top prospects shined in Game 2 of the doubleheader in the 11-1 rout of the Eagles, dominated by an eight-run third inning. Catcher Dan Butler homered in that third inning, which also included an RBI double by Jackie Bradley Jr. and a two-run single by Mauro Gomez.
Gomez, who saw some time with the big league club last year, paced the offense going 3-for-3 with a double and two RBIs. Bradley Jr. had a solid all-around game, going 1-for-3, nearly missing a home run as his double hit the base of the wall in left-center.
Shortstop Xander Bogaerts made his debut at third base, handling both balls that were hit his way and went 1-for-4 at the plate with a double. The Sox don’t have any plans to move the 20-year-old to third base, but he will be manning the hot corner for the Dutch in the upcoming World Baseball Classic as current Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons will get the nod at short.
Napoli and Ortiz sit, Napoli closer to playing than Ortiz
Game 1 featured what is assumed to be the opening day lineup, minus David Ortiz and Mike Napoli. Jarrod Saltalamacchia was the designated hitter with David Ross behind the plate, while Lyle Overbay was at first base.
According to manager John Farrell, Napoli (hip) will begin running the bases next week and could see at-bats in games as early as late next week. The newly acquired first baseman has been taking grounders at first and has looked quite good.
Ortiz is still not yet 100 percent from his Achilles injury suffered last July. Farrell didn’t seem overly concerned with Ortiz, but did say he expects Napoli to return before Ortiz.
Follow Metro Boston's Red Sox beat writer Ryan Hannable on Twitter @hannable84.