FORT MYERS, Fla. — Clay Buchholz is in line to start the second game of the regular season for the Red Sox, a night game in New York April 3. So maybe he benefited from some unusual spring training weather Saturday.
It was 57 degrees, overcast, and windy as the Red Sox faced the Minnesota Twins, a scant 15 degrees warmer than what it was in Boston.
“It was a little bit cooler than I thought it was,” Buchholz said after a 2-1 victory at Hammond Stadium. “When that wind started blowing, it felt like it was going through me. You’ve got to get used to it at some point, you might as well make it down here.”
Then Buchholz paused, realizing that New Englanders with snow piles in their yards might take his words the wrong way.
“Nobody take it as a complaint,” he said. “I’m not complaining about the weather here. It’s been really good for the most part. But woke up this morning and it was a little different.”
Buchholz didn’t allow a run over his 1⅓ innings but threw 40 pitches, 22 of them strikes. He allowed one hit, walked two, and struck out two.
The most important aspect of his outing was that he felt fine after missing a start while recovering from a strained right hamstring. Buchholz used all of his pitches and said he felt stronger in the second inning.
“It was good to get out there, I felt good,” he said. “I was a little amped up at the beginning and was leaving some pitches up in the zone and lost a couple of hitters in some counts where you’d like to either let them get themselves out or put them away.”
Said manager John Farrell, “With repetition, sharpness will come.”
Ortiz on the run
David Ortiz has started base-running drills and is expected to make his spring debut by the end of the week.
Ortiz has been going through a laborious rehabilitation after straining his right Achilles’ tendon last July. The 37-year-old designated hitter also missed three days of workouts to attend to a personal matter in the Dominican Republic. He returned Friday night.
“His protocol [now] will turn all to baseball activities,” Farrell said. “It’s all on field. We don’t have a hard date, but still looking at the end of this upcoming week that he’d be in games.”
Yankees in town
The Red Sox will play the first of their two exhibition games against the Yankees Sunday afternoon at JetBlue Park. Ryan Dempster is scheduled for three innings against a New York team that is expected to include only a few major leaguers.
Brett Gardner, Eduardo Nunez, Juan Rivera, and Austin Romine are the only notable players on the travel roster for the battered Yankees, who will start righthander Adam Warren.
Xander Bogaerts started at third base and batted sixth for the Netherlands in a 5-0 upset of South Korea in the World Baseball Classic. The game was played in Taiwan.
Bogaerts, 20, was 0 for 2 with a walk and a sacrifice. He also made some nice plays at third base, grabbing a line drive and starting a double play.
Farrell and some other Red Sox coaches were following the game when Bogaerts came to the plate in the second inning with a runner on second and no outs. He bunted the runner over, and a sacrifice fly followed.
“I think there were some that were wanting to see him swing the bat,” Farrell said.
The Red Sox are getting direct reports on Bogaerts from their European scout, Brian Farley, a member of the Netherlands baseball federation. The Netherlands plays Taiwan Sunday.
Lefthanded reliever Ryan Rowland-Smith, who signed a minor league contract with the Sox, is playing for Australia. The Aussies were beaten Saturday by Chinese Taipei, 4-1, with Rowland-Smith facing one batter and striking him out.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia has not played since Wednesday because of lower back stiffness. “I want to play. I think they’re just being careful,” the catcher said. “I went through way worse last year.” Saltalamacchia could play Sunday against the Yankees . . . Lefthander Franklin Morales also is dealing with lower-back issues. His next appearance has not been scheduled . . . Jonny Gomes is sitting out a few days because of a cut on his knee that required three stitches. He has complained about the time off, but the Sox want him to heal a bit first . . . Righthanded reliever Pedro Beato has some shoulder stiffness . . . Will Middlebrooks returned to the lineup after missing two games with the pain he felt in his right wrist after a check swing Wednesday. He was 0 for 3 but made contact twice and, most important, felt fine physically.
File this away: Farrell said he has “become a fan of” safety squeeze bunts with runners on first and third and the batter facing a pitcher he hasn’t had much success against. “There’s an out and there’s a productive out, in my mind,” said Farrell. “That’s when you begin to weigh that option late in the game or at some point in the game.” . . . Daniel Bard, who last pitched last Monday, worked in the bullpen with pitching coach Juan Nieves, part of a weeklong effort to improve his mechanics. He is scheduled to pitch an inning Monday.