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BLOGGING FROM THE FORT

Spring things: Advantage Adam

Hyzdu has the edge for final spot on Sox bench

FT. MYERS, Fla. -- The vaunted Red Sox offense, shut out on Saturday and an Adam Hyzdu home run away from being blanked again yesterday, has been spotty most of the spring, putting up long stretches of goose eggs for the offense-hungry fans at City of Palms Park.

The Sox haven't produced much offense since a 9-3 victory over the Cardinals last Wednesday. The wind was gusting out to left field that day at City of Bending Palms Park. Bill Mueller, Ramon Vazquez, Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz all went yard in the win.

Hyz-doing it again
Besides his shutout-saving homer on Sunday, Hyzdu made the catch of the spring for the Sox against the Cardinals on Wednesday. Hyzdu was shading catcher Einar Diaz to right center, and sprinted fully outstretched in mid-air and snared a rocket off Diaz's bat to save a would-be three-run triple. That the spectacular catch did not make ESPN's top 10 plays that day was a crime. Hyzdu completed the perfect inning by blasting a three-run bomb in the bottom of the sixth that put the Sox up 9-2 at the time. Hyzdu hit another three-run jack against the Pirates yesterday as his battle with George Lombard intensifies for the Sox' fifth outfielder slot.

Like Jay Payton, Lombard had some defensive struggles against the Cards. He dropped a couple of balls off his glove for back-to-back singles in the seventh inning, both times getting to the ball but failing to seal the deal. Lombard's strength continues to be his speed as no one gets up the first base line faster on the Sox roster.

Double trouble against the Marlins
He wasn't battling the flu, but David Wells went out to the mound with a "bad attitude" against the Marlins on Friday. Wells didn't look so good to start off the St. Paddy's Day make-up game, throwing a boatload of pitches in the first inning. He gave up three runs in the first, but finished strong with three shutout frames before turning it over to Anastacio Martinez.

In the big inning
Lenny DiNardo had the worst inning of the spring in the eighth inning on Saturday against Baltimore. He didn't retire a batter and gave up four runs on three hits and two walks. He also looked confused in the field, making a horrendous throw to first for an error. A 4-0 game quickly turned into an 8-0 laugher on a not so beautiful day in Ft. Myers.

Playing pepper

  • Ortiz got rung up on a check swing on Saturday, and Bill Mueller met the same fate on a check swing later in the 8-0 loss.

  • Against the Orioles on Saturday in his fourth start of the spring, Matt Clement turned things around. Unlike his first three outings, in which he struggled in the first inning, he came flying out of the gate vs. Baltimore, giving up just one bloop hit in the opening frame and shutting down the Orioles through three. But in the fourth inning, Clement came undone, giving up three runs. Hyzdu made a sliding catch to spare Clement from giving up a fourth run in his four innings of work.   Continued...

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