Bean ball fans flames of BoSox-Rays rivalry
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — Long after they nearly came to blows, Sean Rodriguez still didn’t like what Alfredo Aceves had to say.
The Red Sox right-hander hit the Rays’ second baseman in the shoulder with a pitch in the fifth inning of Boston’s 9-2 win over Tampa Bay on Saturday. Benches briefly cleared and Rodriguez had to be held back as the pair engaged in a shouting match.
“I said it was a split-finger, my bad,” Aceves said. “I was not trying to hit him obviously. It was a 3-2 game, and you don’t want anybody on base. I understand he was probably upset or frustrated because he got hit, and in the last at-bat he got a homer.”
Rodriguez hit a two-run shot in the third inning before coming up with one out and none on in the fifth. He wasn’t buying Aceves’ explanation.
“He says it got away from him. I don’t know if I’d agree or disagree, but I was just kind of upset when he was still jawing when I got to first base,” said Rodriguez, who had two of the Rays’ eight hits. “He was very apologetic until I got to first. Then it was a little different.
“It’s just another good reason for ... when we play Boston. I guess it just keeps things a little fired between us, which is cool,” Rodriguez added.
Aceves gave up six hits and two runs in 4 1-3 innings.
Both managers downplayed the spat.
“I would be more concerned if it was a fastball, but it was a split that hit him in the back,” said Rays manager Joe Maddon.
Lyle Overbay, Ronald Bermudez, Blake Swihart and Mauro Gomez drove in two runs each for the Red Sox, who had 15 hits.
Overbay had a two-run single off Hernandez in the first. Hernandez gave up six hits and struck out five in five innings.
The Rays managed only two hits off five Red Sox relievers.
Wil Myers, the 22-year-old outfielder acquired in the seven-player trade in December that sent James Shields to Kansas City, was among six players the Rays cut Saturday.
Myers, regarded as the Tampa Bay’s top prospect, hit .286 in 35 spring at-bats. On Saturday, he had with a single and made a fine throw from right field that almost cut down Jose Iglesias on Ryan Lavarnway’s seventh-inning sacrifice fly.
“It was something that I knew was going to come eventually and it wasn’t a surprise at all. I’m looking forward to getting down there and getting some at-bats,” Myers said. “Every player feels like they’re big league ready. I feel like I am, but that’s not up to me to decide. I just want to go down to the minor leagues and show them what I can do.”
NOTES: John Lackey took a step in his return to the Boston Red Sox from Tommy John surgery, giving up a run and four hits while facing Triple-A Durham, the Tampa Bay Rays’ top farm club.
Lackey struck out five and walked two in five innings Saturday while the Red Sox’s big league club was beating the Tampa Bay Rays 9-2 in Port Charlotte.
Lackey says he felt great. He hasn’t pitched at least five innings since Sept. 25, 2011, against the Yankees. Lackey missed all of last season after having elbow-reconstruction surgery.
Red Sox pitching coach Juan Nieves said Lackey is throwing from 89-92 mph. Nieves said Lackey, who will likely go five innings again in his next outing, is no longer facing any limitations related to his surgery.