SARASOTA, Fla. — Another day, another impressive performance by Jackie Bradley Jr.
This time, Bradley hit a two-run pinch single up the middle in the seventh inning against superb Orioles reliever Pedro Strop, then banged a triple against the wall in right field in the ninth against minor league lefthander Chris Petrini in the Red Sox’ 12-9 loss on Monday.
A day after he homered against the Phillies’ Cliff Lee, but also struck out twice against lefthanders, Bradley contributed two hits, raising his spring average to .444.
“No, it certainly didn’t [slow him down],” manager John Farrell said. “Against a good pitcher in Strop and a lefty who had decent stuff. He takes a strike and is not afraid to hit deep into the count, and gets a breaking ball in the middle of the plate [for the triple]. Very consistent approach. And even more impressive was that after [Sunday] where some lefthanders tied him up a little bit, he came back against a lefthander with some quality stuff and put a good swing on the ball.”
Bradley said, “I definitely wanted to take a pitch [against Petrini]. I wanted to see if you could work out a walk. He looked like he was throwing strikes to the first two batters. But I still wanted to see a pitch, try to make him work a little bit.”
Bradley had to sit for most of the game, but was eager to take part in the slugfest at Ed Smith Stadium.
“You never know when you’re going to be called upon, so might as well be ready,” he said. “They told me I was going in. Had to get my mind-set right and the rest was history.”
At this point, it would be surprising if Bradley didn’t make the team.
“Looking forward to hearing,” he said. “You always want to know where you’re going to go just so you can make arrangements, if you’ve got to get an apartment or something. But everything is at the last minute. So, not only are ya’ll waiting, I am too.”
Clay Mortensen is vying for a spot in the bullpen. The fact that he’s out of options is working for him because the Sox really don’t want to lose him. But he allowed two homers and three runs in his one inning against the Orioles. Of course, the high winds contributed to seven home runs being hit overall, so it was tough to gauge Mortensen’s performance.
“On a day when any ball in the air is going be a little bit of an adventure, I thought he got an inning of work,” said Farrell.
“I’m not going to take too much from it. As he’s gotten consistent work I thought he’s thrown the ball better. Early on, I thought there was one or two outings when he had five or six days between appearances when he was trying to get his arm strength built up, but overall he’s the pitcher we know him as and that is a pitcher who has some deception, can slow some hitters down with a changeup and a different acting slider.
“He’s thrown the ball as he anticipated and can’t look past last year, either. With each additional inning you’ll get better touch and feel. It was a chance to get him onto the mound and no need to look too deep into this one.”
Adam Jones and Matt Wieters hit back-to-back homers off Mortensen in the fourth inning.
“The ball hangs in the air for about 20 seconds and goes over the fence. I just have to keep the ball down. Can’t blame the conditions. I got to make a better pitch, but it does [stink],” said Mortensen.
“I’m planning on going to Boston until they tell me otherwise. That’s the only thing I know about that. I’m definitely aware of it [not having minor league options], but it’s not in my control. I’m just trying to go out and pitch.”
Far from a breeze
Jonny Gomes had an adventure-filled day in left field. Balls hit that way were brutally tough, and Gomes did a dance on a couple, which went for a homer and double. Yet he made up for it with a monstrous two-run homer.
“There are two things I really want going into and leaving spring, and that’s healthy and happy,” he said. “To tell you the truth, I definitely have 100 percent in both of those. I’m excited and happy. I’ve been through good ones, bad ones, power ones, no power ones, so numbers didn’t really matter much, but the feel is the most important as things get pretty close.”
Asked how tough it is to get a read on his defense given the conditions, he said, “The wind is always blowing out. Home plate is different throughout the state but it’s always blowing out. It’s pointless [to assess defense] but it’s like preparing for the sun, either you can see it or you can’t. It’s tough.”
Xander Bogaerts, Jonathan Diaz, and Drew Sutton were reassigned to minor league camp. The Red Sox now have 39 players in big league camp, including 32 from the 40-man roster . . . Felix Doubront pitched for Single A Salem against Frederick and had an unusual line of 5⅓ IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 6 BB, 9 K, 1 HBP, 1 WP. He threw 103 pitches, 56 for strikes. Doubront struck out eight of the last 14 batters he faced. His velocity was 94-95 miles per hour at times and he threw his curveball for strikes. That sets him up for a shorter outing on Saturday . . . Infielder Pedro Ciriaco, who has been out with back spasms, also played for Salem and was 1 for 4 with a double. He spent five innings at shortstop, and said afterward he felt fine.
Nick Cafardo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @nickcafardo.