David Ross was 1 for 10 this season when he stepped to the plate with two outs in the fifth inning Saturday. That after going 3 for 28 in spring training.
As a backup catcher, Ross knows he’s not judged by his batting average. But it was getting a little ridiculous for him, especially since he has been a fairly productive hitter against lefthanders during his career.
“I needed a hit,” Ross said. “Let’s be honest.”
The one he got was big, a long home run to left field off Rays starter David Price.
“It was a bomb, wasn’t it?” Ross said after a 2-1 victory in 10 innings. “It was fun. I’ve been scuffling a little bit. Hadn’t got my timing.”
Ross hit a full-count changeup that Price left high in the strike zone. Ross is 2 for 5 in his career against the Tampa Bay ace, the other hit a home run last May.
“In watching a lot of video, he didn’t throw many changeups. He threw more today,” Ross said. “It was one of things I reacted to. I definitely wasn’t sitting on a changeup. I was looking fastball. A guy throwing that hard, it’s hard to look anything but fastball.”
The Bradley balance
Daniel Nava was in left field despite being 1 for 15 with seven strikeouts against Price. Rookie Jackie Bradley Jr. didn’t play for the second time in four games.
Nava ended up 0 for 3 against Price. Manager John Farrell put more stock in how Nava has swung the bat this season and that Bradley was hitless in his last 14 at-bats.
When the 22-year-old Bradley made the team, Farrell said it was with the intention of his playing every day. Now, with Bradley slumping after a productive spring training, that has changed.
“We’re not here to say that there are roster changes that are going to take place just because Jackie is not playing for the second time in four days. That’s not what we’re here about,” Farrell said. “We’ll continue to find the right combinations and that would include Jackie in different scenarios as well.”
Righthanders Alex Cobb and Jeremy Hellickson are scheduled to start for Tampa on Sunday and Monday. Bradley is expected to start those games.
Morales gearing up
Lefthander Franklin Morales, on the disabled list recovering from a back injury, threw two innings in an extended spring training game in Fort Myers, Fla., Friday.
Morales is scheduled for three innings and 50 pitches Wednesday. That would set him up to start a rehab assignment April 22 with Double A Portland. He would progress from there to a start with Triple A Pawtucket April 27.
The Red Sox are building Morales up as a starter in case a need arises. The goal is to get him to 85-90 pitches over five or six innings. If at that point no starter were needed, he would transition back to the bullpen.
Lefthander Craig Breslow, on the disabled list with a shoulder injury, threw a simulated game in Florida Saturday. He is scheduled for an extended spring game Tuesday.
Righthander John Lackey, out with a biceps strain, could start playing catch again in a day or two.
“There’s decreasing symptoms,” Farrell said. “The tightness that he’s felt in the bicep is gradually going away. I don’t know that we have a template that we’re going to exactly follow on this one. But certainly how he feels is the most important guide in all this.”
Felix Doubront was on the mound at 9:35 a.m. for a two-inning simulated game. Friday’s rainout led to his turn through the rotation getting skipped and the lefty will start on 10 days’ rest in Cleveland Tuesday. “It was good, I was able to throw some pitches and see some hitters,” Doubront said. “I should be fine.” . . . The game started with an unusual play. When Desmond Jennings lined to third, the ball went off the glove of Will Middlebrooks. Shortstop Stephen Drew, backing the play up, snapped it out of mid-air for a 5-6 putout . . . Dustin Pedroia has reached base in all 10 games this season and 20 in a row going back to last season . . . Jon Lester’s five strikeouts gave him 1,078 in his career. That passed Luis Tiant for sixth place in team history. Lester needs 31 more to pass Josh Beckett for fifth . . . Middlebrooks broke an 0-for-14 skid with a single in the sixth inning.