Red Sox Notebook: Beckett, Snyder Impressive

The ace of the Red Sox rotation and one of the candidates for the fifth starter's job each fared well in separate exhibition games Monday.

While the Sox fell to the Marlins, 3-2, in a Grapefruit League game in Jupiter, Opening Day starter Josh Beckett remained in Ft. Myers and tossed three innings against the Twins in a "B" game that will not count either in the standings or in individual stats. The Sox and Twins tied, 2-2.

Beckett allowed two hits and a walk and whiffed five. He gave up an unearned run in the first, when he was charged with an error after dropping a throw from first baseman Sean Casey at the bag.

Beckett said he was pleased with the performance, especially with how he fared after a 26-pitch first inning in which he loaded the bases with none out. "I thought I threw the ball really well today," Beckett told reporters afterward. "I was still a little too strong in the first inning, left some balls up."

Beckett also displayed a rare post-start sense of humor when discussing the sparse crowd that watched the game. A few hundred fans reportedly took advantage of the free admission at City of Palms Park.

"It feels like we're in the loser's bracket of an AAU tournament," Beckett told reporters. "I spent my whole life in the loser's bracket of AAU tournaments. Because I was hitting fourth, probably."

Beckett also delivered a crack at the expense of the Marlins, with whom he toiled in anonymity from 2001 through 2005. "I've pitched in games during the season with that many people, unfortunately," Beckett said.

Snyder solid: Kyle Snyder said last week he wanted to be taken seriously as a contender in the fifth starter competition, and he pitched up to his words Monday, when he gave up two hits and a walk in three effective innings against the Marlins.

Snyder induced two double play grounders and threw just 29 pitches. Last season, when Snyder served as a middle and long reliever, he tossed more than 30 pitches in only eight of his 46 appearances.

"I feel like my body's starting to accept longer outings," Snyder told reporters afterward. "I got through 29 or 30 pitches, and I still felt good."

Justin Masterson ended up taking the loss for the Sox by giving up the go-ahead run in the seventh. He surrendered four hits and one walk while striking out two in two innings.

Non-roster reliever Dan Kolb didn't help his cause in the race for the final spot in the bullpen by giving up one run on one hit and three walks while recording just one out in the fourth. Fellow non-roster invitee Lee Gronkiewicz gave up a run in 1 2/3 innings before Craig Breslow tossed a scoreless sixth inning.

The Sox were limited to just three hits—one each by Kevin Youkilis, Jeff Bailey and Kevin Cash—by six Marlins pitchers. Jacoby Ellsbury had the Sox' lone RBI with a second inning sacrifice fly.

The Sox return to Ft. Myers Tuesday, when they play the Pirates. Daisuke Matszuaka is scheduled to start for the Sox at 1:05 p.m.

Diehard managing editor Jerry Beach can be reached at To receive a free issue of Diehard, call 888-501-5752.

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