Colon Lit Up As Sox Fall To Yanks

Bartolo Colon's second start for the Red Sox wasn't nearly as encouraging as the first. The former American League Cy Young Award winner was rocked for four runs in two-thirds of an inning Monday as the Yankees beat the Sox, 8-4, in Tampa, FL in the only Grapefruit League matchup this spring between the AL East archrivals.

Colon was scheduled to throw 50 pitches or three innings, but he was pulled after he gave up four hits and three walks in just 41 pitches. Colon did record both of his outs via the strikeout.

"We got to a point in the first inning where you start to get worried about leaving somebody out there," Terry Francona told reporters afterward. "We wanted to get him to about 50 pitches [but] not in the first 10 minutes of the game."

Despite the ugly line, Colon and Francona were pleased with how he pitched. He was reportedly clocked as high as 94 mph on the radar gun.

"I felt great," Colon told reporters via an interpreter. "I was only one or two pitches from getting out of the inning, but they're great hitters too and they take advantage of those one or two pitches. But I feel good."

Said Francona: "He needs to pitch a little bit more. His arm strength is good, his attitude is outstanding. We've just got to get his legs under him, get him commanding and he's going to help us win some games. We all feel that way. And I'm glad he feels that way."

Colon, who allows one run on two hits and one walk while striking out one over two innings in his Grapefruit League debut Thursday, will not accompany the Sox to Japan and is expected to pitch again later this week in a minor league game at the Sox' complex in Ft. Myers. He will reportedly start against the Dodgers in one of the three exhibition games between the teams in southern California Mar. 28-30.

Colon was relieved Monday by Julian Tavarez, who struggled as well as the Yankees surged to a 7-0 lead after two innings. Tavarez ended up lasting 3 1/3 innings, during which he allowed four runs on seven hits while striking out one. Javier Lopez (one hit in 1 2/3 innings), Craig Hansen (one hit in 1 1/3 innings) and Hunter Jones (a perfect inning) combined to throw four scoreless frames.

The Sox were led offensively by Kevin Youkilis, who hit a solo homer in the fourth inning. Julio Lugo and Brandon Moss each had an RBI while Jacoby Ellsbury, Chris Carter and Moss—the 7-8-9 hitters—all had two hits apiece. Ellsbury also stole a base, his third swipe in as many attempts this spring.

The Sox, who fell to 7-10-2 with the defeat, will be off Tuesday, when they'll presumably spend the day packing for the longest road trip of this or any other season. The Sox complete the Florida portion of their spring training schedule Wednesday when they host the Blue Jays at City of Palms Park. Afterward, the Sox depart for Japan and the start of an 18-day road trip that will also take them to Los Angeles, Oakland and Toronto before they return to Fenway Park for the home opener Apr. 8.


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

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