Sox Silent In Return

The Red Sox' return to American soil was a quiet one Friday, when they fell to the Dodgers, 3-1, in an exhibition game in front of 34,404 at Dodger Stadium.

The Sox mustered just three hits against a quintet of Dodgers pitchers. Alex Cora accounted for the only RBI when he drove home Jacoby Ellsbury via a fielder's choice grounder in the fifth. Ellsbury, Julio Lugo and Sean Casey all singled for the Sox.

The Dodgers broke a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the eighth against Lincoln Holdzkom, who was saddled with the loss after he gave up two runs on two hits and one walk while retiring just one batter.

The outburst against Holdzkom—who was added to the 40-man roster after he re-signed with the club following his release by the Phillies—made a winner out of Scott Proctor, who somehow pitched past the disappointment of not being able to use Kevin Youkilis as target practice—Youkilis was lifted earlier in favor of Lars Anderson—to throw a perfect eighth inning.

Of course, better for the Sox to struggle in games that do not count. "As strange as it seems, [the games against the Dodgers are] probably a good thing, because it gives us a little time to recover and get ready for Tuesday [against the Athletics in Oakland]," Theo Epstein told The Boston Globe.

Bartolo Colon started for the Sox and did not factor into the decision after he gave up one run on three hits and one walk while striking out four in four innings. He threw 60 pitches, 36 for strikes.

"Each time on the mound, he gets a little further along," Terry Francona told reporters afterward. "I thought he commanded both sides of the plate and he threw some breaking balls that had some depth to them. I think we were all pleased. I think he was too."

The Sox said afterward he will start for Triple-A Pawtucket in its Opening Day Thursday at McCoy Stadium in Rhode Island. Pitching coach John Farrell told reporters he wants Colon to prove he can handle a typical big league outing before he is promoted to Boston.

"Ideally, we'd like to see all of our starters get stretched out to 85 to 100 pitches in spring training," Farrell said. "In a normal spring training, that's what all of our starters will get to. Whether that's two or three more starts for him at Pawtucket—I'm not going to say that's a plan etched in stone, but certainly it's kind of [the] framework that we're working under."

Julian Tavarez, who will presumably slip further down the rotation totem pole upon Colon's arrival, followed Colon with three scoreless innings in which he allowed two hits and two walks while striking out one. Hunter Jones cleaned up for Holdzkom by retiring both batters he faced.

Holdzkom, Jones and Anderson were three of several Sox farmhands who got into the game. Dusty Brown, Brandon Moss, Jed Lowrie, Jason Place and Argenis Diaz also played. Prospects went hitless in a combined eight at-bats.


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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