Takeaways from Fort: Lackey on target

March, 11, 2014
Mar 11
5:57
PM ET
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Takeaways from the Fort, where John Lackey made his first Grapefruit League start, Grady Sizemore played for the second day in a row and one fan arrived on his bike in the midst of a 12,000-mile ride.

The results: The Red Sox lost to the Miami Marlins 5-4 in front of a sellout crowd of 9,898 fans at JetBlue Park. Mike Carp came off the bench and hit a home run in the seventh inning, but Marlins outfielder Kyle Jensen hit a two-run homer off Red Sox reliever and bullpen candidate Drake Britton for a 5-4 lead in the ninth inning. The Red Sox, meanwhile, won their split-squad game in Sarasota against the Baltimore Orioles, 6-5, with Brock Holt, Will Middlebrooks and Ryan Lavarnway each hitting home runs.

Lackey's launch: A day after Jon Lester made his first Grapefruit League start, John Lackey did the same. They were held back at the start of spring training because of the Sox's long postseason run.

Lackey struck out two and gave up three runs off four hits in 2 2/3 innings of work. He has a 10.13 spring ERA after his first start, but neither he nor Red Sox bench coach Terry Lovullo was concerned.

Last season, Lackey had a 10-13 record and 3.52 ERA in the regular season and went 2-0 with a 2.42 ERA in five playoff games, including Game 6 of the World Series in which he earned the win.

“I thought Lackey was good,” said Lovullo, who managed the game against the Marlins because John Farrell was in Sarasota with the other half of the team. “Overall, for the first time he stepped on the mound, his fastball was down and he was locating it.”

Lackey said he threw almost all fastballs.

“It was a step up in intensity,” he said. “It was just a step.

“Fastball location was pretty decent. I threw a bunch of heaters. I’m just trying to build the arm strength right now, and I got it done.”

Lackey said being held back earlier in camp should pay off in the long run.

“It was a good idea,” Lackey said. “We went pretty deep into the season and had a pretty big workload. With the veteran guys that we have, I think it will work out pretty well for us. It’s a little different to go three innings the first time in the stadium. But I’ve kind of done this before.”

Sizing up Sizemore: Grady Sizemore started in center field for the first time on back-to-back days. He went 0-for-2, dropping his spring batting average to .308. He made one putout.

“He was great,” Lovullo said. “It’s part of his progression. He gave us exactly what we thought. He gave us three to four innings on defense on back-to-back days, got some at-bats and didn’t take any steps backward. It’s all very encouraging.”

Sizemore, who has not played in a big-league game since 2011, said the layoff did not seem that long.

“It doesn’t feel like it’s been three years,” Sizemore said. “It just feels like it’s another spring training where it’s early and I’m trying to get my rhythm down. I still have a long way to go, and I feel like I can fine-tune some things.”

Overall, Sizemore said he felt good.

“I felt confident, knowing that it was going to be a pretty normal day. If I had any questions about it, I wouldn’t have gone out there. Things have been going good. I’m happy with how the body feels and being able to play and have no restrictions. It’s about getting back into shape and getting my legs used to the pounding again and then going from there.

“I’m trying to find that threshold and work toward it. I just need to keep working on timing, see more pitches and get more at-bats. I just want to see as many pitches as I can and get as many at-bats as I can, just to feel more comfortable.”

Up next: The Red Sox are off Wednesday, although lefty Felix Doubront will pitch in a minor league game at 1 p.m. at the Fenway South complex. The Red Sox play at the Minnesota Twins at 1:05 p.m. Thursday with Jake Peavy facing Phil Hughes.

The long ride: Boston resident and Red Sox fan Dorian Anderson arrived to JetBlue Park on his maroon Surly-brand bicycle.

Anderson, 35, is biking across the United States on a bird-watching tour, which brought him to nearby Sanibel Island over the weekend and then to the Red Sox-Marlins game. He said he has not been in a car since Dec. 31.

“I’m a huge Red Sox fan,” said Anderson, who is raising money and awareness for the Conservation Fund and for the American Birding Association. “I used to live right next to Fenway Park.”

So far, Anderson has biked 2,900 miles, including 110 over the weekend from Miami to Fort Myers.

“I’ve been bird watching my whole life,” said Anderson, who so far has seen 243 of a projected 550-to-600 bird species. “It’s more like a disease than a hobby.”

Up next for Anderson and his projected 12,000-mile ride: biking to Clearwater.

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