Takeaways: Lackey sharp, Sizemore sizzlin'

March, 27, 2014
Mar 27
11:27
PM ET
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Takeaways from the Fort, where John Lackey had what manager John Farrell called his "sharpest start of the spring," center fielder Grady Sizemore hit another spring training milestone, and left-handed reliever Craig Breslow showed progress coming back from a shoulder strain.

[+] EnlargeGrady Sizemore
AP Photo/Gerald HerbertGrady Sizemore has answered every test so far on his comeback quest.
The result: The Red Sox defeated the Minnesota Twins 4-1. Will Middlebrooks went 2-for-3 with a double and a triple, boosting his spring training average to .362. Mike Napoli singled and then scored on an A.J. Pierzynski double in the second inning. Xander Bogaerts doubled to left field in the seventh inning. Mike McCoy replaced Bogaerts as a pinch runner and then scored on a Middlebrooks double. McCoy and David Ross each hit RBI doubles in the eighth inning.

Lackey not lacking: Lackey struck out six over 6 1/3 innings, lowering his spring training ERA from 9.49 to 6.27 in his fourth appearance.

"It was his sharpest start of the spring," Farrell said. "He goes into the start of the season in very good shape. He had good power tonight. He had good action to his breaking ball, to his cutter and his curveball. We got him to throw 90-plus pitches. I think overall, a very productive spring for John."

Farrell said he has had no concerns with Lackey.

"His arm strength has increased," Farrell said. "He's always had the ability to throw the breaking ball for strikes. I think most importantly, he came off the last outing where he may have been going through a little bit of a dead-arm phase, which is common for everyone. But he was as sharp tonight as you probably saw midseason of last year."

Lackey said working with Pierzynski so far has gone well.

[+] EnlargeLackey
AP Photo/Gerald HerbertJohn Lackey's last outing of spring training was his best.
"He called a good game," Lackey said. "We were on the same page. "With it being a night game, I went through my pregame routine, that sort of thing. I felt good."

Sizemore sizzle: Sizemore went 2-for-3 with a double and a walk. He is hitting .333 this spring. After leading the team with 10 leadoff appearances in spring training, he hit from the No. 5 spot in the lineup on Thursday. Farrell said he likely would use Sizemore in the fifth or sixth spot when the season begins.

"He looks very good physically," Farrell said. "He was looking to steal a base as well. We shut that down. Left-handed and right-handed pitching, he had a good swing. He's in a good place."

Sizemore said he had no problem with where he hit in the lineup.

"I'm happy to be in the lineup, no matter where I'm at," he said. "I'm not going to change my approach, whether it's leadoff or fifth or wherever."

Sizemore played for the fourth consecutive day, which he had yet to do this spring. He is projected to get his fifth consecutive start on Friday against the Twins.

"It's good to get the reps," Sizemore said. "It's good to get to start on consecutive days. It gives you a better feel as far as the timing.

"It's a lot more action than I've had in a long time. You're going to have some bumps and bruises just as you would in any season or in any week. It's just baseball. But there are milestones there. I still feel good. I've got one more this week. I'm hoping to be able to continue to build off it."

Roster moves: The Red Sox placed Breslow on the 15-day disabled list (retroactive to March 21) with a mild left shoulder strain. Right-handed pitcher Steven Wright was placed on the 15-day disabled list (retroactive to March 21) while recovering from a right sports hernia. Farrell said he did not anticipate Breslow to be out of action for long. Farrell said he would announce more roster moves by the end of Friday. The team has 33 players in camp, including 28 players on the 40-man roster.

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