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Monday, March 25, 2013
Takeaways: O's 12, Sox 9; More Bradley

By Chris Girandola, Special to ESPNBoston.com

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Here are the takeaways from Boston's 12-9 loss to the Orioles at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, where several regulars made the trip. Jonny Gomes, Mike Napoli and Will Middlebrooks each had solid performances at the plate. With the wind blowing out to left center, there were six homers on the day -- two coming from the Red Sox. And, of course, Jackie Bradley Jr. added to his sensational spring:

* The Jackie Bradley Jr. story continues, this time with a pinch-hit two-run single in the seventh inning off Orioles reliever Pedro Strop, who is considered one of the better relievers in the game and is coming off a World Baseball Classic title with the Dominican Republic. Then Bradley added a triple off Baltimore left-hander Chris Petrini in the ninth inning with a drive off the wall in right.

Christian Vazquez
Catching prospect Christian Vazquez hit his first home run of the spring season and also doubled, finishing 2-for-3 with two runs and two RBIs.
“The biggest thing for him, especially after yesterday facing some quality left-handers, was he came back today and had a good at-bat against Strop and put a good swing on it facing a lefty with solid stuff,” Farrell said. “A very consistent approach. He continues to have good at-bats.”

Now the waiting game begins. With an off-day tomorrow, the decision on Bradley's fate could come as soon as Wednesday. Farrell said on Sunday when the Red Sox earned a 7-6 road victory over the Phillies that the Boston brass does not want to wait until Saturday to make decisions on the Opening Day roster.

“I’m waiting to find out just like you are,” Bradley told the Boston media following Monday’s contest.

Bradley, who has been consistently level-headed throughout the spring, joked that he would have to figure out where to live if he made the team.

If all goes well, finding a place in Boston will be the least of Bradley’s worries.

* Clayton Mortensen, who is out of options, has been the leader in the race for the final bullpen spot against Daniel Bard, but he did himself no favors by allowing two home runs Monday -- a two-run moon shot to left by Adam Jones and a solo blast to center by Matt Wieters. Mortensen, who now has a 5.79 ERA this spring, surrendered his first homers of the Grapefruit League, but also struck out two to increase his total this spring to six.

“I’m definitely aware of it, but it doesn’t play a huge factor in the way I pitch,” Mortensen said. “Whatever happens, happens.”

Bard, who has options, pitched well against the Phillies on Sunday, striking out the side after allowing an unearned run due to an error by Dustin Pedroia. The 27-year-old right-hander, who has a 3.86 ERA this spring, has 10 strikeouts with three walks over seven Grapefruit League innings.

Despite Mortensen’s poor showing, Farrell did not seem concerned.

“On a day with the conditions the way they were, overall with one inning of work, I’m not going to take too much from it,” Farrell said.

* Middlebrooks, who went 3-for-4 with two RBIs to raise his spring batting average to .362, hit what should have been a double with a high fly to right that bounced off the top of the wall, but Mike Napoli stayed planted at first. Napoli, who apparently thought Orioles right fielder Ryan Flaherty would make an easy catch, ran after Flaherty failed to make a play. Napoli somehow made it to third when he tagged up on a fly ball to right by Lyle Overbay, but he was forced out in a rundown when he tried to score on a comebacker by Ryan Sweeney to Orioles pitcher T.J. McFarland.

* Despite the gaffe, Napoli had a good day at the plate, finishing 2-for-3 with a double and a run. Napoli is batting .346 for the spring.

* Gomes hit a two-run homer to left center, had a single and scored, and added a walk, finishing 2-for-3.

* Red Sox catching prospect Christian Vazquez hit his first Grapefruit League home run -- a two-run blast to left off McFarland. Vazquez also doubled to left center. He went 2-for-3 with two runs and two RBIs.

* Pitching prospect Graham Godfrey was shelled in his first spring appearance, allowing nine hits and six runs over three innings. He gave up two home runs -- a three-run blast by Wilson Betemit and a solo shot by Jones.

* Following the game, the Red Sox reassigned infielders Xander Bogaerts, Jonathan Diaz and Drew Sutton to minor league camp.

Bogaerts had a .286 batting average with one run and one RBI in five Grapefruit League contests.

Diaz finished the spring with a .240 average in 22 games, including two doubles and three RBIs.

Sutton went 1-for-1 on Monday and finished the spring with a .257 average in 21 games, including five runs and one double.