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Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Quick hits: Red Sox 15, Northeastern 0

By Gordon Edes

The outcome: After being held scoreless in the first, the Red Sox scored in each of the next five innings -- six in the fourth -- to beat Northeastern, 15-0, in a seven-inning game that opened the team’s spring season. In the last seven seasons, the Sox have outscored the Huskies, 88-2, the college lads breaking through in the scoring column only once, in 2006. The Sox will field another squad Thursday night against Boston College, which in their last four meeting have been outscored, 50-2.

Casey Kelly
Casey Kelly threw 10 pitches in his Red Sox debut in a perfect first inning against Northeastern.
But who’s really counting? Before the game, the Northeastern players were lining up for photos and autographs with the big leaguers, and there will be lasting memories for Jeff Dunlap, the junior outfielder who blooped a second-inning single off Manny Delcarmen in the second, and freshman Kevin Ferguson, who roped a double in the seventh off nonroster pitcher Robert Manuel. Those were Northeastern’s only two hits off seven Sox pitchers.

The notable: Casey Kelly passed his college entrance exam. The 20-year-old Sox rookie, who would be a sophomore had he succumbed to the University of Tennessee’s recruiting pitch to play football, retired all three Northeastern batters he faced. Kelly struck out two, sandwiched around a first-pitch ground ball to second base, and threw just 10 pitches, 7 for strikes. Kelly topped out at 93 on one scout’s radar gun, throwing mostly at 91-92. Both punchouts came on changeups. “I don’t think I’ve stopped smiling,’’ Kelly said.

David Ortiz hit a wind-blown home run, Jed Lowrie started at short and had a hit and a walk in his two plate appearances, and nonroster shortstop Gil Velazquez had three hits, including two doubles.

Prospect update: A nice first impression left by catcher Luis Exposito and center fielder Che-Hsuan Lin, a Cuban-American kid from Miami and a Taiwanese import who became great friends while playing together last summer in Class A Salem, Va. “He spoke pretty good English when he got here,’’ Exposito said, “but he’d speak Chinese when he got mad so I had to learn the language if I wanted to know what he was saying.’’ Exposito has gotten pretty good at speaking Chinese, not only with Lin but the reporters from Taiwan who are here covering him.

Exposito, who replaced Victor Martinez, knocked in four runs with a double and single while Lin had a couple of hits and two RBIs. Lin was the MVP of the 2007 All-Star Futures Game after hitting a two-run home run.

“He’s going to be big, and fun to watch,’’ Francona said of Exposito, then added on Lin: “Nice way for a young kid to swing a bat in this atmosphere. I think he had a little heartbeat going.’’

Progress report: Clay Buchholz threw two simulated innings back at the minor-league complex and all reports were that he felt dandy. Daisuke Matsuzaka long-tossed again today and should be ready to throw his first bullpen Friday. Mike Lowell had an extended session in the cage and also took batting practice before the game on the field and got the thumbs up from hitting coach Dave Magadan. Dominican right-hander Jorge Sosa finally worked through his visa issues -- believed to be the results of his 50-game suspension for amphetamine use in 2008 -- and arrived in camp Thursday. He has some catching up to do.

Tomorrow: Josh Beckett draws the start in the first exhibition game against a big-league opponent, facing the Minnesota Twins in City of Palms Park Thursday night.

Etc.: The man in the David Ortiz jersey batting from the right side was Ino Guerrero, the major-league staff member who throws endless rounds of BP and does a lot of extra work with Ortiz. It’s become something of a tradition to have the 49-year-old Guerrero get in his hacks against the collegians, nd he had two plate appearances Thursday, rolling out both times.

Guerrero made his professional debut at age 18 in the Braves system in 1979 and advanced as high as Triple-A in his 10-season minor-league career.

“’04 and ’07 are at the top,’’ Francona said, alluding to the team’s World Series titles, “but Ino’s at-bats are right there. He warmed up for six innings.’’