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Postgame Notes: Red Sox 9, Twins 3

03.06.10 at 4:04 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — John Lackey doesn’t mess around on the mound.

As much as anything, that was the message of his first spring training start as a member of the Red Sox. Lackey retired all six batters he faced, allowing him to work exclusively out of the windup and maintain a steady rhythm on the mound that was not too far off from what a bullpen session might look like.

Even so, his get-it-and-go approach was achieved against the backdrop of another step of a build-up in intensity, and so Lackey would take satisfaction in his outing — which resulted in a strikeout, three groundouts and two fly balls — while also identifying room for improvement.

“Today I really felt like my delivery was on time, and in between pitches I was moving pretty quickly. I like to work fast,” said Lackey. “I felt like the rhythm part of it was pretty good today. That second inning, I wasn’€™t locating quite as well as I did in the first inning, so there’€™s still a long way to go.”

Lackey needed just 20 pitches (12 strikes), working primarily with his four- and two-seam fastball while also mixing in a couple of curves. For more on Lackey’s first outing of the spring, click here.

Some other noteworthy developments in the game, that gave the Sox a 2-1 advantage in the best-of-five Mayor’s Cup against Minnesota:

– The Twins suffered a bit of a scare when All-Star closer Joe Nathan left the game in the middle of his scheduled inning of work due to what he described as tightness and achiness in his right elbow. But Nathan said that he’d been told that such symptoms represented an expected “speed bump” following offseason surgery to remove a couple of bone spurs and some loose bodies in his right elbow.

“We didn’€™t want to push through anything. I think it’€™s more being careful than anything right now, taking things slow. We still have a lot of time. The good thing is that this is a norm for going through a surgery,” said Nathan. “Until tomorrow, until we get that evaluation, I don’€™t want to come to any assumptions that I’€™m going to be fine or not.”

Though Nathan said that he did not expect an MRI, he was not sure how the discomfort might impact his schedule this spring. Twins doctors and trainers planned to examine him after Saturday’s game to determine whether the injury is anything but minor. Nathan was escorted off the field by Twins trainers after pitching just one-third of an inning, walking two and striking out one.

Michael Bowden submitted a solid outing, allowing just a single and striking out two Twins in two shutout innings.

Brian Shouse struck out three while allowing a double and an unearned run in his inning of work. Shouse is in competition for one of the final jobs in the Red Sox’ bullpen.

Tug Hulett, who was supposed to get a look as a utility infielder but who has been unable to play the field due to shoulder soreness, hit the go-ahead three-run homer in the seventh inning. That resulted in an unexpected chant of “Tug … Tug … Tug” when he stepped to the plate in the eighth inning. He is expecting to be able to return to the field tomorrow, much to the relief of the 5-foot-10 player with one homer in 67 big-league at-bats.

“I’m not really your typical DH kind of guy,” said Hulett. “They were giving me a hard time the other day, playing Boston College. I was DH-ing. They said, ‘Papi went deep in the first game.’”

–Hulett homered after Jeremy Hazelbaker, the Sox’ fourth-round pick in 2009, lined a single. Hazelbaker struggled in his pro debut at Greenville in 2009 (.167/.280/.233/.513), but he was named the Sox’ top player in Fall Instructional League.

–The other part of the split squad suffered a 6-4 loss to the Rays in Port Charlotte. Justin Ruggiano hit a two-run, walkoff homer off of Kris Johnson in the bottom of the ninth. The Sox got solid pitching performances from starter Felix Doubront (2 shutout innings, 1 hit, 3 strikeouts) and reliever Kyle Weiland (six-up, six-down).

Read More: brian shouse, jeremy hazelbaker, Joe Nathan, john lackey
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