PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — Dustin Pedroia  connected for his first homer of spring training and Mike Carp had an RBI double in the second inning as a split-squad Red Sox  club lost to the Rays, 6-3, Monday afternoon at Charlotte Sports Park.
Alfredo Aceves  gaves up two hits and two runs in two innings of work, walking two and striking out none. He threw 29 pitches, 14 for strikes in his first start of the Grapefruit League  season. After Pedroia staked Aceves to a 1-0 lead with the homer in the top of the first, Aceves gave up two runs in the bottom of the inning on a Yunel Escobar  double to left.
Carp, playing in his first action of the spring since being acquired from Seattle last week, came through with an RBI double to right-center in the top of the second, scoring Ryan Sweeney  and trying the game, 2-2.
The Rays took the lead for good with three runs off Chris Hernandez (0-1) in the fourth.
Daniel Bard  threw a scoreless fifth inning, with one walk and a strikeout. He got out of a first-and-second, one-out jam in the fifth when Sean Rodriguez lined into a double play. As he did against Northeastern last Thursday, Bard threw a mix of fastballs and sliders, with his slider being his most effective pitch. He struck out Hak-Ju Lee with a slider for the first out of the inning before hitting Leslie Anderson with a slider. He then walked Luke Scott  before getting Rodriguez to hit into the inning-ending double-play.
Scouts recorded Bard’s fastball sitting between 92-94 MPH, topping out at 95.
The Red Sox played with a lineup of mostly regulars while a lineup of reserves beat the Jays in the other split-squad game  up in Dunedin.
The Red Sox will host the St. Louis Cardinals  at JetBlue Park on Tuesday afternoon.
David Ross  on Aceves: “Good, good. Early on, I think a lot of these guys are working on fastball command. They’re flipping breaking stuff in there but when in doubt, we’re throwing fastballs, trying to get ahead of hitters and work down in the zone. So, you’re seeing a lot of fastball counts, that’s why you see a lot of balls getting hit hard. It’s just kind of making us throw strike one. The one thing I would say we have to work on, it’s still early but we have to get ahead, throw strike one down in the zone and we can be the aggressor.”
Ross on a mound meeting with Aceves after only three pitches: “Yeah, it’s early. It’s early. It’s one of the things that stink as a catcher when you feel like you ruin a guy’s rhythm sometimes when you’re not on the same page because I have to know what’s coming and know where they want me to set up and know where they want the pitches thrown and signs. It’s one of those things that’s really frustrating for me just because I know it’s me. When I’m just not on the same page, I have to get right with him. It comes with time. I’m new.”
“I say, ‘what do you want?’ If he’s shaking me off three or four times, and I can’t get it right, I just ask him what pitch he wants to throw and make sure we’re on the same page as far as what sign we’re going with. Sometimes I go through signs, I go fastball away, fastball in, and then curveball, slider, I may have forgotten changeup or maybe he wanted fastball up. It’s just me being still being new and messing with everybody’s rhythm around here. I’d rather him call me out there and get it right from the get-go. Sometimes, I think I hinder those guys and make them think too much and they’re not as comfortable. Today was a good learning process for me and next time will be a better outing.”
Aceves on getting familiar with Ross: “This is the first time that we’ve thrown. He’s a good catcher. For me he’s a good catcher, and he’s going to help a lot of pitchers. He’s got a lot of knowledge in baseball. Got a lot of time in baseball. So he knows about calling pitches, how to go against the hitters, go after them, go after the outs.”
Aceves on throwing 94 MPH in spring training as he did Monday: “I didn’t know. I was kind of surprised. I was like, I’m throwing 94? I thank God I have the skills, man. I do the little things. As a team. I work out, I do my sprints, I do my stretches with the trainers. They’ve been good with us. They have our backs. They always say, you know, you’ve got the shoulder program, you’ve got mound, it helps a lot.”
Ross on Bard: “Really good. Caught him the other day in that college [game vs. Northeastern] and he even looked better. There were a couple of times [today] we talked and he said he felt like he was getting under the ball a little bit but I thought he looked really well.”
“Today was a better fastball command. Today was definitely a better fastball command day. I think he only threw two or three sliders so it’s the same thing. I’m getting to know these guys, too. What are their out-pitches? He shook to a good back-foot slider, struck a guy out, which was nice. Just get to know these guys. His fastball command was much better today, more down in the zone than up, which is nice.”
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