FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The one thing the Red Sox heard over and over about Bobby Jenks is that he tended to have fairly horrific Spring Trainings. So after preparing for the worst, Boston has seen Jenks turn in one lights-out performance after another in this Grapefruit League season.
A day after throwing a simulated game, Jenks was back out there Tuesday night, firing a shutout inning against the Rays. He allowed a hit and a walk.
In six Grapefruit League outings, Jenks has yet to allow a run.
"I think his stuff has been sharp all spring," said manager Terry Francona. "He's notoriously been kind of a late bloomer in spring, but his stuff has been sharp all spring. We've been really impressed. That was his first back-to-back day. He said today he felt better today than he's felt all spring, so that's really encouraging."
Reyes trying to emerge in bullpen derby
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Following Tuesday night's game against the Rays, Red Sox manager Terry Francona huddled with pitching coach Curt Young and members of the front office to discuss how to best distribute innings among the staff for the final week of camp. There are two bullpen spots that remain up for grabs.
One of the pitchers vying for a spot is veteran lefty Dennys Reyes. Though Reyes didn't perform all that well on Tuesday against the Rays (one inning, one hit, one unearned run, one walk, one strikeout, one hit batter), he remains a strong candidate to win a spot.
"When he's down, the ball has good movement," said manager Terry Francona. "He's got a pretty good slider. He lost track of the runner at second today, that's not good. [He] needs to keep track of that, but he knows how to pitch. He can get a grounder. I can see why last year he got righties out, because when he keeps the ball down, he's got real good movement on that two seamer."
The secure spots in the bullpen belong to Jonathan Papelbon, Daniel Bard, Bobby Jenks, Dan Wheeler and, more than likely, veteran knuckleballer Tim Wakefield.
Reyes is one of a plethora of lefties in the mix for those two roster spots. Hideki Okajima, Rich Hill and Andrew Miller are among the other southpaws in competition. Righties Scott Atchison, Alfredo Aceves, Matt Albers and Michael Bowden are also vying for a spot on Boston's 25-man roster.
Francona and his staff will take their time to make sure the right choices are made.
"I'd rather do it right than have to set an arbitrary deadline," Francona said. "It's certainly better for these guys [to know where they stand], because I know they're on pins and needles. The more we can tell them, the better."
Adrian to DH in Minor League game
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Red Sox will enjoy their only day off of Spring Training on Wednesday, but one player who won't be hitting the links or the beach is first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.
Instead, the left-handed-hitting slugger will serve as the designated hitter in a Minor League game. After playing on Tuesday night, this will give Gonzalez a chance to play on back-to-back days for the first time this spring.
Gonzalez, who is coming off right shoulder surgery, made his Grapefruit League debut on March 12. In his first 14 at-bats of action, Gonzalez has two hits, both singles.
"I don't think he'll lead off, but he'll definitely hit in every inning," said manager Terry Francona. "They're good about that. We have the ability to go from one field to another, depending on who's pitching and stuff like that."
How many at-bats will Gonzalez take?
"Whatever he needs," Francona said. "He'll hit in the cage, get loose over there and just use it to his advantage. It will be kind of his first back-to-back [outing], so it will be good for him."
Lackey encouraged, despite results
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- For the first time this spring, John Lackey was something less than stellar in his start Tuesday night against the Rays. But the righty's goal isn't to win the Grapefruit League ERA title. Instead, Lackey is looking to have a solid season, and the right-hander feels he's right on track.
"I was really happy with the way my arm felt," said Lackey. "Stuff-wise, I feel like I'm ready to go."
Over 5 1/3 innings, Lackey allowed six hits and five runs, walking two and striking out four. He gave up two home runs.
Lackey's ERA went from 1.72 to 3.43, but his only regret is that he couldn't be a little more pitch efficient.
"I would like to get up seven times today," said Lackey. "I didn't care if I finished the seventh inning. Just kind of up and down. Seven times would have been nice. I didn't quite get there. My arm feels good. That's all that really matters, I guess, right now."
Lackey's final start of Spring Training will come Monday in Dunedin against the Blue Jays. After that, he will pitch the second game of the regular season against the Rangers on April 2.
All in all, he is pleased with his progress.
"I'm happy with where my changeup is right now," Lackey said. "That's something I haven't had at this point of a season probably ever."