SARASOTA, Fla. -- Shortstop Jose Iglesias was scheduled to participate in Sunday morning's "B" game against the Orioles, but he instead stayed back in Fort Myers due to a strained right groin.
Though the Red Sox want to get as many looks as they can at Iglesias this spring as they evaluate the shortstop competition, manager Bobby Valentine indicated that he might keep Iglesias out of the lineup through Wednesday's off-day.
Perhaps the shortstop can return for Thursday's home game against the Cardinals. Apparently, the injury has been nagging at Iglesias for nearly a week, but he didn't mention it to the trainers until Saturday.
"I have the inclination to not play him through the off-day, unless he is perfect," Valentine said. "He told me he did it in the [March 5] night game in Minnesota, [when] he first felt it. The first we heard of it was yesterday. He's a kid who has great desire. Right now, I'm not going to let him get any worse, that's for sure."
Iglesias has made a strong impression during camp. In an ideal world, the club would let him get some more at-bats at Triple-A. But Mike Aviles, who started Sunday, has yet to be anointed as the starter by Valentine. Nick Punto is seen more as a utility player.
"Real small sample defensively," said Valentine of Aviles. "He looks OK. Offensively, he looks very aggressive as advertised and can hit the ball to all parts of the field with authority."
After shaky first inning, Lester finds rhythm
SARASOTA, Fla. -- The one thing that Red Sox lefty Jon Lester determined prior to Sunday's start against the Orioles was that "spring forward" day was not going to force a missed bus ride.
"We had like 14 different alarms set to make sure I didn't miss waking up on time," said Lester. "That's probably the only bad part about it, is just making sure your phones turn over and give you the right time."
Lester answered the bell, and he gave the Red Sox four solid innings during a 6-1 win.
The southpaw threw 66 pitches, giving up a hit and a run while striking out two. The control was a little off, as Lester walked four.
"About halfway through the second, I finally got into a little bit of a rhythm," said Lester. "We had kind of a hard time figuring out where the plate was. I was just missing on a lot of pitches, but I felt good and ended up limiting the damage. That was the main thing."
If the strike zone threw Lester off just a bit, manager Bobby Valentine enjoyed watching him adapt.
"I really liked what I saw of Jon Lester," Valentine said. "He had good stuff and had to make an adjustment during those innings. It seemed like with the ball over on that cut side of the plate, it wasn't being called at all and he had to make an adjustment to the other side of the plate, and he made some really good pitches over there."
And for the first time in at least seven years when they were both Minor Leaguers, Lester threw to Kelly Shoppach, the veteran who was traded out of Boston in January 2006 and reacquired three months ago.
"Shop is trying to get back used to me and I'm trying to get used to him," Lester said. "We were trying to establish fastballs and trying to get into a rhythm. It seemed like after that pitch we were able to do that. I remember throwing to him back when I was a kid, basically. But no, it was fine. He's doing a great job of trying to learn everybody."
One thing Shoppach can verify both from facing him the last few years and getting to catch him on Sunday is that Lester now has a big-boy cutter.
"The last time I caught him, it was this little baby cutter, which was seven years ago now," Shoppach said. "It's a different pitch now. I thought he pitched the ball really well. He did exactly what we wanted to do with every pitch. He corrected his mistakes within one to two pitches. He repeated his delivery, and he got to compete for four innings worth."