Allen Webster knocked around in spring debut, Grady Sizemore falls down, passes a physical test

Mike Petraglia
March 01, 2014 - 9:16 am

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- If Saturday was any indication, 24-year-old Allen Webster has fallen behind Anthony Ranaudo in the Red Sox pitching prospect race. Webster, who made his debut with the Red Sox last season in seven spot starts, was roughed up by the Minnesota Twins in his first start of spring training at Hammond Stadium. The Twins beat the Red Sox for the second straight day, 6-2, before a Hammond record crowd of 8,547. Daniel Nava homered from the right side of the plate in the first inning and Grady Sizemore overcame a mild fall before the center field wall to go 1-for-3 in the loss. After getting Aaron Hicks to ground out to Garin Cecchini at third to open the first inning, Webster allowed three straight hard-hit balls to the outfield that all found the grass. Brian Dozier then crushed a ball to left-center that caused Sizemore to truly test his body when he lost his footing on the warning track just shy of the wall trying to field it. Sizemore stayed in the game. "He lost his footing when he went down," manager John Farrell said. "You recognize he's going to pivot and torque on the leg. He came out of it fine and there were no issues. It's just good to see him get three at-bats and continue to build." Webster then gave up an RBI single to right by Joe Mauer. Josh Willingham followed with a double. Webster then hit Chris Parmelee and walked Trevor Plouffe to force in a run. Lefty Chris Hernandez began warming in the bullpen as Webster appeared as if he wouldn't make it out of the first. But a sacrifice fly and a fielder's choice ended the inning with Minnesota up, 3-1. Manager John Farrell allowed Webster to start the second inning and Webster responded with getting the first two outs quickly before Dozier singled to right to end his day. Webster allowed four hits and three earned runs in his inning and two-thirds of work. "I just got in there and got a little anxious, left a few balls up, fell behind and they made good contact with it," Webster said. "I need to get the ball down and get ahead of the batter." Webster's spring debut comes in contrast to that of Ranaudo a day earlier. Ranaudo retired all six batters he faced in two innings, striking out four. He needed just 24 pitches (19 strikes). Webster needed that many to get through the first inning. As for Sizemore, he singled to right on a grounder past the second baseman with one out in the fifth on his third at-bat of the day. Farrell immediately substituted Mike McCoy in his place as a pinch-runner at first. Sizemore flew out to left to open the game, struck out looking in the third before singling in the fifth. Drake Britton was a highlight for the Red Sox, as the lefty allowed one hit while striking out four in his two innings. Here's the best of the rest of what what said after Saturday's game:

  • Drake Britton: "I just felt good. I've been working really hard on my mechanics and putting myself in good position to deliver the baseball down in the zone, and it all came together for me today. I threw all three, fastball, slider and changeup. "I've just been working really hard throwing my sides, throwing live BP. I felt really good mechanically and all I wanted to do too much, just trying to stay where I was at. "I was really excited, being my first spring outing, stay within myself and be mechanically sound. I worked really hard on some things to help me out, things I might have struggled with in the past. I'm just trying to fine tune a whole bunch of things, and today was a good start. Staying back over the rubber longer, not trying to rush out front, let my arm work and get my foot down and get extension up front (of body). Just those main points right there."
  • Allen Webster on his improved second inning: "I just took a breather when I went in there and came out and started focused on getting ahead and throwing some two-seamers down in the zone. My first outing, I was definitely amped up."
  • On his mechanics: "I think it's going to help me. It gives me a better chance of keep timing so I'm not going over my head and leaving my arm behind me. It's a little easier for me to repeat." "I've been working on it a lot. It's pretty comfortable for me right now. I'm going to stick with it and see how it goes."
  • Daniel Nava on his solo HR on a 3-2 pitch from right side of plate: "I think I closed my eyes and the ball hit the bat. That's all I remember. Those first couple of swings weren't too good so I was trying shorten things up and fortunately he threw a good pitch and fortunately, the ball went over the fence. "I'll take any of them, left-handed, right-handed. But yeah, I know I have work to do from the right side so any time I can put together a good at-bat, whether the result is a home run or not. That's one of the things I'm trying to make spring training about." "The training staff did a good job of fixing things (in the neck) that weren't right."