JUPITER, Fla. -- Jon Lester is expected to pitch five innings today, his longest outing of the spring. In four innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates last Wednesday, he allowed two hits and one run, which was earned. His ball had plenty of movement, as evidenced by his three walks and three strikeouts.
-- Farrell was lightly asked if he was close to naming his opening-day starter. “You guys are looking for something [to write about],” he said. “We’re getting closer.”
-- Alfredo Aceves, who returned to Fort Myers late last night, will return to action soon. Aceves had two appearances for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic, not including his memorable showing in Saturday’s brawl with Canada.
Before the fight, Aceves was last seen in a three-inning, 52-pitch outing against Italy on Thursday, in which he allowed a game-tying homer and was charged with a blown save. He threw -- but mostly took -- several punches on Saturday and left with a few welts on his head.
Farrell said he didn’t know if the pitcher was still sore.
The manager was asked if he had ever been in any good brawls. He recalled a June 1993 incident in Anaheim between the Toronto Blue Jays and the California Angels, for which he was a 30-year-old pitcher.
The initial combatants were Angels center fielder Chad Curtis and Toronto third baseman Ed Sprague. The benches and bullpens cleared, and the scrum moved up the third base line and eventually saw players and fans exchanging blows. Video replays showed Toronto outfielder Darnell Coles attempting to punch a fan, but connecting with a police officer.
“There were a lot of big bodies going at it,” Farrell said.
To make matters worse, it was “Ball Night,” Farrell recalled. Fans began throwing their promotional items onto the field during the fray.
That night led to several thousand dollars in fines, but didn’t produce a quote as memorable as what Canada first base coach Larry Walker said about Aceves after Saturday’s melee.
“I had a hold of him and I thought I saw Satan in his eyes,” Walker said.
-- It sounds as if catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who bats cleanup today, will cede a fair amount of playing time to veteran David Ross once the Red Sox head north. “We fully expected him to be more than a traditional backup,” Farrell said of Ross. “I think his talents warrant that.”
-- Lefthanded-hitting outfielder Mitch Maier, who starts in right today, seems like a long shot to make the team, but has caught Farrell's eye despite his .250 average. “He’s having a good camp,” Farrell said. “He’s definitely in the mix.”
-- A group of reporters played general manager with Farrell, proposing what the Red Sox could possibly trade to the Miami Marlins in exchange for slugger Giancarlo Stanton. The package going the other way:
“Whatever they want,” Farrell joked.