Noon report: Doubront tunes up vs. Yanks

March, 20, 2013
3/20/13
12:47
PM ET
TAMPA, Fla. -- Greetings from George M. Steinbrenner Field, where we’re trying to figure out if ESPN’s Chris Berman would refer to today’s starting pitcher for the Yankees as “Gore” Vidal Nuno or Vidal “Sassoon” Nuno. But since Boomer isn’t part of the crew broadcasting the game this afternoon on ESPN2, we’re guessing the Sunday night crew (Dan Shulman, Orel Hershiser, John Kruk) will just call him Nuno.

The Sox, meanwhile, are countering with their own left-hander, Felix Doubront, whose 2.52 ERA in four starts against the Yankees was the best among Sox starters in 2012. Doubront went six innings or more in all four of those starts, gave up no more than two runs in three of them, and allowed just four hits in each of his four outings.

Collectively, the Yankees batted just .182 (16 for 88) against the 25-year-old Venezuelan, with five home runs -- two by switch-hitting first baseman Mark Teixeira, who is out indefinitely with a wrist injury. Doubront held All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano hitless in 12 plate appearances, while he struck out All-Star center fielder Curtis Granderson eight times in 12 plate appearances, Granderson’s only hit off him a home run.

Neither of those players will be in the Yankee lineup Thursday, although Doubront will become the first Sox pitcher to face Kevin Youkilis since the former Sox favorite put on pinstripes. Youkilis, who went 1 for 3 against Doubront last season while playing for the White Sox, will be batting in the No. 3 hole for the Bombers, who will be missing Derek Jeter for the second straight day as he experienced some discomfort in his surgically repaired ankle.

Red Sox manager John Farrell, in his pregame session with reporters, had not yet received the news -- relayed by Boston reporters who remained back in the Fort -- that David Ortiz took 50 swings in the batting cage Wednesday, the second straight day he has taken BP. Farrell noted that Stephen Drew was in the process of undergoing concussion-related tests at the University of Pittsburgh.

Some other quick hits:

* Farrell said some consideration may be given to batting Jonny Gomes in the No. 2 hole against left-handers, noting that he had success in that spot last season for Oakland. Indeed. Gomes’ best splits in 2012 came batting out of the 2-hole, where he started 26 games and in 116 plate appearances posted a .330/.435/.588/1.022 line, with 7 home runs and 16 RBIs.

* Asked whether he would look at Jackie Bradley Jr. playing in the outfield with Jacoby Ellsbury and Shane Victorino, Farrell said: “Where would you like them to play? Is that to feed the Bradley fire?"

Speculation has been rampant that Bradley will make the team’s Opening Day roster after Farrell didn’t rule out that possibility earlier in the week.

“I can’t say we wouldn’t [play the three simultaneously]," Farrell said. “If we were to do it [in spring training], we’d probably look at it on the road somewhere. We want Shane to get as accustomed to right field [dimensions of Fenway] as much as possible. That’s not to say we wouldn’t put Jackie Bradley in left, but I don’t see Jackie Bradley as a left fielder.’’

Victorino, however, played left field almost exclusively for the Dodgers after their trading-deadline deal with the Phillies, making 48 starts in that position.

Gordon Edes

Red Sox reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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