FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — Clay Buchholz was happy to be back on the mound, and the Boston Red Sox were thrilled to have him there.
Buchholz had a fractured back last season when the Red Sox’s season ended short of the playoffs. He made his first start of spring training on Monday night and pitched two scoreless innings in Boston’s 10-2 victory against the Twins.
“Everything felt good,” Buchholz said. “It was a long time coming.”
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Minnesota didn’t have nearly the same success with Jason Marquis, who also made his first start following an injury. Marquis, whose time with the Arizona Diamondbacks was cut short last year because of a broken leg, signed with the Twins in the offseason. He gave up four runs and three hits in his first two innings with Minnesota on Monday.
Marquis said he wouldn’t become concerned unless he had similar outings later this spring.
“The first three or four, you’re really just trying to get a feel for what you’ve worked on leading up to spring training and early in camp,” the 12-year veteran said. “But I definitely think you do need results in spring training just to have that confidence and peace of mind going into the season, but not until the latter games.”
Buchholz had good results in the first part of last year, going 6-3 with a 3.48 ERA before the back injury ended his season in June.
On Monday, he looked more like the pitcher who went 17-7 with a 2.33 ERA in 2010. He gave up two walks and struck out two, and forced a grounder by Joe Mauer that led to a double play.
“The first inning, my mindset was to try and relax and not overthrow,” Buchholz said. “When I tried to spot up, things went a little haywire, but having guys on base is good.”
David Ortiz had no trouble getting on base for Boston. He hit a solo homer over the right field fence in the third inning and added a double.
New Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine was excited to see that output from the 36-year-old slugger.
“Ortiz? I loved him,” Valentine said with a smile. “Really, he swung the bat extremely well.”
The Red Sox also got a three-run home run from backup catcher Daniel Butler. Third baseman Will Middlebrooks had two hits, drove in a run and scored another.
Mauer made his second appearance after being limited to 82 games last season because of a slow recovery from knee surgery. The Twins catcher went 2 for 3 with an RBI. Tsuyoshi Nishioka’s single brought Michael Holliman home for Minnesota’s other run.