- Associated Press - Thursday, February 27, 2014

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) - Outfielder Grady Sizemore returned to the field for the first time since 2011 as the World Series champion Boston Red Sox started off their spring schedule Thursday, beating Northeastern 5-2 and then defeating Boston College 5-2.

Both games were seven innings.

Manager John Farrell was satisfied with his team’s performance.

“I thought for the most part we threw strikes, we stayed in control of the count for the better part of the guys that walked to the mound, and it’s good to see guys in game situations to see their instincts,” Farrell said.

“I thought we ran the bases well,” he said. “I think just the fact that we got 14 innings in and get our pregame routine prior to a game adjusted. A good day.”

The 31-year-old Sizemore, who joined the Red Sox in January as a free agent, was once one of baseball’s most dynamic players, an All-Star with the Indians from 2006-2008 with two Gold Gloves, before being sidelined by injuries.

Since 2009, he has undergone seven surgeries, including procedures on his left elbow, both knees and a herniated disk in his lower back in 2012.

Sizemore went 0 for 2, playing three innings in left field in the first game of the doubleheader against Boston-based college teams.

“It was fun,” Sizemore said. “It was exciting. I was looking forward to it for a couple days now. But happy to get out there and get back into games.”

“I was anxious just to kind of get going. Honestly, I was just excited. I just kind of wanted to get going. I felt better than I anticipated, so I was just looking forward to getting out there and seeing how it would go.”

Northeastern sophomore James Mulry, from Boston’s West Roxbury neighborhood and a graduate of Boston Latin School, nearly struck out the side in the third. After striking out Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz, Mulry had Mike Napoli at 1-2 before giving up a single and walking Jonny Gomes. But he got Xander Bogaerts to groundout, ending the inning.

“It was a day I’ll never forget,” Mulry said. “I grew up watching these guys and getting the opportunity to pitch against them was an unbelievable experience, never mind striking them out. They are two of the best players from my generation and I am lucky to have had this chance to play them.”

Mulry impressed at least one of his victims.

“I was trying to see if I can get a strike to hit or whatever, but he ended up throwing me a nasty breaking ball,” Ortiz said. “He can party tonight.”

“He can have a drink tonight and say, ‘I struck out Papi.’”

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