FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) - Boston ace Jon Lester got ready for the regular season by watching another talented left-hander on Saturday night.
Cliff Lee pitched five scoreless innings to lead the Philadelphia Phillies to a 4-1 victory over the Red Sox. The 2008 AL Cy Young Award winner allowed three hits, struck out three and walked one in his fourth spring training start.
“You find yourself sometimes trying to match his rhythm and tempo,” Lester said. “It’s one of those deals where he’s special because of that. It’s been his style for a long time. I’m not sure anyone can replicate it. It helps you speed up too. Watching a guy like that throwing strikes makes you want to match that.”
Lester pitched four innings of one-run ball in his second spring start. He gave up two hits, struck out five and walked one.
The Phillies scored one in the first and three in the fifth.
Ben Revere led off the first with a single against Lester. He stole second and scored on Marlon Byrd’s double.
Revere went 2 for 4 and scored twice. Byrd went 2 for 4 with two RBIs and is batting .364 this spring.
Jonny Gomes homered for Boston. David Ortiz went 0 for 3 and is 2 for 25 with nine strikeouts this spring.
STARTING TIME: Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg has yet to reveal his opening-day starter, but Lee is the likely choice. He has allowed four earned runs and 11 hits in 13 2-3 innings this spring.
“I can’t really comment on that until he makes the announcement, but it means they feel like you’re giving them a good chance to win,” Lee said. “If I happen to be the guy, I’d be honored to take the ball on the first day and try to go out there and give us a chance to win.
“Considering (Cole Hamels is) not going to be ready, I would expect to be the guy. But A.J. Burnett could also be the guy. It doesn’t really matter, to be honest with you. Obviously once we get going we’re all going to pitch every five days.”
It’s the same situation with Boston. Manager John Farrell is waiting to announce his choice for opening day, but Lester is expected to get the ball. He has allowed just three hits and struck out nine over seven innings in his two spring outings.
“I thought a very good four innings once again,” Farrell said. “He ran a couple of deep counts with some foul balls and the pitch count got up there where we hoped to get to, 65 to 70 pitches here tonight. But still, I thought he worked well with (catcher) A.J. Pierzynski, and continues to show good power through the strike zone.”
PHILLIES: Right-hander Mike Adams, who is rehabbing from shoulder surgery, threw to hitters for the first time at the Phillies’ complex in Clearwater. He is tentatively scheduled to throw in a game on Wednesday.
Sandberg, standing near the batting cage during Adams’ session, was hit above the right eye by a foul ball. He had a small cut but did not need stitches.
RED SOX: Left-hander Craig Breslow, who is being brought along slowly after a heavy workload last season, threw a bullpen session on Friday and could face hitters soon.
Third baseman Will Middlebrooks has missed the last two games after hyperextending his right middle finger sliding into a base in a game against the Twins on Thursday.
FOR THE RECORD
Grady Sizemore continues to try to make his way back to baseball after being sidelined for more than two years because of injuries. He played eight innings in center field Saturday in his longest spring outing, going 1 for 4. He is hitting .294.
“No issues,” Farrell said. “Knees felt fine. Eight innings of defense, four at-bats, he got down the line with good energy and another positive step for him tonight.
“We’ll continue to map out his playing time with back-to-back days. That won’t be tomorrow but as we go forward, the more extended innings played inside a given game with back-to-back opportunities I think each day he walks on the field he’s answering the physical side of it. But I think as I mentioned, given all that he’s come through we have to continue to monitor that as we go forward, much like we would monitor any other physical issue with another guy.”
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