JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — Tim Wakefield spent a lot more time on the road than on the mound Tuesday, which was fine with him.
The knuckleballer made the three-hour trip from Fort Myers and pitched three shutout innings to keep his spring training ERA at 0.00, helping the Boston Red Sox beat the Florida Marlins 9-0.
The visitors’ batting order looked like a lineup for the Pawtucket Red Sox, with designated hitter Jacoby Ellsbury the only likely opening day starter on the team bus. Wakefield took a van and didn’t mind the trip.
“You get up a little earlier, have some more coffee, bring a good book and the crossword, and I’m good,” he said.
He was good in the game, too, throwing 22 of 30 pitches for strikes. The 43-year-old right-hander allowed two hits, both singles, and walked none in his second appearance of the spring.
“We sort of take it for granted, which we shouldn’t,” manager Terry Francona said. “Age hasn’t caught up with him. … He threw a couple of fastballs, and threw a lot of knuckleballs in the zone that were moving. It’s a nice combination.”
Wakefield was so efficient the Red Sox had him throw an extra 20 pitches afterward to ensure he had sufficient work. Then it was back in the van with his Kindle reader for the ride across Florida on State Road 80.
“We didn’t really want to bring him over here,” Francona said. “But there’s no way to get around it. These starts are important for guys. Until they’re lengthened out, it’s a long trip for short duty, but what are you going to do?”
Also happy to travel was Jeremy Hermida, who went 2 for 4 with a double and his first RBI with Boston. Traded by the Marlins in November, he drove over from Fort Myers on Monday night for a cookout hosted by former teammate Cody Ross.
“There are a lot of guys over there who I have real good relationships with and will keep friendships with for a long time,” Hermida said. “So it was good to come back and see them.”
Hermida said the beard he grew over the winter drew favorable reviews from his ex-teammates. The Marlins have a no-beard policy.
“I’m going to stick with it,” he said. “I figure I’ve been shaving here for seven years; I might as well let it go for a while.”
Hermida had a run-scoring single in the first inning off Anibal Sanchez, who allowed five runs, four earned, in 2 1-3 innings. Sanchez said his arm felt good, but he struggled with a flaw in his mechanics.
“I threw a lot of fastballs up,” Sanchez said. “I don’t want to do that. Bad day.”
Rick VandenHurk, bidding for a spot in the Marlins’ rotation, allowed one hit in three innings and has pitched five shutout innings in spring training. Reliever Renyel Pinto allowed three runs and retired only one batter.
For Boston, five relievers followed Wakefield to complete a seven-hitter. The Red Sox didn’t walk a batter.
Josh Reddick had three of Boston’s 13 hits, and Yamaico Navarro added two. Dan Uggla had two hits for Florida.