FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox used their veteran players in the first game of Thursday’s doubleheader against Northeastern and Boston College. They produced a 3-0 victory that was, outside of some good pitching performances, unremarkable.
Manager John Farrell used a younger lineup against the Eagles. Xander Bogaerts, the organization’s top prospect, hit sixth. Jackie Bradley Jr., a center fielder with great potential, hit third.
Bogaerts was 1 for 4 with a double in an 11-1 victory. Bradley was 1 for 3 with an RBI double.
Bogaerts, 20, is a shortstop, but he started at third base in preparation for his role with the Netherlands in the upcoming World Baseball Classic. He handled two ground balls without any problem.
“Exciting young player,” Farrell said. “Regardless if he’s standing at third or short, he’s a presence in the box. Hard contact. In Game 2, a little bit of a glimpse into the future somewhat.”
Bogaerts will sub in for Will Middlebrooks at third base Saturday against Tampa Bay, then leave for the WBC. The Netherlands starts pool play in Taiwan March 2. Bogaerts will fly there via New York.
“I’ll probably ask the Red Sox for a sleeping pill or something,” he said. “That’s tough.”
Bogaerts will return to the Red Sox after the WBC and could appear in a few games before going to minor league camp.
“The Red Sox are my first priority,” he said. “They gave me the opportunity to go play and I’m thankful for that. I’ll be back.”
Bradley’s double was a fly ball that carried to right-center and nearly cleared the fence in the third inning. In the fifth inning, he hit an infield popup and hustled to second base, just in case it fell in.
The ball wasn’t caught, but it was ruled foul. Still, Bradley made an impression on the play.
“You want to always to do the right thing,” he said. “You don’t want to take any plays off. That time you take a play off, they’re going to see it.”
Bradley had to make only one play in center field, tracking down a line drive of the bat of Jimmy Dowdell in the second inning.
“We were able to quickly see what everyone has raved about,” Farrell said. “The precision to his routes and jumps was impressive.”
Bradley, 22, enjoyed being on the field with Bogaerts.
“If we’re both on the same field at the same time up there in the future, that’ll be great,’’ Bradley said.
Not so fast
Joel Hanrahan pitched a scoreless inning against Northeastern, leaving two runners stranded. He was asked whether the deep Red Sox bullpen is the best he has been a part of.
“I think it’s too early to say that at this point,” Hanrahan said. “On paper, it looks really good. But it’s not a question that I’m just going to run out there and say that we’re the best bullpen.
“We all believe that we can be, but we have to prove it. We have to go out there and get the job done.”
Carp en route
Mike Carp, who was acquired from the Mariners Wednesday, ran into weather-related travel delays and was not expected in Fort Myers until Thursday evening.
He will have to pass a physical before getting on the field. Seattle designated Carp for assignment before he reported to their camp in Arizona and has been working out on his own since.
“We’ve got to see where he’s at from a baseball rhythm standpoint,” Farrell said.
Jacoby Ellsbury has been shifted around the lineup on occasion in his career. But Farrell sees him as a leadoff hitter and isn’t planning on any spring training experimentation.
“At this point, to start, that’s the first thought, yes,” Farrell said. “If he emerges or has a repeat year like he had a couple of years ago, could you see that 3-hole? Possibly. But to start, this is where we’re at.”
In 2011, his breakout season, Ellsbury batted first for all but nine games early in the season. He was primarily a leadoff hitter last season but did bat second 12 times and third 10 times.
Napoli next week?
First baseman Mike Napoli will not play this weekend but could get in a game by the end of next week. He first will have to get in some base-running drills. Napoli was held back in the early stages of camp because of the condition of his hips. But he has been increasing his activity over the last few days. David Ortiz, who is coming back from an Achilles’ tendon strain, is a few days further behind . . . Farrell on how Jose Iglesias has looked in batting practice: “He’s a little bit more narrow in his base, he’s a little bit more upright. It’s allowed him to see the ball better and I really think free up his swing. He got deep in his crouch over time. I think it kind of caused him to work against his body a little bit. But the fact he’s upright in that stance, he feels like he’s able to hit the ball with a little bit more authority wherever it’s pitched in the zone . . . Ryan Lavarnway will catch knuckleballer Steven Wright against the Blue Jays Monday. Because Wright throws his knuckleball hard, much like R.A. Dickey, it’s easier to catch that the floaters Tim Wakefield threw.