FORT MYERS, Fla. — Opposing teams continue to scout Red Sox relievers, but it doesn’t appear the Sox are in sell mode quite yet with Franklin Morales and Craig Breslow slated to start the season on the disabled list.
Morales, who was sent back to Boston this week to receive an epidural injection for a bulging disk, said Friday that he felt better. Manager John Farrell said he didn’t know when Morales will pitch next.
The Rangers seem to be the most aggressive in their pursuit of a reliever and may have some interest in Alfredo Aceves, according to a major league source.
The Sox also have appealing depth at first base and in the outfield. The Brewers have had a scout following the Sox for most of camp, and they are in need of a first baseman. Lyle Overbay is a former Brewer. Mike Carp, who is on the 40-man roster, has started to swing the bat better.
Designated hitter David Ortiz, who was shut down Sunday because of inflammation in his heels, has responded favorably to medication and treatment. Farrell is optimistic that Ortiz could take batting practice on Monday. From there, Ortiz would graduate to running again, but that has not been planned.
Mortensen gets start
Clayton Mortensen allowed two hits and a walk over three shutout innings in a 3-3 split-squad tie with the Orioles in Sarasota.
“Clayton once again, he pitches to get outs,” Farrell said. “He’ll move the ball off the bat head, change speeds. He’s not afraid to attack the strike zone.”
One American League scout said, “He got outs. There wasn’t anything special, but that’s what he does. He’s solid.”
Mortensen made his first start in more than a year.
“It was kind of interesting going back to the old routine that you had and trying not to make it any different than I do as a reliever,” Mortensen said. “But you get antsy to get out there and throw. It was nice to go out there and get a start in. It felt good.”
Mortensen is not a lock for the Opening Day roster but he is out of minor league options and the Sox value his versatility. He posted a 3.21 earned run average over 26 appearances last season with the Sox, averaging 8.8 strikeouts per nine innings.
Doubront at work
Felix Doubront continues to improve in each outing. He threw four shutout innings in the Sox’ 5-0 victory over the Twins Friday night, allowing two hits and a walk with four strikeouts. He threw 68 pitches.
Doubront said he and pitching coach Juan Nieves have been working on “just trying to throw three or four pitches per batter. In the beginning, it was difficult doing that. I just want to go after it and throw more strikes. That’s what we’re working on now. We’ve talked about less pitchers per batter.
“Last year was a year of gaining experience and throwing hard and hit the spots. This year with more experience I want to throw the ball down there. That’s what I’m looking forward to.”
Drew ‘a ways away’
Shortstop Stephen Drew is still dealing with concussion symptoms after being hit in the helmet by a pitch March 7. He underwent more tests Friday. “He went through the impact testing on the bike with exertion,” Farrell said. “There were no increased symptoms and with a raised heart rate [it] didn’t intensity the symptoms. So right now that’s deemed a positive.” Farrell said Drew will likely undergo physical tests every day until he is symptom-free, but “he’s still a ways away from getting back on the field.” Drew must also pass a baseline online test given by the league medical office . . . The Sox acquired minor league first baseman Mike Flacco from the Orioles for cash considerations or a player to be named. He is the brother of Baltimore Ravens quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco . . . The Sox optioned righthanders Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster to Triple A Pawtucket and catcher Christian Vazquez to Double A Portland. Vazquez threw out the Orioles’ Brian Roberts trying to steal second in the fifth inning. He also made a nice play later in the game on a slow roller in front of the plate . . . Lefthander Chris Hernandez worked 3⅓ scoreless innings against Baltimore, allowing one hit (which allowed an inherited runner to score) and striking out one. He does not have impressive velocity or above-average pitches, but he gets outs. Hernandez has shown good command in camp, walking one over 11⅓ innings.Nick Cafardo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @nickcafardo.