FORT MYERS, Fla. — It took a dozen games to come together, but the Red Sox finally have their rotation set up. Now manager John Farrell plans to keep it that way.
Jon Lester pitched Monday and will be followed by John Lackey, Felix Doubront, Jake Peavy, and Clay Buchholz. That should be how the season starts.
“All things playing out, health and otherwise, that’s kind of the way things are rolling,” Farrell said.
Buchholz would not pitch until April 5 against Milwaukee. The plan for now would be for him to stay in Florida when the team breaks camp and pitch in a minor league game March 31.
“As far as the way we’ve mapped out the pitching, for those guys that we have targeted, we wanted to ramp them up a little bit more slow,” Farrell said. “I shouldn’t say slow in the sense of less pitches thrown, it’s just the overall intensity they’re getting exposed to. I think this is coming together as we’ve scripted.”
The Red Sox will continue to use Chris Capuano, Allen Webster, and Brandon Workman as starters in spring training to build rotation depth.
Minor league games start Wednesday, and that’s the avenue the Red Sox will use to get them innings. To a lesser extent, Drake Britton will get extra innings, too.
Farrell said “it’s to be determined” which one of those pitchers would enter the rotation if a need arises.
Britton, who worked as a reliever when he was in the majors last season, has had a good camp. He has thrown four shutout innings, giving up two hits and striking out five with one walk.
“Every time he’s walked to the mound, he’s thrown three pitches for strikes with really good stuff,” Farrell said. “I don’t think he liked being left off the playoff roster last year and he carries that air about him in a good way and he’s used that as motivation.
“He’s come into camp in great shape. When you consider a lefthander with that kind of velocity and that assortment of pitches, he’s making the most of every opportunity and making an impact on decisions that are still yet to be made.”
Translation: Britton is very much in play for a bullpen spot.
Right fielder Shane Victorino played his first game of the spring. He had two plate appearances and played three innings in the field. Victorino was held back to recover from offseason thumb surgery and to do extra work strengthening groin muscles that were problematic last season.
“My hand feels good,” he said. “In [batting practice] everything feels good.”
Victorino, a switch hitter, batted righthanded against righthanded pitchers Jake Odorizzi and Steve Geltz. He was hit by a pitch his first time up, then struck out looking the second time.
Victorino gave up switch hitting last August because of injuries and seems to be sticking to batting righthanded. Farrell suggested Saturday that would be the case, and Victorino’s actions Monday seemed to confirm it.
But he again balked at discussing the situation.
“There’s no decision,” said Victorino. “If I had an answer, I would have told you. We’re all working through the process.”
Victorino later acknowledged he is leaning to staying righthanded.
“Obviously that’s the way I’m leaning,” he said. “It seems to make sense.”
Farrell has said the Red Sox are comfortable with Victorino’s decision.
“If that’s the approach taken, we’re certainly accepting of it,” he said.
Victorino was hit by a pitch 11 times in 115 plate appearances batting righthanded against righthanded pitchers last season. That it happened again Monday was no surprise.
“Guess I stand too close to the plate,” Victorino said.
Sizemore on move
Grady Sizemore singled on a full-count pitch in the first inning. With Dustin Pedroia at the plate, Sizemore broke for second base.
Pedroia grounded to third base and Sizemore was safe. It was the first time this spring he was put in motion.
Sizemore was 1 for 3 with that single and two fly balls to center field. He played five innings in the field. He is scheduled to play Tuesday against Miami at JetBlue Park.
After two years away from the game, Sizemore is 4 for 11 in four games.
Doubront stays busy
The Red Sox are off Wednesday. But Doubront will pitch in a minor league game at Fenway South at 1 p.m. Lefthander Andrew Miller also could get into one of those games for an inning . . . David Ortiz professed to have no idea that Jon Lester was making his spring training debut on the mound. “I just show up and get my work in and get the hell out,” he said . . . The Sox have a split-squad doubleheader Tuesday with both games at 1:05 p.m. Farrell will manage the team playing the Orioles in Sarasota. Bench coach Torey Lovullo will handle the home game against the Marlins. The Sox could make their first cuts once the doubleheader is finished.