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Hirokazu Sawamura’s early outings aren’t encouraging, but Red Sox expected an adjustment period

Japanese League veteran Hirokazu Sawamura signed a two-year deal with the Red Sox last month.John Bazemore

FORT MYERS, Fla. — There were sure to be adjustments for Hirokazu Sawamura coming to the majors after 10 seasons pitching professionally in Japan.

They are playing out in spring training.

For the second time in as many appearances, Sawamura was unable to finish an inning. The new Red Sox righthander threw 32 pitches and allowed a run against Tampa Bay Monday before manager Alex Cora came to get him.

In two appearances, Sawamura has walked six of the 11 batters he faced and allowed two hits while striking out three.

“I think I’m at the bottom right now,” Sawamura said via an interpreter. “So all I have to do is just go out there and execute.”


Sawamura inherited a 2-1 lead and quickly loaded the bases on a double and two walks. He came back to strike out Randy Arozarena on a 95-mile-per-hour fastball before punching out Brandon Lowe on a splitter that dove at the plate.

With a chance to escape, Sawamura got ahead of Yandy Diaz but walked him on a full-count slider.

“Obviously it’s not what we want,” Cora said. “But at the same time, it’s just his second outing. There’s an adjustment period. We know it’s not as easy as people think.”

Sawamura acknowledged that he is perhaps being too respectful of hitters and needs to challenge them with pitches over the plate.

“These could be just excuses for me,” he said. “I have to get used to it.”

Pivetta looks sharp

Nick Pivetta is locking down his rotation spot. The righthander allowed one run over four innings and struck out four with one walk. Through three starts, Pivetta has given up three runs in nine innings and struck out eight with one walk.

“I’m happy with how everything is going,” he said. “I think I need to work on my first innings and come out a little bit better.”


Nick Pivetta delivers against the Rays Monday.John Bazemore

Pivetta is clearly pleased to be with the Sox after what at times was a rocky tenure with the Phillies.

“It was just getting back to who I am,” the 28-year-old said. “I’m settling in really well. It’s been really, really positive the whole way through. They’re kind of just letting me do my own thing in the gym and with my routine.”

Santana hospitalized

Utility player Danny Santana, who signed with the Red Sox earlier this month, has been hospitalized for two days with an infected right foot.

The 30-year-old is receiving intravenous antibiotics.

“It got bad two days ago,” Cora said. “It’s going to take a while now for him to get going. Let’s hope that this is controllable and he’s going to be back with us hopefully sooner rather than later.”

Santana was signed to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. He is recovering from offseason surgery on his right elbow.

Left turn for González

Franchy Cordero is making progress, but it seems clear he’ll open the season on the injured list and the Sox will need a left fielder. That’s where Marwin González will fit.

“If Opening Day were tomorrow, Marwin would be getting more of the at-bats in left field,” Cora said.

González has played only seven innings in left field in camp but that will soon pick up. The Sox also could work J.D. Martinez into that spot more than first planned.


Martinez started the last two Grapefruit League games in left. He was run ragged a bit Sunday, and Monday he overran a single for what should have been an error when the runner advanced.

Marwin González could be in for more work in left field this spring.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

“It’s good for him to play out there,” Cora said. “He’s another option. I’m not afraid to put him in the outfield in certain situations. He makes good decisions; he takes good routes. He’s just a big body over there. It’s good for him to move around.”

The Sox would prefer to use Kiké Hernández in center when he plays the outfield. Alex Verdugo will play center and right.

Closing time

The plan is to name either Matt Barnes or Adam Ottavino as the closer at least a few days before breaking camp March 30. That will give the bullpen group time to settle into their roles ahead of the regular season … Xander Bogaerts is scheduled to DH again Tuesday and could play shortstop in a game for the first time Wednesday. He has been recovering from a sore right shoulder … The Sox and Twins scheduled a B game for Wednesday. Cordero will be among the players getting at-bats … Infield prospect Jeter Downs, who left Sunday’s game after taking a tumble while making a play at shortstop, doesn’t have a serious injury based on the initial exams.

Peter Abraham can be reached at peter.abraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.