BRADENTON, Fla. — That right fielder who made a nice running catch for the Red Sox in the fourth inning Tuesday was Christian Arroyo, who has spent his entire professional career as an infielder.
Two other career infielders, Jonathan Araúz and Bobby Dalbec, will start learning some rudimentary outfield skills from bench coach Will Venable Wednesday.
“We have to prepare ourselves for anything,” manager Alex Cora said. “You never know what can happen in a game. Getting Bobby some reps there is good.”
Dalbec started at third base in Tuesday’s 6-2 loss to the Pirates. He’s been a corner infielder since being drafted in 2016, but the Sox trust him at second base even though he doesn’t look the part at 6 feet 4 inches, 225 pounds.
“I’m open to whatever they want,” said Dalbec, who understands that defensive versatility can lead to more at-bats.
For now, Dalbec is likely to be the Opening Day first baseman, and if he runs with the job, he won’t have to worry about smacking into the Green Monster. But Cora has come to value options after all the juggling the Sox had to do last season.
Cora also identified Arroyo and Christian Vazquez as potential backups at first base. If he makes the team, Travis Shaw would have the job.
Vazquez has played 65 innings at first base in his career. That’s a wealth of experience these days.
That Nick Pivetta allowed two solo home runs didn’t bother him. That happens at small, windswept spring training ballparks. The three walks in four innings were the problem.
“Walks are frustrating,” he said. “I wasn’t my best today.”
That Pivetta pitched into the fifth inning and threw 77 pitches was all Cora cared about. His No. 2 starter has one more game before facing the Yankees when it counts April 9.
“Hopefully we can be a little bit cleaner,” the manager said.
Lefthander Jake Diekman, who was signed to a two-year, $8 million deal this month, continued to struggle. He hit a batter leading off the bottom of the sixth, walked another with one out, then gave up a home run to the No. 9 hitter, Kevin Newman.
“He’s all over the place right now,” Cora said. “Not throwing enough strikes. He’ll get it right. His stuff is still there. Nothing to worry about.”
Diekman has allowed seven runs on four hits and five walks over 3⅔ innings.
Kutter Crawford, a righthander who turns 26 Sunday, went two scoreless innings and struck out five with one walk.
Two bites of the Apple
Apple TV+ has picked up two Red Sox games so far: May 6 vs. the White Sox and May 27 at Baltimore. Those games will be exclusive to Apple as part of a new deal with Major League Baseball.
Per Apple, the games will be free for a limited time to anyone with Internet access.
Yankees set rotation
Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Gerrit Cole, Luis Severino, and Jordan Montgomery would face the Red Sox in the first series … The Sox had an infield of Triston Casas (first base), Nick Yorke (second base), Marcelo Mayer (shortstop), and Alex Binelas (third base) for the last two innings. Casas, Yorke, and Mayer were first-round picks. Yorke drew a walk in the ninth inning and scored on a home run by another prospect, 21-year-old outfielder Ceddanne Rafaela. “You start looking at the future, but obviously we live in the present,” Cora said … Pedro Martinez arrived in camp … Old friend Heath Hembree pitched a scoreless seventh inning for the Pirates. Hembree signed a one-year, $2.1 million deal with Pittsburgh and is a good bet to be traded if he pitches well. Hembree was with the Sox from 2014-20 and had an adjusted ERA of 123. He was traded to the Phillies in 2020 and has since pitched for the Reds and Mets … Xander Bogaerts and Trevor Story were at the Rays complex in Port Charlotte, Fla., to get some extra at-bats with the Double A and Triple A teams in their games … Single-game tickets for June and July will go on sale Thursday at 10 a.m. at redsox.com/tickets … The Sox are planning to honor David Ortiz before the July 26 game against the Guardians. His Hall of Fame induction is July 24.