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Justin Turner gets back in the batter’s box for first time since being struck in the face

Justin Turner was hit in the face with a pitch while batting against the Tigers March 6.Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

FORT MYERS, Fla. — For the first time since he required 16 stitches after taking a fastball in the face March 6, Justin Turner stepped into a batter’s box against a pitcher Friday.

The circumstances were controlled, with Turner tracking pitches rather than swinging at offerings from teammates Nick Pivetta and Garrett Whitlock during their bullpen sessions. Even so, it was a meaningful step forward, and a potential prelude to hitting on the field Saturday and a return to games Monday.

“Obviously I want to get out there as soon as I can,” said Turner. “So, just making sure I check all the boxes with the staff, the training staff, and the strength guys. As soon as they say go, I’ll be ready to get back out there.”


One impediment to Turner’s return had been the team’s desire for the designated hitter/corner infielder to stay out of the sun while the scar on his lip healed.

“Essentially, what I was told is the biggest effect on long-term scarring is being in the sun for many hours,” said Turner. “So that’s what I’m trying to avoid and they’re also trying to make sure it fully closes and heals up before I get extended exposure. But I’m sure I’ll have something on it, something covering it up. I’ll look like a lifeguard maybe.”

In addition to the healing scar on his lip and a black eye, the frightening HBP has altered one other aspect of Turner’s on-field appearance. When tracking pitches Friday, he wore a protective “C-flap” on his batting helmet — something that other players employ but that Turner has resisted.

“I just was never really a big fan of it,” he said. “I don’t like having the visual of it in my sightline. We’re going to find out soon if I really like it or I really don’t like it.”


Long-term plans?

In January, first baseman Triston Casas expressed his openness to a long-term deal with the Red Sox. Two months later, the baseball calendar is at a point where such deals sometimes come to fruition.

In recent days, catcher Keibert Ruiz, with just over a year of big league service time, inked an eight-year, $50 million deal with the Nationals, while rookie outfielder Corbin Carroll received an eight-year, $111 million deal from the Diamondbacks.

But with just under two weeks left before the start of the season, Casas said he was unaware of any talks with the club about a long-term deal.

“I can’t say I’m waiting on it,” said Casas, “because it’s not one of those things that you ever want to anticipate like, ‘Oh, when are they going to ask me about it?’

Triston Casas is 14 for 36 this spring with a pair of home runs.Stan Grossfeld/Globe Staff

“I’m definitely interested, of course. I love the organization from top to bottom, everybody here. I think everybody knows that I get along with my teammates and everybody in between. And I’d love to spend a lot of time here for sure.

“I definitely would love to spend the rest of my career here.”

Back in camp

Third baseman Rafael Devers (Dominican Republic), lefthander Richard Bleier (Israel), and catcher Jorge Alfaro (Colombia) rejoined the Red Sox after their teams were eliminated from the World Baseball Classic. Infielder Yu Chang continues to work through visa issues but is expected soon … With Kiké Hernández (Puerto Rico) and Chang gone, Bobby Dalbec started his third straight game at shortstop Friday. He went 1 for 3 with a triple … While the Red Sox wore green caps in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, they did not wear the customary green jerseys. According to a team spokesperson, Nike no longer produces the green jerseys for teams.


Getting in the game

Righthander Brayan Bello is expected to pitch a pair of innings against the Phillies in Clearwater Sunday, his first game action of the spring … Catcher Connor Wong (hamstring) could return to games by the end of next week … Trevor Story took ground balls on the field for the third time this spring. He still hasn’t been cleared to throw while recovering from internal brace surgery on his right elbow. Notably, after he worked exclusively at second base last spring while preparing for a position shift, he’s taking grounders solely at shortstop … Middle infielder Adalberto Mondesi, who underwent surgery to repair a torn ACL last May, is unlikely to be ready to take part in spring training games before camp breaks March 28 … Recent first-rounders Mikey Romero (2022) and Nick Yorke (2021) have been held out of the start of minor league spring training games while working through minor back soreness. Both infielders are expected to see game activity relatively soon … The Single A Salem Red Sox are being sold by Fenway Sports Group to Diamond Baseball Holdings, which also counts the Double A Portland Sea Dogs among its 16 minor league franchises. The team will remain in its Virginia location and operate under its current management staff.


Mexico advances

Alex Verdugo was 1 for 3 (RBI single) with a walk to help Mexico defeat Puerto Rico, 5-4, in a WBC quarterfinal game in Miami. Mexico will face Japan in the semifinals Monday.

Puerto Rico led 4-2 before Mexico scored three runs in the seventh inning. Verdugo scored the go-ahead run on a single by Luis Urias.

Jarren Duran entered the game as a defensive replacement for Verdugo in right field in the ninth inning.

Kiké Hernández was 0 for 4 with a walk for Puerto Rico. He struck out looking with two runners on to end the game.

Peter Abraham contributed to this report.

Alex Speier can be reached at alex.speier@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @alexspeier.