FORT MYERS, Fla. — Northeastern righthander Aaron Civale, a sophomore from East Windsor, Conn., did not learn until Monday night that he would be facing the Red Sox on Tuesday afternoon.
“I was nervous,” he said. “But I really didn’t have much time to think about it.”
His anxiety ticked up a bit when he got to JetBlue Park and saw the Sox were using what could be their Opening Day lineup.
After Mookie Betts came Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, Hanley Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval, Mike Napoli, and Shane Victorino. Civale would face six All-Stars in a row.
“David Ortiz, I mean the guy is a legendary player,” said Civale, who grew up a Red Sox fan. “It was kind of humbling to face him.”
Civale turned that around. He faced eight batters and struck out four of them, including Ortiz.
“It was unbelievable,” said Civale, who also struck out Ramirez, Napoli, and Xander Bogaerts. “It’s a big confidence boost.”
The Red Sox won the game, 2-1. But the talk afterward was about how well Civale pitched.
“Obviously he didn’t back away from the name on the jersey,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “He had a good late cutter and attacked the strike zone. From just a sheer baseball standpoint, it was good to see.”
Civale had pitched four times in relief this season, allowing one earned run over 4⅔ innings.
His next game will probably be against Central Connecticut State.
“I was hoping I’d get a chance to face the Sox,” Civale said. “It went way better than I could have hoped.”
Video: Sights & Sounds from Red Sox Spring Training
On the clock
There was a clock installed at JetBlue Park in center field that counted down the time between innings. It’s part of the new policies in Major League Baseball this season to improve the pace of play. The clock counted down from 2:25. Under the rules, leadoff hitters in each inning are supposed to be in the box by the time 20 seconds are left. That wasn’t a problem throughout the game. Rick Porcello went two innings in the first game of the doubleheader and he said he didn’t notice the clock. Farrell said his understanding is that Major League Baseball would place greater emphasis on controlling the time between innings and less on other new polices, including whether the batter keeps a foot in the box after taking a pitch.
Tribute to Frates
Red Sox and Boston College players all wore No. 3 in the second game as a tribute to former Eagles captain Pete Frates, who is battling ALS. The jerseys will be auctioned off for the Pete Frates No. 3 Fund. Frates was unable to attend but his wife, daughter, and parents did. They have all become close to members of the Red Sox organization. “You witness someone who has dealt with an unfortunate situation and challenge that he’s dealing with and the family is dealing with,” Farrell said. “To see the way they’ve handled it, with grace, with a heightened awareness . . . incredible. I don’t know how you can’t take inspiration.”
Waiting on Moncada
The Red Sox agreed to terms with 19-year-old Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada on a record-setting $31.5 million signing bonus Feb. 23. But the deal has not yet been made official. General manager Ben Cherington said there are no roadblocks, only that some more time is needed. Agent David Hastings said the sides were waiting for the results of a medical test to come back. He hopes Moncada will sign by the end of the week or early next week . . . Lefthander Eduardo Rodriguez, 21, pitched a perfect inning against Northeastern. “He’s been impressive every time he’s put a ball in his hand,” Farrell said. “Good-looking pitcher.” . . . Daniel Nava, who may give up switch hitting, twice batted lefthanded against lefthander Carmen Giampetruzzi in the second game. He struck out and grounded to the pitcher . . . Fenway Park will host the Baseball Beanpot on April 22. Boston College, Harvard, Northeastern, and UMass will participate in the doubleheader, which starts at 3 p.m. Tickets are $10 with net proceeds going to the Pete Frates No. 3 Fund. Seats are on sale at redsox.com/beanpot or by calling 877-redsox9.Peter Abraham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.