FORT MYERS, Fla.
Jon Lester and Jeff Locke each pitched four solid innings. Steven Wright still has some fine-tuning ahead.
Lester, projected to start for the Red Sox on opening day, gave up one run Wednesday in Boston’s 9-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Lester allowed two hits and three walks while striking out three.
“Good four innings of work today,” Boston manager John Farrell said. “I thought he used his curveball a little more today than he had in the previous two outings, part by design, part by some of the situations that arose. Might not have been as sharp as his last time out. But still, 52 pitches in four innings, a good day of work.”
Locke faced the Red Sox for the second straight start. He permitted one run on three hits and two walks with three strikeouts.
“Today was kind of just like last week, but it went a lot better,” the lefty said. “I was able to throw more pitches in the strike zone and keep the ball down a lot better. There were some pretty well-stroked balls, but that’s just a part of baseball.
“For me, personally, with it being spring training and you’re preparing yourself for the season, it was definitely a step in the right direction today. I mixed up my pitches and I was able to get quality work from the windup and the stretch,” he said.
Manager Clint Hurdle was satisfied.
“The fact that he made pitches, he stayed away from the big inning, they scratched him for the one run, no more damage than that, he went out there four times, it was a good step forward for him,” Hurdle said.
Wright permitted five runs on five hits and three walks in two innings. He was watched by former Boston knuckleballer Tim Wakefield, who started out as an infielder in the Pirates’ organization before becoming a pitcher.
Wright realized during his outing he was having a problem with his mechanics, something he was able to discuss with Wakefield as soon as he came out.