JUPITER, Fla. -- Xander Bogaerts felt he'd run into some bad luck early in the Grapefruit League season, seeing hard-hit balls turn into outs. He had no such problem in his third and final plate appearance of Wednesday's 8-6 loss to the Cardinals.
Bogaerts walloped a pitch from right-hander Angel Castro way over the left-field wall at Roger Dean Stadium, good for his first home run of the spring.
"I hit a lot of line drives at people, so it's good to get one where nobody's at," Bogaerts said.
The 21-year-old got the start at shortstop and struck out in his first at-bat, but then drew a walk before going deep in the sixth inning. That made him 3-for-9 this spring.
"It's been good so far," Bogaerts said of his swing. "Camp is early. I had a timing issue at the beginning, I made an adjustment to let the ball travel. I was going to get the ball instead of letting it come to me. I felt good."
Set for an everyday role after making an impact late last season and in the playoffs, Bogaerts has impressed manager John Farrell.
"Xander's swung the bat really well in Spring Training," Farrell said. "Even the other day, a couple hard lineouts. He looks very comfortable at the plate. He's an exciting young player, and we're going to need production out of him to accomplish what we set out to do as a team."
Red Sox involved in first replay experience
JUPITER, Fla. -- The Red Sox had their first encounter with Major League Baseball's new instant replay system during Wednesday's 8-6 Grapefruit League loss to the Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium. MLB has selected certain games throughout Spring Training in which to test the system.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, the Cardinals' Stephen Piscotty hit a comebacker to Noe Ramirez, who started an inning-ending 1-4-3 double play by firing to second baseman Heiker Meneses. St. Louis runner Joey Butler was called out at second, a ruling which manager Mike Matheny asked the umpires to review.
Crew chief Jerry Meals put on a headset to communicate with an additional umpire watching the replay from a truck, and the out call was confirmed. The entire process, beginning with Matheny emerging from the dugout, took less than two minutes.
In the meantime, the Red Sox defenders left the field, and the Cardinals' next reliever came onto it. Neither is supposed to happen.
"You know, the awkwardness is gonna be that inning-ending play," manager John Farrell said. "What we've been informed is that the umpires will hold the defensive team on the field. We came off the field.
"If you've got to call a team out of the dugout, particularly a pitcher, they're trying to avoid that delay for a pitcher having to go into the dugout and sit. But it's a work in progress. We're just seeing it for the first time."
In Spring Training, managers are allowed an unlimited number of challenges in selected games to practice the procedure. During the regular season, managers will have at least one challenge to use. If any portion of a challenged play is overturned, then the manager who challenged the play will retain the ability to challenge one more play during the game. No manager may challenge more than two plays in a game. Once the manager has exhausted his ability to challenge plays during the game and after the beginning of the seventh inning, the crew chief may choose to invoke instant replay on any reviewable call.
Starters advancing toward Grapefruit debuts
JUPITER, Fla. -- Three-fifths of the Red Sox's starting rotation is moving closer to appearing in the Grapefruit League.
Left-hander Jon Lester threw a 38-pitch, three-inning simulated game against Minor Leaguers back at the team's complex in Fort Myers, Fla., on Wednesday morning, while the team sent a contingent to face the Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium. He is set to make his Spring Training debut on Monday against the Rays, with manager John Farrell saying he would be on track to throw three to four innings and 55 to 60 pitches.
Lester, who threw in front of pitching coach Juan Nieves, took a one-hopper off his heel at one point but is "fine," according to Farrell.
Righty John Lackey will throw his own simulated game on Thursday, and if all goes well, he also will be cleared for game action.
Righty Jake Peavy, who has been dealing with a laceration on his left index finger, went through a bullpen session.
"We're still in that period where we're trying to be careful with how much he sweats and the potential for infection there," Farrell said. "Everything's still on course with him."
Farrell had said Tuesday that if Peavy needed to begin the season on the disabled list, lefty Chris Capuano or righty Brandon Workman would be the most likely replacements. Capuano got the start on Wednesday, his Red Sox debut.
Red Sox not dwelling on WS rematch with Cards
JUPITER, Fla. -- The Red Sox made the trip to Roger Dean Stadium on Wednesday to face the Cardinals in a Grapefruit League contest. The stakes were a bit lower than the last time the clubs met, when Boston finished off the World Series on Oct. 30 at Fenway Park.
In the interim, both teams have made significant additions and subtractions, with reliever Edward Mujica moving from the Cardinals to the Sox.
Before Wednesday's game, Boston manager John Farrell acknowledged the significance of the day's opponent but also insisted that his club's focus is directed inward.
"There's a rich history between these two organizations, and a recent one, obviously," Farrell said. "They've got a great franchise, a great team, and yet we have some things we have to focus on with our own guys.
"That's where our attention has been from Day 1 of Spring Training, the things we need to set mentally, physically and fundamentally with a team and individuals inside that. I think everyone in the baseball world is going to look at this and say this is the first time they've played since the last game of last year, but in our dugout and in our minds, we've got a lot of work to do before we break camp."
• After an impressive Grapefruit League debut, right-hander Anthony Ranaudo endured a tough outing on Wednesday, giving up five runs (three earned) in 1 1/3 innings. He allowed six hits and walked two, although his defense didn't give him much help. The 24-year-old was having trouble repeating his delivery and harnessing his breaking ball.
"I should have just trusted my stuff and done a better job of just being aggressive and going after guys and keeping my mindset the whole time even when things were kind of getting out of whack," he said. "I should have trusted my delivery and been aggressive."
• Outfielder Daniel Nava, one of the top candidates to draw assignments in the leadoff spot this season, started there on Wednesday and jump started the offense with a home run to right field off Shelby Miller. Nava now has homered from both sides of the plate this spring.
• Catchers David Ross and A.J. Pierzynski, both dealing with minor left foot injuries, are "making progress," according to Farrell. Ross is slated to be back in the lineup on Friday, with the club targeting a Saturday return for Pierzynski.