FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Good morning from the Fort, where you can call off the dogs -- Shane Victorino is not going to go 0 for practice ball, after all.
Not that anyone was worried, but the Red, White and Blue Hawaiian collected his first two hits of spring Wednesday night in Team USA’s 8-7 loss to the Colorado Rockies. Victorino, who entered the game as a pinch hitter for Joe Mauer and also played some center field, stole his first base as well.
Team USA took a 7-2 lead into the ninth before the Rockies rallied against some minor-league pitchers borrowed for the occasion. The WBC begins for real for USA on Friday, when they meet Mexico, a potential opportunity for Victorino to bat against Red Sox teammates Alfredo Aceves and Oscar Villareal (non-roster invitee).
Before he left, Victorino told us how he’d gotten an invitation from another country to play for its team in the WBC. “I had to tell them I wasn’t Italian,’’ Victorino said.
Xander Bogaerts swings back into action Thursday night, when Team Netherlands faces Cuba in a second-round game in Tokyo. Bogaerts was on the 2011 Dutch national team that shocked Cuba in the finals of the World Baseball Cup but did not play in the finals. He has started all three games at third base so far for Netherlands.
Jose De La Torre, a nonroster invitee, will be in the bullpen when Puerto Rico plays its first game Friday against Spain.
The Sox make the short bus ride to Hammond Stadium today to play the Twins. Clay Buchholz is scheduled to start, followed by top prospect Allen Webster, who has pitched to great reviews here. Koji Uehara and Joel Hanrahan are also scheduled to work, and Daniel Bard will make only his second appearance of the spring, the reliever having been kept on side sessions and a simulated game while new pitching coach Juan Nieves tweaks his stride.
* There may be a consolation prize awaiting the loser of the competition at first base between Mike Carp, the former Mariner acquired earlier this spring, and the well-traveled Lyle Overbay, who is here as a non-roster invitee. With Mark Teixeira now reported to miss at least 10 weeks with a strained wrist, the Bombers figure to check out Carp and Overbay, who on March 26 can opt out of his deal with the Red Sox.