BRADENTON, Fla. -- Lars Anderson went hitless in all 18 of his spring training at-bats last season and was in the first group of players cut by the Red Sox in camp. When I talked to him about that at Triple-A Pawtucket last summer, asking him if it had caused him to lose any sleep, he looked at me dismissively.
"Why would it do that?'' he said. "It's only spring training.''
So much for feeling the urge to make a good first impression.
This spring, Anderson survived the first round of cuts, and Sunday afternoon, he hit his second home run of the spring, a solo shot off former Yankee Jeff Karstens. The left-handed first baseman also hit an opposite-field single. Overall, he's batting .182, but hey, it's only spring training.
Still, manager Terry Francona offered some positive feedback on Anderson's performance.
"When he first came, he was a little ill at ease,'' Francona said, "and he's kind of growing into it. I think he's a smart enough kid to know that even though Gonzy [Adrian Gonzalez] is here, if he goes out and does what he needs to do .... You don't see too often guys who are supposed to be in the big leagues that aren't.
"Things have a way of working out. He knows he needs to go and play.''
Only spring training?
"He plays first base,'' Francona said. "You gotta hear some noise. He's starting to show that.''