ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Red Sox expected their new player to steal some bases this season.
They just didn’t think it would be Adrian Gonzalez.
The Red Sox first baseman, who announced upon his arrival in spring training that he was off the charts on the slowness meter -- slower even than last year’s catcher, Victor Martinez -- stole second base in the third inning Friday against the Texas Rangers.
It was the second stolen base of his career, and naturally there were extenuating circumstances. There were two outs, two strikes and the Rangers were overshifted on David Ortiz and not holding Gonzalez on first base. Still, Gonzalez said, “I was surprised when Tito gave me the sign.’’
The only other time Gonzalez was credited with a stolen base, the first baseman also did not hold him on. The catcher, in both instances, was Yorvit Torrealba. Gonzalez said he reminded the catcher of that fact.
“That’s why I like you so much,’’ Gonzalez said he told Torrealba, who used to be with the Rockies.
The stolen base, of course, was a novelty. Gonzalez also delivered what the Sox were expecting when they traded for him last December: an RBI single in the first and a two-run, bases-loaded single in the third, when he stayed with a tough slider off the plate from lefty C.J. Wilson and whistled it right up the middle.
He also made a number of deft pickups of low throws, drawing praise from last season’s first baseman, Kevin Youkilis.
“Great game,’’ Youkilis said. “He had a good game, swung the bat well. Good thing. That’s what we brought him in for -- be that guy in the middle of the lineup to drive in runs and have good at-bats, pick it over there at first, too.
Gonzalez wasn’t inclined to elaborate on his performance, other than to say that he felt like he was able to do some good things.
“We lost the game, that’s all that matters,’’ he said. “The focus is coming out tomorrow and winning the game."