SARASOTA, Fla. -- Before Friday’s 3-3 tie against the Orioles, Bryce Brentz wouldn’t mention names but he admitted being the source of plenty of jokes this spring. Considering the alternative, he doesn’t mind the ribbing.
In January, the Boston Red Sox outfield prospect was just weeks away from beginning his first big-league camp when he accidentally shot himself. The bullet went through his left hip without significantly injuring him.
“Lucky, to say the least,” said Brentz, who was the starting right fielder Friday in Boston’s split-squad game against the Baltimore Orioles. “My teammates have had a whole lot of fun with it, though. As players, we all have fun with it. A couple handshakes going on with it now, names for it, all kinds of stuff. Of course, the players are going to have a lot of fun with it. I know I got lucky, though.”
Brentz understands what type of opportunity he had this spring, but he doesn’t consider the missed time completely lost. He was called up from minor league camp for a start in Friday’s contest and, according to Red Sox manager John Farrell, he will make another appearance on Saturday against the Tampa Bay Rays.
“Of course, you want to make a good impression in your first big-league camp and you have something like this happen,” said Brentz, who hit a combined .290 with 17 home runs and 76 RBIs last season in Double-A and Triple-A. “I just want to do what I came to do now. Hopefully, I can impress them today.”
In his second at-bat Friday, facing Luis Ayala, a pitcher with eight years experience in the Majors who has allowed 52 home runs in 521 1/3 innings, the 24-year-old Brentz did just that, ripping a solo shot over the wall in left-center. With an 0-2 count, no less.
“He’s a sinker guy and he threw a slider, then he threw a split, then a guy like that you just have to stick with one location and I was looking for the sinker and it didn’t really sink that much, left it up and I just put a good swing on it,” said Brentz, who was drafted by Boston in the first round of the 2010 draft.
Brentz will most likely start the season in Pawtucket, but the Tennessee native appreciates where is now.
“It’s a good chance to be up and to be able to play, and to make an impact is a great thing,” Brentz said. “It feels like I’m on track. Everything feels good.”
* Clayton Mortensen pitched three scoreless innings in his first spring start. Mortensen tossed 46 pitches, 27 for strikes, giving up two hits and striking out one.
“It was interesting going back to an old routine considering it was my first start in over a year,” said Mortensen, whose last start came in 2011 with the Colorado Rockies. “But it was good to get out there and stretch myself. My particular role this year could involve many things, possibly a spot start in the future. It was good to get out there and do well.”
Mortensen went 1-1 with a 3.21 ERA in 26 relief appearances last season with the Red Sox. He walked 19 and struck out 41 over 42.0 innings.
“He pitches to get outs and he’s not afraid to attack the zone,” Farrell said. “He has a chance to get into the rhythm of the game, which is very good for him and us.”
* Mitch Maier, who started in left field, made an impressive diving catch on a line drive by J.J. Hardy in the second inning. In doing so, the right-handed-throwing Maier rolled on his glove hand, prompting Farrell and the Red Sox trainer to hustle out to inspect him. Maier stayed in the game and singled to lead off the third, but was replaced by Juan Carlos Linares when the frame ended.
“I feel like I jammed it and kind of rolled it under me,” said Maier, 30, who appeared in 360 games over six seasons with the Kansas City Royals before being signed to a minor league deal with Boston in the offseason. “It didn’t feel great (in the at-bat) because I got jammed. I wanted to give it a go, but since it was spring training, they didn’t want me to keep going out there.”
Farrell said Maier will have X-rays performed when he returns to Fort Myers.
* Linares hit his second homer of the spring, a solo shot off Orioles minor league pitching prospect Clayton Schrader to break up a 1-1 tie in the ninth inning.
* Left-handed pitching prospect Chris Hernandez looked impressive with 3 1/3 perfect innings and one strikeout.
* Red Sox catching prospect Christian Vazquez was at it again, throwing out another runner trying to steal base. The put-out makes him 5-for-5 this spring.
* Ryan Lavarnway went 0-for-5 with one strikeout as the designated hitter.
* The Orioles have traded minor league infielder Michael Flacco, (brother of Joe) to the Red Sox for cash considerations or a player to be named later. Flacco is 26 and hit .218 last year for Class-A Frederick.
"The Orioles have more corner players than spots in our system and the Sox had interest in Mike Flacco so we thought it was a match," said Orioles GM Dan Duquette.
* The Red Sox helped the Orioles produce a sellout crowd of 8,100 at Ed White Stadium in Sarasota.