Red Sox experiment with NBA-NHL-style morning workout alternative before night game

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Boston Red Sox decided to steal a page from the NBA and NHL when it came to a pregame workout before Tuesday night's game at Tampa Bay.

Several players took batting practice in the morning at an indoor facility near the team hotel instead of the standard workout on the artificial turf at Tropicana Field prior to the 6:40 p.m. start.

It didn't work. Later Tuesday, Randy Arozarena hit a three-run homer in the first, Christian Bethancourt and Yu Chang went deep back-to-back during the sixth, and the Rays doubled up the Red Sox, 8-4.

The NBA schedules morning shootarounds, while the NHL holds morning skates on most game days. Then the players show up for a short workout before the game that night.

"Today was a weird day," Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. "We hit, we got here later, avoiding the turf. Obviously there's other sports that do it but they don't play on a daily basis, right?

Cora said the team had been discussing the idea for several years and decided to give it a try because a suitable offsite facility was close to the hotel.

"Today we changed the schedule to see something that we might start next year," Cora said. "Trying a few things off the field. Trying stuff to see if it's good for the body and all that."

The hitters went through a regular routine.

"Kind of like a relaxing off the field stuff," Cora said. "Working on mechanics, it's not rushed."

And there was another benefit.

"I was able to take a nap before I got here," Cora said. "We weren't here at 1, we got here at 3:45. So, it's time management, keeping them off their feet, especially on this surface. It's something we've been thinking about for awhile and we just decided to do it here and see how it goes."