SARASOTA, Fla. -- While emphasizing that the remaining relievers aren't in a "pitch-off,'' the Red Sox had to be monitoring the work of both Matt Albers and Dennys Reyes against the O's.
Neither was particularly sharp.
Albers walked two and gave up a run. The walks were the first of the spring for Albers, who had previously made eight appearances, covering 11 1/3 innings without issuing a walk.
"I think I was just overthrowing a hair,'' he said. "I was cutting the ball off just a little bit. I wasn't missing by much. Maybe I was trying to be a little too fine and just missed down a little bit.''
"He's had good life in the [strike] zone every time he's pitched.'' said Francona. "He's been very consistent. He's done exactly what we hoped he would do.''
Albers knows roster decisions are coming, but by now is accustomed to the process.
"I've been through [last-minute roster cuts] before,'' said Albers. "The last few years in Baltimore, I didn't find out I made the team until the last couple of days. It's in the back of your head that it's coming up pretty soon, but you try to put that out of your mind and go out there and pitch.''
Reyes walked the first batter he faced, then gave up a single to Brian Roberts before getting a lineout and a double play.
"I started a little rusty because the mound in the bullpen is way too high,'' Reyes said. "I got out to the mound [in the field] and it felt like I was throwing uphill.''
Like Albers, Reyes is patiently expecting word on his fate.
"I'm waiting,'' he said. "I think I'm ready to go. Hopefully, I make it.''
Francona hinted that the Red Sox could make their final roster cuts Monday.
Tags: Boston Red Sox
The Sox have 31 players in camp, though a handful -- including Paul Hoover, Drew Sutton, Nate Spears -- have been told they won't be making the club.
Francona and many of the players will be leaving Fort Myers at 7 a.m. Monday morning for a 2 1/2-hour bus ride to Dunedin, making it difficult for the manager to meet with players who are being optioned out or releases.
But the Sox want to avoid postponing the cuts until Tuesday morning, hours before the team charters to Houston for an exhibition game en route to Friday's season opener in Arlington, Texas.
The Sox worst-ever spring losing streak stretched to 10 with a 4-3 loss to the Orioles.
J.D. Drew hit a two-run homer in the third and Drew Sutton delivered a run-scoring triple, but the Sox allowed three runs in the botom of the eighth to wipe out a 3-1 lead.
“You’re talking to a guy who cheats when he’s playing his kids in Monopoly,'' said Francona, "so I want to win. But we wouldn’t have brought in [minor-league pitcher Santos) Luis [who gave up with the winning runs, if it had been a crucial game]. You try and do what you’re supposed to do, and you always just want to play the game right. I think we would all rather win than lose. I don’t think it’s creating an atmosphere of panic.”
Jason Varitek caught Jon Lester in the camp game and went 0-for-3 . . .
Lester's pitching line in the camp game: 5 IP, 9 H, 5 R 4 ER, 0 BB, 5 K. 77 pitches, 50 strikes . . . Kevin Youkilis and Carl Crawford will play in a minor-league game there Monday . . . John Lackey will make his final start of the spring in Dunedin agaist the Blue Jays while Jonathan Papelbon and Daniel Bard will pitch in a minor-league game in Fort Myers.
Sean McAdam can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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