FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — Daisuke Matsuzaka made his first appearance of spring training, coming on in relief of starter Tim Wakefield, and the Boston Red Sox beat the Florida Marlins 6-4 on Thursday.
"I thought the biggest good thing was that (Matsuzaka) got out there and he stayed in his delivery. I think you're going to see more come out of his arm, I certainly believe," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona.
Matsuzaka, whose spring has been delayed by back and neck ailments, pitched two innings, giving up a run on two hits. He said he was not working at maximum effort.
"If that was 100 percent, I'd be in trouble," he said. "But really with today being my first game I was thinking about how to approach it and I think the most important thing for me was to get into that game mindset and facing an opposing team and facing the live hitters out there today."
Wakefield allowed three runs on six hits with five strikeouts and two walks in six innings. All the runs he gave up came in his final inning, when he faced seven batters and gave up a two-run homer to Dan Uggla. Later in the inning, Mike Lamb's double scored John Baker, who had walked.
"I thought in the last innings, I thought (with) the ups and downs, he was a little tired, which was OK," Francona said. "But to that point I thought he was really good. Threw strikes. He continues to get ready."
Wakefield had surgery in the offseason to repair a herniated disc in his back.
"Physically, I felt great," he said. "I think I had a little more energy my last start. Just got tired in that last inning. I think two long innings prior to that, and I didn't have the sharpness on my knuckleball there in the sixth and they were able to get a couple of runs there. Other than that, I feel great, and looking forward to starting the season."
In his fifth start of the spring, Chris Volstad went 4 1-3 innings for Florida, giving up four runs — one earned — on eight hits with three strikeouts and no walks.
"I thought he did OK," Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "He got some balls up in the strike zone, they hit it, but that's a good lineup.
Brian Barden went 2 for 4 for the Marlins and is hitting .357 this spring.
Jeremy Hermida went 2 for 2 for Boston and is batting .432 with a .622 slugging percentage and .488 on-base percentage.
NOTES: RHP Boof Bonser, who revealed soreness in his right groin after his March 22 start against the Rays, is expected to throw in a bullpen session Friday. ... Gonzalez said he could have Florida's rotation set by Sunday to get his starting pitchers into a routine with about a week left before the start of the season. "Yeah, if it's possible," he said. "I'd like to clear it up by the earliest Sunday and no later by middle of week." ... OF Cody Ross, who has been limited by several injuries this spring, including to his thumb, groin, and calf, is now hampered by a cramp in his right calf. He was expected to hit Thursday and hopes to play Friday.