Red Sox's Matt Barnes: Roughed up in debut
Barnes made his first appearance of spring training Saturday and allowed three runs on four hits while striking out one in an inning against the Mets.
Barnes auditioned for the role of Boston's closer, and it wasn't pretty. Three of the first four batters he faced had extra-base hits, and he wild-pitched a runner in from third base. The results weren't good, but manager Alex Cora was more focused on Barnes hitting 95 mph, Christopher Smith of MassLive.com reports. "He was throwing 85, 86 (mph) last year (early in spring training)," Cora said. "He was throwing 95 today. We're not even worried about that one. It's good that he showed he's rested, he's healthy. And from there on he'll make adjustments and start getting people out." Barnes is arguably the top candidate to occupy the ninth-inning role: While he has limited experience in such situations, the right-hander does have experience pitching in the postseason as a high-leverage, eighth-inning reliever. Cora has also mentioned Ryan Brasier (toe) as a candidate for saves.
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