CLEARWATER, Fla. — Red Sox rookie Jackie Bradley Jr. has impressed plenty of people this spring. Cliff Lee was no different.
Chase Utley and Ryan Howard hit back-to-back home runs for the second consecutive day, but Bradley and the Boston Red Sox touched up Lee in a 7-6 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies yesterday.
Bradley hit a three-run homer in the second inning and finished with four RBIs. He had a sacrifice fly in the third as Boston scored three more times off Lee, the 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner.
“It feels good,” Bradley said. “He’s a very great pitcher and I’m just trying to stick with my approach and get something good to swing at.”
Bradley continued his spirited play in his first major league camp. The 40th overall pick in the 2011 draft, he is batting .423 (22 for 52) with two homers, four doubles and nine RBIs in 23 games this spring.
“It looked to me like he has a pretty good swing, especially left on left,” Lee said. “He stays in there pretty good. It looks like he’s got some talent to me.”
Lee was making his final start in Florida before the Phillies break camp later this week. He will pitch in an exhibition game Friday in Philadelphia before taking his first turn in the regular season at Atlanta next week.
“I feel good about it,” Lee said. “I’m ready to get up to Philly and play in some real games. It’s been a good spring. I feel strong and I’m ready to go.”
The ace left-hander allowed six runs — four earned — and nine hits in 5 1-3 innings. He struck out seven and didn’t walk a batter.
“I got in trouble today throwing too many fastballs and cutters,” Lee said. “I felt like things started to improve when I threw my changeup and curveball more. Those are two pitches I definitely need to throw more and get more comfortable with. I think I figured that out today.”