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David Ortiz, Mike Napoli return to lineup as Red Sox beat Twins 5-4

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FORT MYERS, Florida — David Ortiz was 0 for 3 in his return to Boston's lineup after a nine-day absence, and the Red Sox beat the Minnesota Twins 5-4 Thursday.

Bothered by a cold and dehydration, Ortiz had not played since March 16. Ortiz struck out, grounded into a forceout and popped out against Tommy Milone, dropping his average to .222 (4 for 18).

The main thing for Ortiz, though, was getting back into a game.

"I'm trying to get the feeling back," Ortiz said.

His focus is working on his timing rather than on his spring statistics.

"That's what the game is all about," Ortiz said. "Don't worry about that now. Worry about making sure the wheels are what we want them to be.'

He felt better about his wheels after a third-inning ground ball to second base that looked as if it might become a double play. Ortiz, though, hustled down the line and beat the relay throw to first from Twins shortstop Danny Santana.

"That's kind of a test that I want to get through," Ortiz said.

Red Sox manager John Farrell was also encouraged by the way Ortiz ran.

"He got down the line well," Farrell said. "Kept from being doubled up. I think it's an indication that the soreness he's been dealing with he's feeling better."

The Red Sox are focused on having Ortiz and Mike Napoli ready for the season opener at Philadelphia on April 6. Napoli played for the first time March 18 and went 1 for 2 and scored a run. He had been sidelined with a sore right ankle.

"We've got 10 days remaining where they're going to get ample at bats before we break here," Farrell said. "The next step back after a little bit of down time for both is and I think it will be good to get continuity in our lineup."

Rusney Castillo hit a 10th-inning home run off Jake Reed. Castillo, who signed a $72.5 million, seven-year contract, has two homers in spring training.

Mookie Betts hit his seventh double, walked and scored a run.

Red Sox starter Wade Miley allowed three runs and four hits in six innings, struck out four and walked one. Milone gave up three runs and six hits in five innings.


LEADING OFF

Twins: Paul Molitor on LF Oswaldo Arcia not running hard out of the box on a seventh-inning triple: "Maybe he thought he got it. Maybe he lost it. That thing was up there. Was able to get to third, which was good."

Red Sox: OF Shane Victorino on Boston sports radio talk-show hosts Mike Felger and Tony Massarotti on their discussion of his alleged wish to see Mookie Betts traded:

"The reason I paid attention so much to this is that this was a situation that got taken out of proportion and made it like I was trying to call my teammates out or I'm trying to get a guy shipped out. Come on, that's the last thing I'm trying to do. . If anything, I'm trying to be there for my teammates and help them be better.

"As I said, the guys who make these kind of conversations, they're not here today. They sit behind a mic and . it's like, 'OK, I can say whatever I like. People will call in and make it a big story.' That's fine. Hey, show me some credibility and come in. These guys, I don't even know who these guys are are ... Mazz and whatever the other guy is. I'll never get to talk to them face-to-face. Why? Because they don't want to show up. Hey, hold yourself accountable."

Former Tampa Bay Bucs linebacker Brandon Magee is now in Red Sox minor-league camp. He was waived by the team on Tuesday. The Tampa Bay Rays drafted Magee on the 29th round of the 2008 draft. He focused on football at Arizona State. OF Bryce Brentz, 3B/OF Garin Cecchini and RHPs Heath Hembree and Zeke Sprull were optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket, and RHP Mitchell Boggs was released.

STARTING TIME

Twins: Milone pitched five innings, allowed six hits, three earned runs and struck out three.

Red Sox: Miley pitched six innings, allowed four hits, three earned runs and struck out four.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Twins: LHP Brian Duensing, who has a bruised left quad after getting hit by a comebacker on Tuesday, participated in full pitchers' fielding practice on Thursday.

Red Sox: C Christian Vazquez continues to rehab from a sore elbow that has kept him sidelined and not ready to play. "He will continue to go through his throwing program," Farrell said. He is scheduled to play in a minor-league but Farrell wasn't sure if Vazquez would throw. "That's to be determined," Farrell said. "He'll get another exam tomorrow." ... RHP Koji Uehara is still sidelined with a hamstring strain. "Nothing new," Farrell said of the closer. "He'll do some flat ground work today with a bullpen hopefully in the coming days. So I think by the end of this weekend we'll have a lot of valuable information regarding a couple of situations with the guys in camp."

UP NEXT

Twins: Host the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday. Twins RHP Trevor May vs. LHP Jeff Locke.

Red Sox: Visit the Atlanta Braves in Orlando on Friday. RHP Clay Buchholz starts for Boston and RHP Julio Teheran for Atlanta.

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