retired all 18 Tampa Bay hitters he faced on Sunday afternoon. He threw 79 pitches and struck out six Rays.
For the spring, Lester has allowed only two runs in 20 innings of work (0.90 ERA). He is in line to open the regular season on Monday, April 1 - two weeks from tomorrow - at Yankee Stadium, but manager John Farrell has not made an official announcement.
Boston pitchers came within two outs of throwing a combined perfect game. Jonny Gomes went 3-for-3 and collected four RBI in the Red Sox's 5-1 win. Will Middlebrooks had two doubles and scored two runs.
Stephen Drew is still suffering some side effects of his concussion, and there is the possibility that he may not be ready for Opening Day. Drew was struck on the helmet by a pitched ball on March 7. Drew's possible absence raises a few questions about who will start at shortstop (Jose Iglesias?) and - with David Ortiz likely beginning the season on the disabled list - who might be on the Opening Day roster (Jackie Bradley, Jr.?).
Clay Buchholz, who has not allowed a run in three spring starts (8.1 innings), faces the Pirates tomorrow. ... Franklin Morales has a slight bulge in one of the discs in his lower back. Farrell said there is "no target date for his return". ... Pitchers Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa were optioned to Pawtucket on Friday.