FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The new closer will get plenty of chances to pitch with the game on the line -- the crowd roaring with every pitch.
But Joel Hanrahan was able to make his first appearance in a Red Sox uniform in a far more laid-back circumstance.
The righty drew a one-inning start on Thursday afternoon against Northeastern University and got what he needed out of the exercise, working his way around two baserunners (single, hit batsman) in a scoreless inning of the Red Sox's 3-0 victory at JetBlue Park.
"You can't ever prepare for the adrenaline during the season," said Hanrahan. "This is a step above live batting practice. It's a little bit different than, say, the normal Spring Training game, but you still have another team out there trying to get hits off you. It's good in that sense, but you can't ever emulate a game."
For those who thought Hanrahan would just blow through the Huskies, there was a bit of a surprise when leadoff man Aaron Barbosa lined a single into left-center field.
It's a play Jonny Gomes will make most of the time, but being that it was the first inning of the first Spring Training game, the left fielder didn't get the best read on the ball.
"You know, it was bad execution of a pitch," Hanrahan said. "That was the hardest part for me. I had the guy 0-2 and tried to go up on him and threw it right down the middle. I laughed it off, had a good time with it, and that's part of the game."
Of course, Barbosa created the memory of a lifetime.
"I think I heard him on second base telling [Dustin Pedroia] that he closed his eyes," Hanrahan said. "I just kind of threw it out there. That's all right. He didn't score. That's the main thing."
Napoli about a week from game action
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The only projected Opening Day starters who weren't scheduled to get any at-bats for the Red Sox during Thursday's college exhibition game against Northeastern University? Mike Napoli and David Ortiz.
Though both sluggers are on a more conservative program this spring for health reasons, they still appear to be on track for Opening Day on April 1 at Yankee Stadium.
Napoli, who has a hip condition called avascular necrosis, could get into a Grapefruit League in roughly a week.
"We're hopeful that Mike will be taking at-bats sometime later next week," said manager John Farrell. "We just want to be sure in Mike's case that the impact in addition to all the defensive work -- we've got to run him through the bases. We've got some running left to do with him, but there's no reason to think that he won't continue to ramp up without any setback."
Ortiz, who is coming off a right Achilles tendon injury that sidelined him for most of the second half in 2012, is coming along a little slower.
"David will maintain the agility program he's on, and that continues to increase in intensity," said Farrell. "Much like with Mike, he'll go through a baserunning progression to be fully cleared. Right now, there's no reason to think that's not going to continue on its path. We don't have a timeframe on that. I would hope it wouldn't be too far behind. The one thing we don't want to do is earmark a date and all of a sudden there's a letdown. We're not at that point yet."
Farrell sees offensive improvement from Iglesias
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- If Jose Iglesias had proved he could hit at the Major League level during his trial run late last season, the Red Sox likely would not have acquired Stephen Drew. But to Iglesias' credit, he hasn't moped about the situation. Instead, he continues to work.
"He's a little more narrow in his base; he's a little bit more upright," said manager John Farrell. "It's allowed him to see the ball better, and I really think free up his swing. He got deep in his crouch over time, and I think it kind of caused him to work against his body a little bit, but the fact that he's upright in that stance, he feels like he's able to hit the ball with a little bit more authority to wherever it's pitched in the zone. We're looking forward to seeing that play out here."
Barring an injury to Drew, Iglesias will be back at Triple-A once the season starts.
"The thing that a young player always has to battle is his timeframe and the organization's timeframe," Farrell said. "They might not always align. This is a case in point. The one thing we like is that he believes in himself and feels like he's ready to be an everyday Major League player. But yet some of the adjustments he's made at the plate, he's doing the necessary things to bring along the offensive side and see how that continues to develop."
When the offseason began, general manager Ben Cherington at least left open the possibility Iglesias would have a chance to be the starting shortstop. But the decision was ultimately made to get a far more established player in Drew.
"Well, there was some uncertainty to the offensive production with Jose. That's not to say that in time he doesn't become a solid Major League offensive performer," said Farrell. "We felt like we needed more of a known commodity from an offensive side. That's what brought Stephen to us, but that doesn't mean we're not believing in Jose and knowing that he has tremendous ability, and certainly Major League ready now on the defensive side. It's a matter of his continued development of a hitter."