Bonser aims to rebound from shaky effort
Trying to make Sox staff, righty gives up five early runs
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Sure, it was just an exhibition game, and Boof Bonser, with 96 Major League games under his belt, has been around long enough to know that. But he also knows he hasn't made the Red Sox just yet, and that's why Monday's shaky performance was not easy for him to swallow.
Though the Red Sox have a full rotation, there is a spot open in the bullpen, and Bonser wants it to be his. So his goal now is to regroup after giving up six hits and five runs over two-plus innings of his start against the Rays.
"It was very frustrating, you know, to try to come in and get that last spot and go out and do something like that," said Bonser. "That's not fun at all. That takes its toll a little bit."
Perhaps a nagging injury took somewhat of a toll Monday as well, though Bonser didn't reveal it in his near eight-minute session with the media.
"Boof, when he came out, he revealed a little bit that his right groin was grabbing at him a little bit," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "We'll look at him [Tuesday] and see where that goes."
Bonser, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on Feb. 25, 2009, to repair partial tears to his labrum and rotator cuff, is enthusiastic about how his arm feels. The groin is probably not much of an issue, since Bonser stated how antsy he is to get back on the mound for the Red Sox.
"Oh absolutely," said Bonser. "You know I'm going to talk to [pitching coach] John [Farrell] the next couple of days and definitely see if I can get in and get things rolling again and get some zeroes, instead of that junk that was out there today."
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Some of the junk, as Bonser called it, was deposited over the wall, courtesy of home runs by Kelly Shoppach and Evan Longoria.
"The two home runs were fastballs middle," said Bonser. "A couple of broken bats I had were good sinkers down and away, and it's also one of those things where if you get them to roll over, it looks good, but they were hit for singles. [It] just kind of snowballs a little bit and it's just brutal."
But Francona said that Bonser or any other pitcher trying to make the team shouldn't be overly scrutinized because of one rough outing in a Grapefruit League game.
"We're trying to move forward and project guys, where they fit on your ballclub and how they fit," Francona said. "That's the bigger, I think, challenge for us is not to ever evaluate someone after two bad innings. That's not the idea of Spring Training. It's trying to figure out where guys fit and how they fit."
Still, though, Bonser wants to make a good showing each time he pitches. In a way, exhibition games are somewhat of a proving ground.
"It's definitely new for me," Bonser said. "Shoot, at the same time, just getting out here with a big crowd and a regular lineup like they have is also big, because I didn't get it last year. Everything is big at this point. They say one step forward and two steps back. I think I got my two steps back today."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.