TB@BOS: Ortiz launches his first homer in the third

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The ball soared into the bullpen in right-center and David Ortiz posed for a second and watched. Then he did one of his signature bat flips, going into his first home run trot since Game 2 of last year's World Series.

In truth, the Red Sox slugger is ready for the season to start.

"Spring Training, it's fun the first couple of weeks. After that, we get here earlier, we work out pretty much all day and at some point it starts catching up with you, especially old guys like me," laughed Ortiz.

After being kept out of Spring Training last year as he recovered from a right Achilles injury, the grind of getting ready for the season has felt a little monotonous for the slugger.

"Now my body's used to not having Spring Training so I'm fighting through it right now to get used to it," Ortiz said.

He is used to rounding the bases after a home run.

"I hit it good, but this is a time for seeing pitches and timing and stuff like that," said Ortiz. "You put a good swing on the ball, it's going, but who cares, you know what I'm saying? Right now I just want to see how a pitcher's approaching me."

Ortiz didn't hit the longest home run in Monday's game. That honor belonged to cleanup man Mike Napoli, who ripped one high and deep to left-center and over everything.

"Damn, that's him, man," said Ortiz. "He's a beast. He hit a moonshot."

Lester lined up for fourth straight Opening Day start

TB@BOS: Lester's great Spring Training debut

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Red Sox manager John Farrell confirmed Monday that the way his rotation is currently lined up could well be the way it stays when the season starts.

Lefty ace Jon Lester, on the mound Monday for his Grapefruit League debut, is positioned perfectly to open the season March 31 at Camden Yards against the Orioles. This would be Lester's fourth consecutive Opening Day start.

John Lackey, who pitches Tuesday's home Grapefruit League game against the Marlins, would likely pitch the second game in Baltimore.

Southpaw Felix Doubront, who will work in a Minor League game in Wednesday's team off-day, could slot in as the starter in the finale of the three-game series against the Orioles.

Jake Peavy and Clay Buchholz are the top two candidates to pitch the home opener at Fenway against the Brewers on April 4.

"All things playing out, health and otherwise, that's kind of the way things are rolling," Farrell said of his current rotation order.

Peavy, who is recovering from a laceration of his left index finger sustained in a mishap with a fishing knife, will make his first start of Spring Training on Thursday.

Though Buchholz clearly has the track record and the stuff to be a No. 2 or 3 starter, the Red Sox are being conservative with him because of the shoulder problems he experienced last season.

Sizemore's comeback 'work in progress'

New Red Sox outfielder Grady Sizemore back in swing

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Now that Grady Sizemore feels healthy again for the first time in years, he's trying to regain his feel for the game.

The Red Sox center fielder went 1-for-3 on Monday is expected to start again Tuesday, marking his first back-to-back appearances this spring.

"It's a little bit of a work in progress," said Sizemore. "I was able to get some positive at-bats in there, see some pitches and work the count. It's still not as comfortable as I would like it to be, I guess."

That shouldn't come as a surprise, considering Sizemore missed the last two seasons. He's getting used to all aspects of the game again.

"I don't know if it's one aspect. It just depends on what you're talking about," Sizemore said. "Timing on the bases, footwork or getting that first, explosive step. Sometimes it takes me an inning or two to get the feel for my legs, to feel like they can get going. You may not be able to see it out there, but it's something I can kind of feel. It's one of those things that can be hard to pick up. You still feel like you have to work extra hard to get a little bit out of it."

The Red Sox have been pleased with Sizemore's speed, timing him at 4.2 seconds down the line. In Monday's game, he was off with the pitch for the first time and might have stolen second base if not for Dustin Pedroia hitting a grounder to third.

"Even with that, I'm getting a feel for it. I'm just getting the feel for moving around, getting jumps," Sizemore said. "It's not natural right yet, and I don't expect it to be that way any time soon. I still have gains to be made from a physical standpoint. I need reps for the body to get used to all those movements. It's good, though."