PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Continually progressing throughout Spring Training, Red Sox right-hander Clay Buchholz had his most complete outing in his final start Tuesday.
Buchholz allowed two runs on three hits in six innings for his third win of the Grapefruit League season. Marking his longest outing of the spring, Buchholz also struck out five and walked two in a 4-2 victory over the Rays.
"More than anything that stands out over the course of the spring is that he is pitching very comfortably on the mound," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "He is using all of his pitches."
Working on his changeup all of Spring Training, Buchholz said Tuesday marked the first time he was able to throw it for a strike in a game.
The righty was also able to use his two-seam fastball to put away left-handers and right-handers.
"He has a lot of confidence knowing that he can pitch at the bottom of the strike zone and get some outs," said Farrell.
The only runs the Rays got across against Buchholz came in the third. A single by Sean Rodriguez and an RBI double by Jose Molina plated the first run. Two batters later, Wil Myers belted an RBI single to left field.
However, Buchholz settled down after that, allowing no hits, one walk and striking out five over the next three frames.
"Overall, my stuff was good," Buchholz said. "When I wanted a little bit extra on the fastball, I had something in the tank to throw it."
Finishing the spring 3-2 with a 2.84 ERA, Buchholz feels healthy and ready to begin the season.
The right-hander will pitch a simulated game Sunday and is slotted to begin to season as the team's No. 5 starter.
"I'm just trying to prepare for the season," Buchholz said. "I have to treat it like any other start. I'll then head up north and meet the guys."
Victorino held out with discomfort in left side
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The Red Sox held Shane Victorino out of Tuesday's game against the Rays after the outfielder felt discomfort in his left side following Sunday's game against the Braves.
Victorino went through treatment Monday. He's also swung a bat and thrown from 150 feet without any residual pain.
"We held him out as a precaution and hopefully he is back [Wednesday]," said Red Sox manager John Farrell.
Jackie Bradley Jr. replaced Victorino in right field.
Victorino played in 122 games for Boston last season and had surgery on his thumb in the offseason.
"Everything points to him being ready, even with the current stiffness," Farrell said. "We don't think this is going to keep him out of Opening Day."
Sizemore's strong spring rolls on with first homer
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- For Tuesday's game against the Rays, Red Sox manager John Farrell penciled Grady Sizemore into the No. 5 spot for the first time this spring.
The move definitely paid off. Sizemore hit a towering two-run home run over the Rays bullpen in the sixth inning that proved to be the difference in a 4-2 Red Sox win. It marked the first time Sizemore had hit a home run in a game since July 15, 2011.
"It felt good," Sizemore said about his trot around the bases. "I'm just trying to have good swings. I want to keep putting those together."
Before Tuesday's game, Sizemore had hit leadoff in all of his other Spring Training appearances.
"We just wanted to look at where our high on-base guys would slot in," Farrell said before the game. "I don't expect Grady to take a different approach at the plate."
Farrell said after the game how impressed he was with Sizemore's balance and timing at the plate.
"The way we have seen the ball come off the bat, almost a week at a time," Farrell said. "That whole process, he's starting to get his legs a little bit at the plate. It was a good day for him."
Tuesday's contest also marked the beginning of an important stretch for Sizemore, who will play in three straight games for the first time this spring. It will go a long way in determining if he or Jackie Bradley Jr. will be the Opening Day center fielder.
"I am just looking to the next day and not trying to get too far ahead of myself. I'm trying to stay on the program I'm on, Sizemore said.
"I'm happy with how everything has gone. I didn't expect to feel this good or comfortable so soon. I am happy with that aspect. Each day is better."
Sizemore has been impressive in 10 spring games, hitting .303 and making a few highlight-reel grabs.
"We came in with an open canvas," Farrell said. "We didn't have any set markers. He will gain further consistency the more at-bats he gets."
Farrell said he expects to make a decision by Friday.
"He's moving down the path to the most favorable as a final decision is made," Farrell said. "We want to build him out as much as possible. The Major League side isn't ruled out."
Red Sox to visit White House on Tuesday
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- A few days after the Red Sox won the 2013 World Series, manager John Farrell received a congratulatory phone call from President Barack Obama.
Farrell and his players will get to meet the President in person on Tuesday, when the Red Sox go to the White House to celebrate their recent championship.
After a last-place finish in 2012, the Red Sox produced a stunning season in '13, capped by beating the Cardinals in a six-game World Series.
The timing of the visit to the White House will be convenient, considering Boston opens its season with a three-game series in Baltimore on Monday and there is a team off-day on Tuesday.
• Right-hander Allen Webster is scheduled to start Wednesday afternoon's game against the Orioles at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Fla.
• After pitching in a Minor League game Monday, left-hander Craig Breslow will pitch in another Minor League game Thursday. After that outing, Farrell said the team will have a better read on if the lefty will begin the season on the Major League roster.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com.Quinn Roberts is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.