GLENDALE, Ariz. — Opening-day starter James Shields pitched three scoreless innings in his last Cactus League tuneup Friday, holding the Mariners to three hits, striking out three and walking none in a game that ended in a 5-5 tie.
Shields, who was blistered for seven runs and eight hits by the Athletics in 3 2/3 innings in his previous outing, said the plan was to pitch three innings. He did not go to the bullpen for more work.
“I felt really good out there,” said Shields, who called the outing “a little 50-pitch tuneup.”
Two of the hits against Shields were doubles in the gaps by Taylor Motter and Guillermo Heredia.
“Being it’s my last start of spring training, my delivery was kind of honed right in today,” he said. “Every pitch was working, and I was getting ahead of hitters. I feel good, though. I feel really good.”
Shields, 36, who owns a hefty 5.99 ERA in one and a half seasons with the Sox, lowered his arm slot in his last 10 outings last season, and the results were favorable. It helped him produce a 4.33 ERA during that stretch.
Shields will make his eighth opening-day start when the Sox play the Royals, his former team, in Kansas City on Thursday. That will add a bit of intrigue.
“It’s going to be a good atmosphere,” he said. “I’m ready to rock and roll, so let’s do it.
“We’re excited, we’re ready to go. We’ve had an unbelievable spring training inside the clubhouse. Results aside, the way we’re trying to build a culture around here has been amazing. It’s been fun.”
A brief scare
The Sox, who have been riddled by injuries this spring, endured another scare when Yoan Moncada was shaken up on a slide into third base. Moncada, who was thrown out trying to advance on a ground ball to shortstop, stayed down for a few moments while training staff came out to check on him. He stayed in the game but left in the fifth inning.
A Sox spokesman said Moncada was fine. Batting leadoff again, Moncada singled and stole second base in the first inning and doubled in his other at-bat.
Local boy makes good
Munster (Indiana) graduate Craig Dedelow, a Rookie League and Class A Kannapolis outfielder in 2017, belted a three-run, game-tying homer in the eighth inning.
Sox at Dodgers, Glendale, Carson Fulmer vs. Alex Wood, 2:05 p.m. Saturday, whitesox.com.