Brandon Moss is likely to be with Boston only temporarily. It is very likely that when the team's health situation improves, Moss will be back in Pawtucket.
Still, in the long run, Moss could benefit from his experiences with the parent team this season.
Moss had one of the hits in the ninth inning in Wednesday night’s victory. The lefty singled up the middle against southpaw Scott Downs. Moss, who was recalled when Sean Casey went on the disabled list, is at .286 (4-for-14), including a home run in the Tokyo Dome.
``He’s an interesting player,’’ manager Terry Francona said when asked about the 24-year-old who was Pawtucket’s MVP last season. ``He’s a good outfielder. Actually, he can play center, although I don’t think that’s his every day position. You can put him there. He can play the corners. He’s fine. Can he play first base (the position the Sox want him to play in Pawtucket this season)? All of a sudden you’ve got a young left-handed hitter who can play three or four positions and hit a fastball. That’s pretty valuable.’’
The Red Sox have made no secret of their focus on developing their own players. The scouting department has a big reason to be smiling right now.
The team did research on what took place last week, when Craig Hansen was briefly recalled. He was drafted in 2005. So were Jacoby Ellsbury, Clay Buchholz and Jed Lowrie. They were all taken in the first four rounds.
According to the researchers, it marked the first time any team has ever had its top four draft choices in the majors together, and all appearing for at least one game, within three years of the draft.
Terry Francona sounds as much like a doctor as the Red Sox manager in his pre-game press conferences these days. Today was a perfect example.
``Doctor’’ Francona had mostly good news to report on his ``patients.’’
Jacoby Ellsbury is not yet ready to start, but he is out on the field doing some work as we speak. He has had a groin problem.
``He feels it getting better. We’ll know more when he runs around,’’ Francona said.
J.D. Drew also was on the field testing his ailing quad.
``He’s doing some shagging,’’ Franconca said. ``We’ll see where that leads.’’
And then there is David Ortiz’ knee.
``He’s on the elliptical right,’’ Francona related. ``He’s OK. I think he’s just sore. He knows he can't just come and play the game any more. He doesn't have that freedom. He knows that.’’
Ortiz is learning, the manager said, that he has to do pre-game work to get himself ready. At his age and size, he is simply going to have to deal with some aches and pains in his knee.
``He can’t come and just play the game,’’ Franconca said of Ortiz putting in work before the game.
Coco Crisp, who also had knee concerns, will play.
``He’s a little sore,’’ Francona said. ``He’s OK to play or we wouldn’t play him. We would do something different.’’
Two lineup moves tonight are not medically related. Since Tim Wakefield is pitching (he was working on a crossword puzzle just now) Kevin Cash will catch. Also, Julio Lugo is 3-for-17 in his career against A.J. Burnett the Toronto starter. Jed Lowrie needs work, so Lowrie will play short.
``It just seemed like a good day to do it,'' Francona said, for once sounding more like a manager than a doctor.''
For the month of April, plus the two games played against Oakland in Japan, the Red Sox have won eight games in which they scored the go-ahead run in the eighth inning or later. That compares to just three such victories last season, when the Red Sox were a little less dramatic and more methodical in roaring out of the gate on their World Series championship season.
We've put together a photo gallery looking back on the eight dramatic wins, plus the equally dramatic rain-soaked game in Boston in which the Sox held off a Yankee comeback. Click here to view the gallery.
Projo SoxTalk with McAdam: Another dramatic victory
Click the play button below to hear Sean's comments, recorded this morning. Today's topics: A fourth consecutive fine pitching performance offsetting the general offensive futility, Toronto's penchant for beating itself, the latest injury news and the advantages of a potential spring-training move to Sarasota.
TAKE TWO: Twenty-four hours had passed, and the situation was almost identical: Great pitchers' duel. Tie game. Runners at first and second. Bottom of the ninth. But this time, as Sean McAdam writes, it took two singles to center, not one, to drive in the winning run. After pinch-runner Jed Lowrie was thrown out at the plate by Vernon Wells on Brandon Moss' first attempt to end things, Jason Varitek (above, being congratulated by first-base coach Luis Alicea) delivered Manny Ramirez and the Red Sox had their second straight walkoff win over the Blue Jays, 2-1. The postgame celebration, writes the Globe's Amalie Benjamin, mirrored the one from the night before, even if the principles were a little different. Lost in the afterglow was another good starting-pitching performance, this one from Daisuke Matsuzaka (seven innings, two hits, no runs), whom Jim Rice thinks is poised for a 20-win season (ask14.sullivantire.com) and whom Tom Hanks thinks would be a great subject for a movie. (afp.google.com)
They're still not hitting or scoring much -- yesterday's two-run output was their highest since last Friday, and they've scored a grand total of four runs in their last four games -- but their pitching has been lights out; how else could they be 2-2 over that span? And how else could they be back in first place (projo.com) despite such feeble production? Goes to show that when you can pitch -- and the ProJo Fantasy Sports Blog's pitcher rankings show the Sox can pitch, all right -- you've always got a chance.
SPRING AWAKENING? The offensive catalyst at last was David Ortiz, who homered in the seventh and kick-started the game-winning rally with a single in the ninth. The Herald's Alex Speier says "he’s showing signs [of] coming around" despite the .184 batting average he takes out of the month of April.
GO FIGURE: Terry Francona didn't run for Ortiz on Tuesday night and the big guy managed to lumber home from second base with the game-winning run on Kevin Youkilis' single. Francona did send in Lowrie to run for him last night, and Lowrie got nailed at the plate. That dichotomy, and the reason behind it, is the lead item in Steven Krasner's Inside The Game, which also includes items on Manny Delcarmen's continuing struggles and a brain cramp by Marco Scutaro that could have cost the Jays in the eighth. The online-only version contains an item on Dustin Pedroia sterling defense at second base. (ProJo Sox Blog)
LOOKING FOR NEW DIGS: The news that the Sox may move their spring-training base to Sarasota -- their spring home for most of the 1930s, '40s and '50s -- when their deal with Fort Myers expires after 2011 is the lead item in McAdam and Krasner's notebook. The ABC7 Sports Blog in Fort Myers says not to worry, the Sox aren't going anywhere, but seems to base that bravado solely on the team's string of sellouts -- something that would probably happen anywhere they played -- while almost completely ignoring the fact that the Sox a) would like to house their minor-league spring operations together with their major-league program, which they can't do in Fort Myers because of a lack of land, and b) have their Florida State League affiliate play at their spring-training facility, which they also can't do at Fort Myers because the Twins own the territory.
IT'S NOT QUITE THE SAME AS FINDING A NEEDLE IN A HAYSTACK: So you bought something at Jordan's Furniture in the hopes of cashing in if the Red Sox sweep the World Series? The Wall Street Journal puts the odds of you winning this "bet" at between two and five percent.
DON'T JUST SIT THERE, DO SOMETHING! The struggling Blue Jays need something to shake them up, but general manager J.P. Ricciardi says the only thing anyone ever asks for in trade talks is pitching . . . so therefore he's not about to make any trades. (Toronto Globe and Mail)
GOOD NEWS AT LAST: The ABC7 Sports Blog is the first to defend Roger Clemens -- sort of -- when it points out that it's highly unlikely Clemens met Mindy McCready at a Fort Myers bar when she was 15 in 1991, as reported by the New York Daily News and confirmed by McCready herself. The Red Sox still trained at Winter Haven at the time and it's extremely unlikely he made the Sox' only trip to Fort Myers that spring. (He didn't pitch in the game against the Twins, and starting pitchers almost never travel with the team to away games -- especially those that are 2 1/2 hours away -- if they're not working.) Whether it's a case of McCready lying (as the blog insinuates) or simply a matter of being off by a year or two on the timeframe (as McCready's mother indicates) remains to be seen.
RESUME FIRING: But Clemens and his defenders had almost no time to enjoy this rare bit of relief, as the Daily News now links him with John Daly's ex-wife.
AND A BABE SHALL LEAD YOU: Speaking of Clemens, David Pinto of Baseball Musings thinks Braves farmhand Jordan Schafer -- suspended for use of performance-enhancing drugs -- is doing just what Clemens should have done: Answering "No comment" to any and all inquires about his penalty and his use of PEDs.
COULD HAVE BEEN TAKEN FROM MY LIBRARY: I've read -- and own -- most of the titles in the Bronx Banter's list of essential baseball books. As a personal aside, I think You Know Me Al, which I've just been rereading, should be listed a little higher . . . although I don't know if it's as much "essential" as it is "enjoyable."
THE DEBATE: Two members of the mainstream media with strong online presences -- Joe Posnanski and Peter Abraham -- weigh on in Bob Costa's HBO special about sports media, specifically the part about bloggers and Buzz Bissinger's full frontal attack on Deadspin's Will Leitch, which Leitch chronicles here. Abraham does a great job of explaining the integration of new media by traditional media outlets and why it so angers/frightens many traditionalists. Posnanski -- as usual -- is insightful and elegant as he points out that many of the old writers Bissinger used in his anti-online diatribe would probably be writing blogs today if they'd come of age in this era: "Newspapers are shrinking. Magazines are shrinking. Opportunities in the mainstream are shrinking. Shrinkage is the word. But the Internet is wide open. If [W.C.] Heinz was young, he would be writing words on the Internet just like everyone else, and he would probably have his own blog, and it would be wonderful, and cranky old people would be screaming about Heinz in pajamas."
Great stuff. And must-reads if you're at all interesting in the changing information landscape.