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May 3, 2008
Cora's Workload Increases
Alex Cora, who has been sidelined since April 10 because of a sore right elbow, stepped up his on-field workouts today.
The utility infielder turned double play, both as a shortstop and second baseman, with Dustin Pedroia feeding him the ball so Cora could work on throwing to first base. Cora appeared to be able to perform the double-play pivot without any elbow issues hampering him. His throws to first had good zip on them.
Manager Terry Francona said the possibility of Cora going on a rehabilitation assignment in the minor leagues is being talked about by the Sox and Cora.
"I don't think that's something he's real fond of," said Francona of Cora. "We include the player in the discussions but we try to do whatever is in everybody's best interests."
-- Steven Krasner
Posted by Steven Krasner at 4:32 PM | Permalink
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Drew Back in Lineup
J.D. Drew, who left Tuesday's game because of a tight left quadriceps, is back in the lineup tonight.
Drew missed three games, replaced by Brandon Moss, who went 2 for 4, including a homer, and also threw out a runner at home plate in Friday night's game. Drew said this afternoon that he listened to his body in explaining why he took himself out of the game last Tuesday, not wanting to risk suffering a more serious injury.
"You have to understand your limitations. I've played long enough to know mine," said Drew, who has been criticized for being a "soft" player in his 10 years in the big leagues.
"There are things I have to be wary of, especially when the weather is what it will be tonight," said Drew, referring to the bone-chillingly cold day at Fenway Park.
Playing in such conditions is not pleasurable to any player.
"You have to try to stay loose. You want to be as warm in the dugout as you can. You just have to do what you're trained to do (on the field) and not focus on external factors," said Drew.
-- Steven Krasner
Posted by Steven Krasner at 4:22 PM | Permalink
Starting Lineups -- May 3
-- Steven Krasner
Posted by Steven Krasner at 4:21 PM | Permalink
FRIDAY NIGHT GAME STORY: Red Sox 7, Rays 3
BY PAUL KENYON
Journal Sports Writer
BOSTON -- A long night at Fenway turned out to be well worth it for the Red Sox.
The Sox, led by their young hitters, broke out of their offensive slump and beat Tampa Bay, 7-3. The game ended at 12:48 a.m. Saturday morning after beginning two hours and 27 late because of a persistent rain.
Boston’s young players, most notably Brandon Moss, didn't mind staying up so late.
Moss started a five-run Sox fourth inning with a drive into the bleachers in center for his second home run, added a hit and scored a run with a nice slide on a close play in the eighth, and threw a runner out from right to keep the game scoreless in the second.
Dustin Pedroia added three hits, scored once and drove in three, and Jacoby Ellsbury had a hit and two walks, scored one and drove in one as the Sox had 13 hits and a total of 18 base runners.
Another of the kids, Clay Buchholz, got the victory. He struggled a bit with his control (four walks), but allowed only one run in 5 1/3 innings. Even with a four-run lead, Jonathan Papelbon closed it out after Javy Lopez, Manny Delcarmen and Hideki Okajima protected the lead.
"We needed it,'' Terry Francona said of the victory over a team that had swept the Sox in Florida last weekend.
Tampa is the young team on the rise, but it was Boston’s recent Pawtucket graduates who were the stars. Moss was the biggest on offense.
"I think you can tell we have no qualms about playing him. He does a good job,'' Francona said of Moss, who started in right with J.D. Drew still out because of a quad problem.
Moss was asked what part of it he most enjoyed.
"The home run,'' he responded. "But it always feels good to play good defense and help the team out.’’
His defense kept the game scoreless in the second inning. Gabe Gross was on second when Jason Bartlett lined a single to right.
"I was playing Bartlett in a bit. It got to me on one hop,'' Moss noted. "When I got it [Gross] was rounding third, so I had time to set my feet. As soon as I let it go I knew it was a good throw. I was just hoping he didn’t beat it.’’
The Sox took the lead with a run in the third when Julio Lugo doubled and Pedroia doubled him home.
The offense really got going in the fourth and it was Moss who sparked it. With two outs and no one on -- Boston already was leading 1-0 thanks to a two-out RBI double by Pedroia in the third -- he crushed a 2-and-0 pitch from Tampa Bay starter Edwin Jackson to the bleachers in dead center.
"There were [other] balls hit to center that didn’t go anywhere,'' Francona said. "He was all over that ball.'' The shot landed on top of the canvas that protects the camera in center.
That opened the floodgates. Jason Varitek singled, Lugo walked and Ellsbury singled to center, scoring Varitek and sending Lugo to third. With Pedroia at the plate, Ellsbury took off and easily stole second, his ninth of the year and 18th straight in his career -- he has never been thrown out.
Both runners came home when Pedroia singled to left. Pedroia took second on the throw home and scored on a single by David Ortiz, making it 6-0. The five third-inning runs were more than the Sox had scored in their last five games combined.
Tampa Bay got as close as 6-3, but the Sox put it away in the bottom of the eighth when Moss singled and came all the way around on a drive off the top of the wall in left-center by Varitek.
Buchholz did the rest.
"I thought his stuff was phenomenal," Francona said. "His command at times got him into a couple jams but he had the stuff to pitch out of it.''
While he was happy with the victory, Buchholz feels he has to improve his control.
"I hate walking people,'' said Buchholz, who walked the first two hitters in the second before Moss made his big defensive play. "That usually kills you . . .
"It comes down to making them swing and make contact instead of being too fine with my pitches."
He is a young player getting better, as are Moss and Ellsbury and Pedroia, the others who helped the Sox move back into sole possession of first place.
Posted by Paul Kenyon at 1:32 AM to Projo Sox Crawl
Late Friday -- or is that early Saturday? -- Sox notes
BY SEAN McADAM
Journal Sports Writer
BOSTON -- Quick notes from last night's Red Sox win over Tampa Bay:
-- The seven runs scored by the Sox were their most since April 22, spanning eight games. Before Friday night, they had scored two runs or fewer in each of the previous five games.
-- The five-run fourth matched their total for the previous 53 innings combined.
-- In getting the win, Clay Buchholz became the first Sox starter since April 21 to claim a victory. Over the last six games, Sox starters have a 1.49 ERA.
-- Exlcuding a poor start against the Yankees in New York, Buchholz has a 2.08 ERA this season. In 56 2/3 major-league innings, Buchholz has 55 strikeouts and has struck out five or more hitters in 7 of his first 10 major-league appearances.
-- The Sox are 12-2 this season when Jacoby Ellsbury scores at least one run.
-- Ellsbury added another stolen base, making him successful in all 18 tries in his major-league career, a team record for a rookie.
-- Dustin Pedroia broke out of a slump with a three-hit night. He had been 1-for-20 in the last five games. His run-scoring double in the third was his first extra-base hit in the last eight games.
-- Of Brandon Moss' 13 career hits in the big leagues, five have been for extra bases.
-- For the second time this season, Moss has an assist and a homer in the same game. He also did so March 25, the season opener, in Tokyo. Before Moss, the last Red Sox rookie outfielder to have an assist and a homer in the same game was Trot Nixon, who did so June 1, 1999.
Posted by Sean McAdam at 1:12 AM | Permalink