A shipment of pink baseball bats arrived in the Sox' clubhouse and will be used Sunday for the Mother's Day game in an effort to foster awareness of breast cancer and the need for more research to combat the disease.
Manny Ramirez seemed especially excited to receive his pink bats. They will nicely complement the new reddish/pink baseball glove he unwrapped at his locker.
Alex Cora (elbow) was due to play in his last rehab game for the PawSox today, and Sean Casey (hip) was slated to play in his next-to-last one, but rain foiled that plan.
So with a doubleheader scheduled tomorrow in Pawtucket, Boston manager Terry Francona said this afternoon they would each play in the first game for the PawSox and rejoin the Red Sox in Minnesota in time for Sunday night's game.
Once they arrive, a couple of roster moves will have to be made. Rookie Jed Lowrie would seem to be the logical candidate to be dropped to Pawtucket when Cora is added. And, with the Red Sox having 13 pitchers instead of their normal complement of 12, a reliever is likely to be at risk. Craig Hansen has options, so unless something more dramatic is done to make room for Casey, it's possible he could be returning to Pawtucket.
Bartolo Colon (oblique), meanwhile, will continue working his way back to Boston by starting tomorrow's first game for the PawSox. He is expected to pitch the first three innings.
Farnsworth's suspension for throwing at Manny reduced
NEW YORK (AP) — Kyle Farnsworth’s suspension was cut from three games to one Friday by Major League Baseball following an appeal by the New York Yankees reliever.
Bob Watson, baseball’s vice president in charge of discipline, announced the original penalty April 19, two days after Farnsworth threw a fastball behind the neck of Boston Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez. Farnsworth wasn’t ejected and said the ball slipped.
John McHale Jr., executive vice president for administration in the commissioner’s office, heard Farnsworth’s appeal Tuesday.
Farnsworth was to serve the suspension Friday, baseball spokesman Rich Levin said.
Projo SoxTalk with McAdam: That hot-starting Youkilis
Click the play button below to hear Sean's comments, recorded this morning. Today's topics: Kevin Youkilis' hot start -- can he make it last? -- Josh Beckett's steady improvement, Manny Ramirez's quest for 500 home runs -- and is 600 a realistic goal? -- and the Minnesota Twins, who are hanging in there despite the loss of Johan Santana and Torii Hunter.
HIT MAKER: We'd love for him to reflect in depth what he thinks about all this, but apparently he left his blog-updating equipment in Tokyo. So while Kevin Youkilis talks about his offensive emergence at the postgame-interview-soundbite level, others explain it all for us:
-- Our own Steven Krasner marvels that Youkilis can hit, and produce, almost anywhere in the lineup . . . a Terry Francona luxury that virtually no other manager enjoys. Last night it was the cleanup spot; placed there when Manny Ramirez was given the day off, Youkilis hit his fourth home run in five games, a two-run shot in the fifth inning that led the Red Sox to a 5-1 win over the Tigers.
-- The Boston Globe's Gordon Edes wonders if we're not seeing a Youkilis transformation from on-base machine to power hitter.
Youkilis is well-known for his demonstrative outbursts -- a reader of the blog Shysterball caught his NSFW blast last week -- but now he's becoming known for his baseball skills, as well. The Twins blog Twinkie Town, previewing the upcoming Sox' weekend series in Minneapolis, waxes poetic -- kind of -- about Youk and says its one wish would be for Youkilis to be hitting behind Joe Mauer. (It might have happened, too. Remember those 2005 trade rumors that had Youkilis and Anibal Sanchez going to Minnesota for J.C. Romero? That would have been one for the ages, eh?) And he's one of the reasons Dan Lamothe at Red Sox Monster thinks everything's beginning to fall in place for the Sox.
TOP OF THE HEAP: The Detroit Free Press' Michael Rosenberg agrees. In the midst of a lament about the state of the Tigers, he calls the Red Sox the best team in baseball.
LONGEVITY AWARD: Josh Beckett pitched seven strong innings last night and recorded his 1,000th career strikeout along the way. Krasner reports Beckett, while pleased, wasn't overly excited about the milestone. ("It means you've been around for a while . . . ") That was the top item of a notebook that included bits on an obstruction play involving Dustin Pedroia and Tigers shortstop Rafael Santiago, Ramirez' rest day, Curt Schilling's second game of catch, and other game notes. Beckett's performance is looked at in more detail by the Globe's Amalie Benjamin and the Herald's Rob Bradford.
OH, DO I REMEMBER: The obstruction play with Pedroia -- in which the Sox argued, to no avail, that Pedroia should be allowed to score; instead, he was only awarded third base -- reminded Francona of the 2003 ALDS. To wit: Red Sox third baseman Bill Mueller got in the way of the A's Miguel Tejada, which gave Tejada third base, but Tejada mistakenly thought he was entitled to the next base, as well; he sauntered home and was tagged out. "It's why I'm here," Francona told Ballou.
Translation: Francona was the A's bench coach at the time and Oakland lost the series in no small part to that play. Not sure I quite follow the reasoning -- the Sox' managerial job opened because they lost the ALCS to the Yankees, not because they beat the A's in the ALDS, and the Oakland staff didn't get fired after losing to the Sox -- but it sounds good.
EDGE, ELLSBURY: While the team record in games they start is nearly identical, the Sox score a startingly higher number of runs in games when Jacoby Ellsbury starts in center field (6.4) than when Coco Crisp starts (3.8). (Boston Globe)
WATCH THIS: If you watched last night's game on NESN, you heard Jerry Remy talk at length about stolen-base attempts -- specifically, an attempt by Ellsbury -- being determined by the time of the pitcher's delivery to the plate. The Arizona Republic's Nick Piecoro breaks down that strategy from the Diamondbacks' point of view . . . and Arizona, remember, is run by former Theo Epstein assistant Josh Byrnes.
SYMPATHY FOR THE . . . ALL RIGHT, WE WON'T CALL HIM THE DEVIL: The blog Shysterballempathizes with Julio Lugo, failing to see why reporters needed to question him about his crucial error Wednesday night. "[Lugo] basically just screwed up. He knows it. The reporters know it. The fans know it. What else is there to add on a primary source reporting basis?"
CLIMBING BACK UP THE LADDER: In more minor-league news, Benjamin's weekly notebook begins with an item on Daniel Bard, who's rebounding from a disappointing 2007. And Michael Bowden pitched 6 2/3 innings of one-hit ball Wednesday night at Portland. (rotoworld.com)
DANGER ZONE: The sight of Placido Polanco's bat shattering as he looped the game-winning hit into left field Wednesday night is all-too-familiar these days; maple, which is becoming the wood of choice for many players, has a tendency to splinter. Yahoo.com's Jeff Passan notes that the flying shards are extremely dangerous -- Pirates coach Don Long was hit in the face with one a few weeks ago and suffered nerve damage -- and, comparing it to the foul ball that killed base coach Mike Coolbaugh last year, says "neither Major League Baseball nor the MLB Players Association can afford to wait for another tragedy when it could take preventative measures. Were officials from either party to meet with Long . . . they would understand the issue must be resolved immediately."