The thin Red Sox outfield ranks became even thinner when Coco Crisp joined fellow starting outfielder J.D. Drew in the clubhouse during tonight's game.
Crisp left the game in the bottom of the sixth because of an upset stomach. That necessitated Jacoby Ellsbury, who had replaced Drew in right, moving over to center field in place of Crisp. Kevin Youkilis moved from first base to right field and Sean Casey came off the bench as a replacement for Youkilis at first.
Youkilis had played in 17 games in left field in 2006 because of injuries. Last night was his debut as a right fielder.
Red Sox right fielder J.D. Drew had to leave the game in the third inning after apparently suffering an injury to his left wrist in an unsuccessful attempt to make a sliding catch of a looping fly ball hit by Freddie Bynum.
The initial word from the Sox' clubhouse was that Drew suffered a sprained left wrist. X-rays were negative.
Drew's glove appeared to stick in the grass for a split-second as he tried to scoop the ball before it hit the turf. That caused his wrist to bend back.
After being checked out by acting manager Brad Mills and trainer Paul Lessard, Drew came out of the game, replaced by Jacoby Ellsbury, who is nursing a bruise just below his left knee, the result of having been hit by a pitch Sunday night in Minnesota.
-- Bench coach Brad Mills will be taking over for manager Terry Francona, who will miss the two games in this series because of the passing of his mother-in-law.
Mills has filled in for Francona in the past, and boasts a 5-3 career record heading into tonight's game at Camden Yards against the Orioles. All of Mills' decisions came during the 2005 season.
He went 2-2 from April 6-10 when Francona missed four games because of a viral infection. He went 2-1 from April 29-May 1 when Francona was serving a three-game suspension. And when Francona's daughter graduated from high school on June 13, Mills won that game.
-- Shortstop Julio Lugo (mild concussion) continues to improve but still isn't ready to play. Alex Cora will make his third straight at short. Lugo has missed the last four games.
-- Outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury (left knee bruise) also continues to improve, and he could play, but the Sox have decided to keep him out of the starting lineup for at least one more game as a precaution.
Click the play button below to hear Sean's comments, recorded this morning. Today's topics: Clay Buchholz's troubles on the road, and how it makes the club's decision about Bartolo Colon easier, looking to deal Julian Tavarez and giving Craig Hansen a vote of confidence, Josh Beckett's assignment tonight in Baltimore, Alex Rodriguez's injury and the Rays' run for first place.
CLAY-MAKER: Bob Gibson was 3-6 with a 5.61 ERA in his first full season in the major leagues. Sandy Koufax was 2-4, 4.91. Greg Maddux was 6-14, 5.61. The list goes on and on, even among contemporary stars -- Josh Beckett (6-7, 4,10), Ben Sheets (11-10, 4.76), Tom Glavine (7-17, 4.56). The education of a young pitcher is like the education of anything else: In most instances, it takes time.
A no-hitter in your second major-league start is what they call an indicator of ability, but turning that ability into skill isn't an overnight process. We're told the same thing over and over -- we even said it at the very beginning of all this -- and it bears repeating: It just takes time. Ask Bob. And Sandy. And Greg.
ODD MAN OUT: Considering the haphazard way he was used all season, not to mention how poorly he pitched when he did get to the mound, it came as no surprise when word arrived yesterday afternoon that Julian Tavarez had been designated for assignment. Krasner reports Tavarez' departure means Craig Hansen gets to stay a while. Kraz also has some postgame notes, including a Julio Lugo medical update.
HEAD TO THE ROCKIES: The Denver Post reports the on-again/off-again trade discussions between the Red Sox and Colorado regarding Tavarez are on again, and a deal could be struck within a matter of days.
JINX THIS: Baseball Analysts includes Dustin Pedroia, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Okajima in its look at 2007 rookies seeking to avoid the sophomore jinx in 2008. It has nice things to say about all of them, particularly Pedroia.
WHAT WE WORRY ABOUT: Remember all the fretting about how, between the Tokyo trip and the tough April schedule, the Sox would be lucky to be around .500 at this stage of the season? Boston.com's Eric Wilbur reminds us how silly all that was.
IT'S ALL THE SAME TO ME: In his last game with Boston, Jed Lowrie homered. Last night, in his first game with Pawtucket, he homered again. Joe McDonald tells us all about it.
CLASS AND DIGNITY, MY FOOT: The blog Bugs and Cranks takes Goose Gossage to task for admonishing Joba Chamberlain to "act like a Yankee." It points out that acting like a Yankee over the years has included the Fritz Peterson/Mike Kekich wife-swap, not to mention Reggie Jackson standing at home plate admiring his home runs, and concludes: "The Yankee way is winning. Period."
OFF THE CLIFF: The Red Sox were shut out, but Cliff Lee cleaned up, in Dayn Perry's '25 Percent Awards,' which he gives at the season's quarter pole. (foxsports.com)
'SO'S YOUR MOM'???? One of the things I learned very early in the cyberspace age is, never send anything -- and I mean anything -- via e-mail that you don't want millions of people to see. Apparently, Carlos Delgado's agent missed the memo. (nj.com)
'R, B, RBI, HIT THAT BALL AND MAKE IT FLY': The Mets' Nelson Figueroa called the Nationals "a bunch of softball girls" for the "cheerleading" they were doing in their dugout during Washington's 10-4 win at Shea Stadium last night. (New York Daily News) No word if the Nats responded by telling Figueroa they wanted a pitcher and not a glass of water.
HOME SWEET HOME: Johnnie LeMaster -- who can forget his "Johnny Disaster" nickname? -- had some great stories to tell when he returned to San Francisco as part of the Giants' 50th anniversary celebration. (The Guardian's San Francisco blog)