The Red Sox had almost no options in rescheduling tonight’s game.
It is Milwaukee’s only trip to Boston. Today’s game is locked in at 3:55 p.m. because it is a nationally televised Fox game. Tomorrow was not a possibility for separate admission games because rules dictate that no game can begin after 5 p.m. to avoid conflict with ESPN’s Sunday night national telecast. The only way to play two on Sunday would be as a single-admission doubleheader, a situation that would cost the team much money.
As it is, the situation is touchy. If the first game tomorrow goes long, the second game might not start at 8:35, as planned. Workers need about 45 minutes to an hour to clean up sufficiently after a game, said John Blake, the team’s vice president for media relations.
Thus, if the opener tomorrow goes four hours and does not end until 8 p.m. it likely will be closer to 9 p.m. before the second game can begin. If it goes even longer, fans will simply be asked to wait outside, after the first game ends, to allow workers to do some cleaning.
Tickets for tonight’s game will be used for the 8:35 game tomorrow.
The Sox have been placed in a similar situation once before, in May of 2005. They split that doubleheader with Seattle. The Mariners won the nightcap 6-4 on a grandslam by Richie Sexon off Cla Meredith.
It appears Red Sox pitching prospect Daniel Bard is heading to Double-A Portland. The Red Sox selected the right-hander as their second pick (28th overall) in the 2006 draft.
He posted a 3-7 mark with a 7.08 ERA in 2007, his first pro season split between Lancaster and Greenville. He played winter ball in Hawaii and that proved crucial as he's dominating in Greenville this season. The reliever is 1-0 with a 0.67 ERA in 14 appearances for the Drive. He's posted 42 strikeouts in 27 innings.
Red Sox minor-league first baseman Anthony Rizzo has been diagnosed with limited stage classical Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
The Red Sox just released a statement, saying the 18-year-old is being treated as an out-patient at Massachusetts General Hospital's Oncology Unit. Rizzo will return home to Miami in the next few days to continue his treatment, which is expected to take 6-8 months, according to the release.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with Anthony and his family at this very difficult time," said Red Sox GM Theo Epstein. "We are optimistic about his recovery and look forward to the day he can return to the playing field."
The Red Sox selected Rizzo in the sixth round of the 2007 draft. He was hitting .373 with 11 RBI at Single-A Greenville.
There rarely is any middle ground when a former Red Sox player returns to Fenway in an opposing uniform. Today is a dramatic example of that, at least it is in the case of Gabe Kapler and Eric Gagne.
Gagne, the relief pitcher who struggled so much for the Sox last season, was not around very much, if at all.
While Gagne is not likely to receive a warm welcome from the Boston fans, Kapler is the opposite.. Rarely has any player been more popular with both the team and the Boston fans.
``I just got a chance to spend a little bit of time over in the Red Sox weight training facility,’’ Kapler related. ``It was good to see some old faces, shake some hands and give some hugs. I don’t know how emotional it is, but it certainly feels good. All I’ve ever felt being here is warmth, so it’s nothing new.’’
Kapler retired last year and managed Boston’s Class A team in Greenville. He said he decided late last season to try to return as a player. He is hitting .284 in 67 at-bats for the Brewers, with four home runs and 13 RBI. Kapler made no effort to hide his pleasure in being back at Fenway.
``I feel like the Red Sox always have my best interests at heart,’’ he said. Sox officials were not upset, he said, when he told them he wanted to return to being a player again.
``I think they understood it was a heartfelt decision, an intuitive decision,’’ Kapler said. ``They respected that.’’
The Sox obviously respect Kapler.
``I don’t know that Gabe will ever do something that’s he not successful at. Whatever he does does he throws himself into it,’ said Sox Boston manager Terry Francona. ``He’ll be good at whatever he wants to be good at.’’
Kapler and Gagne are two of four Milwaukee players, along with Jeff Suppan and David Riske, who were in uniform for the Brewers in the team’s first visit to Fenway since Milwaukee moved to the National League.
BOSTON -- Both J.D. Drew and Julio Lugo are back in the lineup for the Red Sox as they open a seven-game homestand at Fenway.
Lugo, who missed the second-half of the recent road trip with a minor concussion, was cleared by the Sox medical staff Thursday. He's back at shortstop.
Drew, who rolled his wrist attempting to make a catch Tuesday night in Baltimore, is back, too, playing his customary right field.
Coco Crisp, who came out of Tuesday's game complaining of illness, is still cleared to return. He underwent some tests on the off-day, which came back negative.
``He feels better,'' said manager Terry Francona. ``(But) I don't think he feels terrific. I don't think he's 100 percent yet. Whatever hit him, hit him hard.''
The Sox are making no pronouncements about Tuesday's starter. With Clay Buchholz (finger) sidelined and on the disabled list, the Sox need a starting pitcher from beyond their current staff.
Sepculation has centered around Bartolo Colon, who pitched well for Pawtucket (six innings, one hit allowed, 64 pitches) in a rehab start Thursday, but Francona said that talk is premature.
``I don't have anything yet,'' said Francona. ``We'd like to take (some additional time) and talk it over and get more information from people.''
Other possibilities include David Pauley and Justin Masterson. Both made rehab starts last month when the Sox were struck by the flu and needed emergency starters.
Francona was happy to see former Sox outfielder Gabe Kapler -- now with Milwaukee -- in the Fenway Park weight room earlier this afternoon.
``That was a welcome sight,'' Francona said, ``I don't care what uniform he's in.''
Kapler, who played for the Sox from 2003 through 2006 and managed their Single A affiliate in Greenville last year, is not in the starting lineup for the Brewers tonight.
The current weather forecast (provided by the Red Sox private weather service, Meteorlogix) in the vicinity of Fenway Park calls for a possibility of some light rain showers during the late afternoon and evening hours.
The Fenway Park gates will open at the regularly scheduled time of 5:05 p.m., and the Red Sox expect that tonight’s game with the Milwaukee Brewers will begin on-time at 7:05 p.m. However, the Red Sox want to alert our fans to the current forecast.
This forecast is of course subject to change as the day progresses. Additional updates will be provided as necessary.
Just arrived at Fenway Park about an hour ago and the BP cages and nets were on the field. Well, the grounds crew just came sprinting out to remove the equipment and put the tarp on. The forecast doesn't look good for tonight, but we'lll keep you updated.
Much is being made of the fact that the Yankees, at 20-22, are in last place in the American League East, 4 1/2 games behind the first-place Tampa Bay Rays, the team that just beat the Yanks three out of four. Last year the Yankees were in second place through 42 games of the season, but how's this for perspective: They had a worse record (19-23) and were already a whopping 10 1/2 games behind the Red Sox in the A.L. East. Of course, the Yanks stormed back to threaten for the division and make the postseason. Point is: Don't count Joe Girardi's team out.
Projo SoxTalk with McAdam: Interleague play begins
Click the play button below to hear Sean's comments, recorded this morning. Today's topics: a chance for the Red Sox to make a move at home, the return of Gabe Kapler and Eric Gagne, Kapler's return to the big leagues, and who the Red Sox start Tuesday in place of Clay Buchholz.
TWO TO GO: Let the countdown really begin. Manny Ramirez is two home runs away from 500, something he could accomplish in a single night. The anticipation began building during the last homestand -- the Sox stuck that '496' banner on one of the left-field light towers, but never got to update it as he went homerless against the Blue Jays and Rays -- and it'll be a nightly (or daily) thing now, starting this evening when the Brewers come to town. Joe McDonald looks at Ramirez' career and talks to ex-Red Sox pitcher Ken Ryan about facing Ramirez. "I thought I was Superman," Ryan said when recalling a long battle in Cleveland that ended with a Manny walkoff home run, "but I quickly realized who Superman really was.”
ENOUGH, ALREADY: Alex Rodriguez has a message for Yankee fans outraged that he taped a congratulatory message that will be played when Ramirez hits his 500th home run: Get over it. (New York Daily News)
SUPERMAN'S PAL: God bless the Internet. The blog The Lost Ogle tracked down the Red Sox fan in Baltimore who high-fived with Manny after Ramirez made his great catch Wednesday afternoon. Turns out he's a native of Oklahoma -- Barry Switzer's nephew, no less -- who became a member of the Nation in 2003 because his best friend at Oklahoma State was a New Englander who turned him onto the Sox. Despite the ruckus it caused in the media, he said no one sitting around him even realized he had high-fived Ramirez except for a husband and wife sitting next to him (though they had a radio and told him it was the talk of the Orioles broadcast for the next few innings). He was actually preparing to catch Ramirez, whom he assumed was doing a Lambeau Leap into the stands -- now that would have been a Manny Being Manny moment, a Lambeau Leap while play was still going on -- and added, "I’m not sure I’d call [what they did] a high-five. Maybe more of a slap 4."
Like I said: God bless the Internet.
A QUIET CORNER OF THE INTERNET: Bet you didn't know Manny has his own Web site. Doesn't look like it's been updated since last October, though, and some of the corners -- like the one which celebrates his first home run of 2007 -- are even dustier.
A BUSIER CORNER OF THE INTERNET: Curt Schilling makes a chatty appearance on 38pitches.com in which, among other things, he tells us he loves the ESPN commercial parodying the bloody sock and warns us the Rays are for real.
MYSTERY GUEST: Puzzled by the fact that Daisuke Matsuzaka has such dominating statistics and yet still struggles so with his command and his control? So are the Red Sox. (Boston Herald)
THEY'RE NOT SAYING BOO, THEY'RE SAYING . . . Lou, as in Merloni, as in NESN's newest analyst. (Boston Globe)
MONBO: The Globe's Stan Grossfeld has a touching piece on ex-Red Sox pitcher Bill Monbouquette -- one of the few beacons of light during the very dark days of the early 1960s -- who's battling leukemia.
BACK IN THE FOLD: Kevin Millar irritated quite a number of people in Baltimore last fall when he recorded a bit for Fox urging Red Sox fans to keep the faith, and then threw out the first ball before Game Seven of the ALCS. But now he's back in their good graces with this, ah, inspiring version of Orioles Magic.
FLIP SIDE: The Yanks had high hopes they'd be seeing a new Ian Kennedy when he took the mound yesterday, but it was the same old same old as the team dropped into last place with the 5-2 loss. (New York Daily News) Now they get to see the pitcher they wouldn't trade Kennedy for -- Johan Santana -- when the Mets come to the Bronx tonight. (New York Daily News) A bad weekend might spark another outburst from Hank Steinbrenner, and that's okay by Tino Martinez. (New York Post)
FACE THE MUSIC: Last year, you may recall, then-Met Paul Lo Duca ripped his Hispanic teammates for using the language barrier as an excuse to duck talking to the media. Yesterday, current Met Billy Wagner -- while leaving race out of it -- went into a similar rant about teammates who refuse to speak to reporters, leaving the burden to players, like him, who don't duck into the trainer's room or out the door. (New York Daily News) Wagner called out Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado by implication -- though the New York Post reports Beltran actually did speak -- and promised the situation "will be reconciled [Friday]."
NOBLE BY COMPARISON: In an online-only piece, the Arizona Republic's Dan Bickley thinks the steroids era actually was a boon to players like Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr., who achieved greatness without artificial help and will be applauded for it.
AND FOR THOSE FOUR PEOPLE LEFT WHO STILL DON'T THINK HE'S CLUELESS . . . Astros owner Drayton McLane says Roger Clemens is still up in the air about actually being retired. (mlb.com) Can you imagine the crowd reaction if Clemens ever walked onto a field again?
I'M WITH YOU, SIR: Yesterday, President Bush was singing Chase Utley's praises. Today it's Mike Schmidt. (USA Today)