Coco Crisp, who was slapped with a seven-game suspension for his leading role in Thursday night's bench-clearing brawl with the Rays at Fenway Park, said after Friday night's game that he has said all he wants to say on the subject.
"It is what it is," said Crisp, who didn't seem to be aware that the Sox had filed an appeal on his behalf, allowing him to play before his appeal is heard by MLB officials.
"That's all there is to say about it. I'm through talking about it," he said.
"It's sore," said Ellsbury of his right wrist, which he strained while making a diving catch Thursday night.
The rookie outfielder said he hadn't been able to do any baseball activities Friday.
"Just icing it," said Ellsbury.
When he hit the ground and rolled over on his wrist, Ellsbury was hurting.
"There a little sharp pain in the wrist last night," said Ellsbury, who had an MRI Friday morning. "I was really worried. I had a (left) wrist injury before and it felt similar. Wrists can take a long time to heal. But the good news is that there's nothing torn or broken in there."
Ellsbury said he wasn't sure what he'd be able to do on Saturday in terms of baseball activities.
"There was a big improvement from (Thursday) to (Friday), so hopefully it will be better (Saturday)," said Ellsbury.
BOSTON -- This is just speculation at this point, but PawSox pitcher Charlie Zink was a last-minute scratch from his start tonight in Charlotte. Instead, relief pitcher Edgar Martinez made the start for Pawtucket.
Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester began his five-game suspension Friday night, which makes him available to return on Thursday. Boston has the luxury of an off-day on Monday, so Josh Beckett will pitch on Tuesday, tonight's starter Bartolo Colon could pitch on normal rest on Wednesday and Lester could go Thursday.
It's just strange why Zink, a knuckleball pitcher, was pulled from his start.
Crisp agrees that his reaction Thursday was 'bush league,' but said Bartlett's 'bush-league' block started it
BY JOE McDONALD
Journal Sports Writer
BOSTON -- The scrapes are still visible on the face of Coco Crisp after Thursday’s bench-clearing brawl, but he said he's fine and ready to hit in the lead-off spot and play center field tonight.
"Everything feels fine," he said. "I do have a stiff neck because I was down in the pile, but other than that I’m fine."
Tampa Bay pitcher James Shields, who got suspended six games and fined an undisclosed amount, called Crisp a "bush-league player" following Thursday’s game. When Crisp was told about it on Friday, he didn’t disagree.
"I believe that," he said. "I will agree with him. It’s true. But what Bartlett did was bush league, and he’s done it before. After he dropped the knee on me (Wednesday) I said, ‘OK. You want to play dirty?’ Especially with me sliding head-first and going in as hard as I can sliding head-first. When you put your knee down like that you’re blocking the plate like a catcher, so you should be taken out like a catcher. That’s how I feel. You can injure and end someone’s career by doing that."
Crisp jammed his thumb on the play.
"What (Bartlett) did was bush league, and I agree with what I did was bush league," said Crisp. "You did something that was shady, and I did something that was shady. I’m not going to disagree (with Shields’ comments)."
Shields said he did it the right way by hitting Crisp in the thigh and the Sox’ center fielder agrees.
"He throws hard and he didn’t try to throw it up near my head," said Crisp. "He did it the right way. There’s no hard feelings, but if he lost respect for me, then so be it. I have no loss of respect for anybody over there, even though some people were pulling my hair. I guess all is fair when you’re at the bottom of the pile."
BOSTON -- The Red Sox just announced that Coco Crisp has decided to appeal his seven-game suspension, effective immediately, which enables him to take part in tonight's game.
Jon Lester, who was suspended five games, has decided to accept his suspension and will begin serving it tonight.
Sean Casey, meanwhile, has told the team that his decision on an appeal is pending, since his suspension isn't due to begin until Saturday, June 14. Earlier today, however, Casey told the Journal that he intended to appeal the suspension.
Second update: Crisp, Lester and Casey, and five members of Rays, suspended for their role in Thursday night's fight
BY SEAN McADAM
Journal Sports Writer
BOSTON -- Major League Baseball has suspended Coco Crisp for seven games, Jon Lester for five games and Sean Casey for three games for their actions in Thursday night’s bench-clearing brawl between the Red Sox and Rays.
Five members of the Rays were suspended: Pitcher James Shields for six games, outfielder Jonny Gomes and pitcher Edwin Jackson for five games each, outfielder Carl Crawford for four games and second baseman Akinori Iwamura for three games.
Crisp charged the mound in the second inning of Thursday’s 7-1 victory over the Rays after being struck in the leg by Shields. Shields was acting in retaliation for a hard slide by Crisp into Iwamura the night before. Crisp had been angered by Tampa Bay shortstop Jason Barlett's move to block the second-base bag with his knee in an earlier stolen-base attempt, which resulted in a sprained thumb for Crisp.
Crisp was unaware of the suspension when approached by reporters, saying, "I don’t know nothing about it yet. Seven days? I don’t know nothing about it. That’s what you’re saying."
When asked if he would appeal, he reiterated that he knew nothing about it. When asked if he was interested in hearing which Tampa Bay players were suspended, he replied: "No, not really. It doesn’t matter to me."
As he walked away, he was told of the penalty by John Blake, the Red Sox' vice president of media relations. Crisp turned back to the media members, said, "Damn. You guys were right," and continued walking away.
Crisp appealed the penalty and is in tonight's starting lineup.
After the fight, Lester hit Crawford with a breaking pitch in the fifth inning, then later threw behind the legs of Willy Aybar and threw up-and-in to Cliff Floyd. While he was not disciplined by plate umpire Jeff Kellogg, MLB imposed the suspension for those acts.
Lester indicated he would not appeal the penalty, which will cost him one start.
"It [stinks]," said Lester. "You’ve got to take it, though. There’s nothing I can really do about it."
It is not known the specific reason why Casey was suspended, though he was in the middle of the dustup Thursday night. He does plan to appeal.
"I think I’m going to appeal it and see why I got what I got, go through the process," said Casey, whose suspension is not scheduled to begin until June 14. (When multiple players from a single team are suspended, MLB will stagger the penalties so a team isn't overly shorthanded.) "I’m going to find out why and then I’ll know what they saw. I was pretty surprised."
The Red Sox are incredulous about the severity of the penalties and have already been in contact with Major League Baseball to protest.
Joe McDonald and Steven Krasner contributed to this report.
BOSTON -- Daisuke Matsuzaka, who has been on the disabled list since May 30 because of a mild right rotator cuff strain, has been cleared to begin throwing.
Tomorrow the right-hander, who had to leave his May 27 start after four innings because of shoulder discomfort, will play catch on flat ground. He will be re-evaluated after that session. There is no timetable as to when he will begin throwing off the mound.
BOSTON -- Manager Terry Francona talked to Manny Ramirez this morning and he said he thought the slugger felt he'd be able to play tonight.
But his right knee and hamstring are tight, so Ramirez is not in the starting lineup tonight. As a result, Francona has shifted his batting order, which is missing thumpers David Ortiz (wrist, on the DL) and Ramirez. Mike Lowell (fourth) and Kevin Youkilis (fifth) each moved up a spot with Sean Casey batting sixth and serving as the DH.
Francona said Ramirez reported that his leg is sore, but was hopeful that Ramirez will be able to return to the lineup tomorrow.
BOSTON -- Rookie outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, who suffered a strained right wrist while making a spectacular diving catch Thursday night, seemingly escaped serious injury and could be back in the lineup in the next few days.
Manager Terry Francona said Ellsbury underwent an MRI this morning, and "everything came back really clean."
"I think he's excited, relieved," said Francona. "Tom (team physician Thomas Gill) said he might even be available to pinch-run tonight. I don't think we're going to do that until he's ready to hit, but I don't think it will be very long before (he can return to the lineup)."
That feeling was in direct contrast to the feeling Francona had as he trotted out to right-center with trainer Paul Lessard to check on Ellsbury after he had robbed Evan Longoria of an extra-base hit leading off the fourth inning. Ellsbury, moved to center from left field when Coco Crisp was ejected, made the catch, gloving the ball a split-second before it would have hit the turf, and in so doing, his glove stuck in the grass briefly, causing Ellsbury to roll over on the wrist.
"It looked bad," said Francona. "When I got out there I think he thought it was bad. We all saw him bend (the wrist) backwards. But there's no break and no ligament (damage). Nothing. So that's good."
Ramirez says problem with Youkilis is "over with . . . straightened out"
BY JOE McDONALD
Journal Sports Writer
BOSTON -- Manny Ramirez wants everyone in Red Sox Nation to know that everything is just fine with teammate Kevin Youkilis.
The two were involved in a scrum during Thursday’s game in the dugout and needed to be separated. Today, Kevin Youkilis quickly made his way out of the clubhouse, trying to avoid the media.
"It was nothing," said Youkilis. "It’s over. It’s a new day.”
Moments later, Ramirez walked into the middle of the clubhouse and answered every question he was asked about the situation.
"It was just a misunderstanding," he said. "Even in the best family, you find stuff like that. It’s done. It’s over with. We got it straightened out."
Ramirez wouldn’t discuss exactly what started it, and said the two still haven't talk about it, but said everything is just fine. ESPN Desportes reported that Ramirez confronted Youkilis about his habit of throwing equipment after making outs, which most players see as a selfish act, and Youkilis took exception.
"It’s in the past and we’re going to move on," Ramirez said. "It’s a new day."
As far as his ailing leg, Ramirez is out of the lineup tonight with Brandon Moss playing left field. Ramirez said he hoped to be back in the lineup Saturday.
He was on his way to take BP when he stopped to talk to the media about his sore leg, but everyone wanted to know about the other situation.
"Don’t worry about it," he said. "It’s nobody’s business what happened. We’re going to move on."
Manager Terry Francona downplayed the incident a short time ago in his daily press briefing when asked if he thought there might be some lingering after-effects from the intramural confrontation.
"We had a lot of emotions in the clubhouse," said Francona.
"A lot of things happen on a team that are not seen. I'm not saying we're trying to promote this, but it's not the end of the world. Sometimes you're better off for it. Things like that happen and we try to handle them and move on," said Francona, intimating that no clubhouse meeting was necessary to address the incident.
Projo SoxTalk with McAdam: A wild night at the Fens
Click the play button below to hear Sean's comments, recorded this morning. The topics: the big brawl and the ramifications, concerns about Jacoby Ellsbury and Manny Ramirez, the Red Sox' draft picks and the shell of a team that is coming into town this weekend.
Here are some excerpts from Sean's comments:
On the fight: "That was not your run-of-the mill, half-jog-out-to-the-mound, everyone-grabs-a-dance-partner-and-tugs-on-a-jersey-for-a-little-while, there were some real punches thrown and some real intent behind some of them, and I'm sure there will be significant ramifications in the next couple of days from Major League Baseball."
On the mounting injury problems: "Certainly there's availability issues coming in the next few days. ... On top of that is Coco Crisp ... certainly there will be a suspension for him somewhere down the line, and you have the issue of Ellsbury and the wrist and Manny's hamstring, so they may need some reinforcements in there."
On a normal morning, any one of those things -- accounts of each were written by Steven Krasner -- would be headline news. This time around? Take your pick.
Safe to say that on a night the Celtics and Lakers were across town, playing the opening game of the NBA Finals, the Red Sox and Rays did everything they could -- and then some -- to shift the spotlight away from the North End and back to the Fens.
The brawl, of course, is what's on everybody mind, and if we'd been paying attention -- actually, most of us were, so we did see it coming -- we'd have know what was in store after Wednesday night. Coco Crisp was defiantly unapologetic about his eighth-inning rumble into second base, claiming his actions were justified by the knee block of Tampa Bay shortstop Justin Bartlett in the sixth . . . something the Rays felt just as strongly was unworthy of Crisp's over-the-top reaction. The lack of any pregame conciliatory words from either corner -- when asked directly by Joe Castiglione if his team was "moving on," Rays manager Joe Maddon gave a non-answer that would have done a politician proud -- indicated that trouble was brewing.
It arrived in the second inning, when Rays starter James Shields plunked Crisp in the thigh with his second pitch. Crisp, who obviously came into this game loaded for bear, charged the mound, ducked a Shields punch, took one of his own (above), and we were off. Bob Breidenbach captured much of it in a series of photos.
Crisp absolutely got the worst of it, pinned by catcher Dioner Navarro, pummeled by a piling-on Jonny Gomes and punched, pinched and scratched at various points by Carl Crawford and Akinori Iwamura (among others; they were the ones we saw). He finally emerged with a cut on his cheek, bruises on his face and cheers in his ears, as the Fenway Park crowd reacted the way most fans do to these demonstrations of tribal solidarity: With great affection for their combatants and hateful contempt for the enemy. (Boston Herald) Ian Bethune's essential Sox & Dawgs has video of both the fight and of Crisp's postgame comments, in which he didn't exactly turn down the heat; he claimed the Rays fought "like a bunch of girls."
(So far, this is the only amateur video I've seen of the fight:)
Good question. As a Red Sox partisan, that's a deal I do every time it's offered.
What was most interesting, to me, was what the Red Sox had to say -- and not say -- about Crisp's actions, both Wednesday and Thursday. Terry Francona, who normally stands shoulder to shoulder with all his players, couldn't back away fast enough Wednesday night, deflecting all questions by saying he was "in the bathroom" (he even mentioned something about his zipper) when the shouting match between Maddon and Crisp erupted. And he was just as vague when asked about the fight last night; the only thing close to pro-Red Sox/anti-Rays commentary out of him was when he mentioned that Crawford seemed a little overenthusiastic in the midst of it all. Both times, he tried to deflect attention off the topic by making some sort of joke about Brad Mills.
It's always dangerous to interpret people's words without really knowing what they think, but, hey, when has that ever stopped me? My take: It's not hard to conclude that the Red Sox actually agree with the Rays that Crisp shouldn't have done what he did, on either night, but can't say it -- and have to back him -- for obvious, team-related reasons. Take it for what it's worth.