Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek will not play tonight because he has strep throat, according to manager Terry Francona.
"He's not feeling too good," Francona said. "He shouldn't have played (Wednesday) night, and that's why we like our team so much. He had no business playing and he hit a three-run homer and caught a good game. He needs to not play tonight."
Francona said the captain is taking medication and should feel better on Friday.
"Tek's always available," the manager said. "That goes without saying."
"From what I understand, from having a lot of children, it's really contagious," Francona said.
Varitek is here today. If needed, Francona said Varitek could play.
Click here to watch the video of Sean's comments, recorded this morning. The topics: Bartolo Colon's 150th career win and the ball that struck him in the arm last night, the Red Sox' pitching depth and how it will help them rest starters for the rest of the season, Sean Casey appealing his suspension and Jay Gibbons appealing for a job.
Here are some excerpts from Sean's comments:
The ball that hit Colon: "I think it just stung him a little bit, got him right kind of on the back of the wrist as he tried to either field the ball or get out of the way; I'm not sure which. He took a couple of warmup tosses but seemed to be OK, and obviously finished out the rest of the start, so there don't seem to be any concerns."
On the Red Sox' philosophy of giving pitchers extra rest: "They can look down the road a little bit and perhaps not be so concerned with game number 70 on the schedule, but rather look at what benefits the team in the long run and make some decisions that way. It certainly I think helped Josh Beckett last year that he ended up missing a couple of starts with the avulsion on the finger. I think those were, you know, 15 to 17 innings that he didn't have in October that benefitted him, and they'd like to do it with all their starters at some point."
During his weekly appearance on Mohegan Sun Sports Tonight, Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon praised the Tampa Bay Rays . . . but also warned that he and his teammates haven't forgotten the bad blood between the teams.
Papelbon on the fight:
"In my opinion it is a bunch of bull what they did. All I got to say is what comes around goes around. Payback is a bitch. In my opinion, and the way I feel right now, this thing isn’t all settled and done. We still got to play them a few more times and I know when we go into Tropicana things will be a little different than when went in there last time."
Papelbon on the Rays staying in the race:
"Those guys have a lot of talent over there. As you can see, it’s a war when we go play those guys. It’s the big leagues and you got guys that can pitch over there and you got some guy that can hit so we’ve got to do everything we can to stay atop of those guys and keep fending them off because they can play."
Fenway Park food stands on opening day failed city health inspections on more than a dozen health and safety measurements, according to a report in today's Boston Globe. The violations were significant enough to cause potential food poisoning, and followed the discovery of similar violations and a demand for corrective action a week before opening day.
The City of Boston threatened to shut down the park's food stands at a municipal court hearing, and 19 home games went by until a subsequent inspection found the food stands to be in compliance.
Red Sox team officials told The Globe that the food services contractor for Fenway, Aramark, did not inform them of the violations and that they were unaware of them until contacted by a reporter.
The findings by health inspectors included sausages thawing in stagnant water, employees handling raw burgers without changing their gloves, and rodent droppings underneath service counters, The Globe reported.
There's a danger in thinking you've reinvented the wheel; it leads to the sort of hubris that was the backdrop to the old saying "Pride goeth before a fall." I point all this out not to laud the Red Sox for creating a revolutionary new approach to the grand old game -- other teams are pretty smart and do similar things -- but just to illustrate that sometimes we get a glimpse of a very sound organizational philosophy that usually flies pretty far below the radar. When it does surface, it's usually when the major-league team is in crisis and there's a lot of pressure to do something different.
Nice to take a calmer look at it on a day when the sun is shining.
THEY ALWAYS FAILED THE TASTE TEST . . . but now, reports The Boston Globe, Fenway Park's concession stands also failed preseason city health inspections. They're back up to code, as they fixed the problems and passed a May 16 inspection.
BASKETBALL? WHAT IS THIS BASKETBALL OF WHICH YOU SPEAK? Curt Schilling has another blog entry in which he doesn't mention Kobe Bryant or the Lakers. (His Monday entry turned Bryant into a Yankee fan.) In this one he talks of his Tuesday bullpen session, which he says "wasn't a great day" but one he's willing to write off to the vagaries of rehab.
NOT ALWAYS SUCCESSFUL, BUT NEVER BORING: It was quite a nine-game road trip for the Tampa Bay Rays. First there was the fight in Boston. Then there was the fight among themselves in Texas. And yesterday they turned their ire on the umpires -- Derryl Cousins, specifically -- in their 4-2 loss to the Angels in Anaheim. (St. Petersburg Times) And you wonder if more suspensions are in the offing, since, according to Times writer Marc Topkin, Rays starter Scott Kazmir "[complained] not only about missed strike calls during several key at-bats but [questioned Cousins'] reputation and integrity, accusing him of making certain calls to make up for others." Joe Maddon wasn't happy, either, and his unhappiness resulted in the eighth ejection of his career (Tampa Tribune); four of them have come against the team he once worked for as a coach, the Angels.
THE JOY OF BEING A BALLPLAYER: It's a glamorous life, eh, Troy Percival?
OH, YEAH? The Rays could take a lesson in rapid response to those nasty Torontonians from Jonathan Papelbon:
CONSISTENTLY INCONSISTENT: That's Peter Abraham's take on the Yankees, who fell back to .500 with an 8-4 loss to the A's that spoiled Darrell Rasner's sort-of homecoming. (New York Daily News) He grew up in Carson City, Nev., which is 3 1/2 hours from Oakland.
JOB SEEKER: Former Oriole outfielder Jay Gibbons, who was named in the Mitchell Report, has written letters to all 30 teams saying he's sorry for his mistakes and is asking to redeem himself. "[All] I need is a chance and I will prove that I can be an extremely productive player and a great addition to your organization." (espn.com)