BOSTON _ Red Sox manager Terry Francona has decided to give J.D. Drew the night off.
The Sox’ right fielder had been scorching at the plate this month – until his last five games. Drew is hitless in his last 13 at-bats, but has hit safely in 17 of 22 games in June with 10 homers and 23 RBI.
During the club’s recent home stand, Drew is 2 for his last 19.
“I thought it was the right thing to do,” said Francona. “The two days will be huge for him.”
Francona does a good job giving players a day off here and there. It’s not like he wakes up in the morning and makes that decision. He will discuss it with the player and his staff before making a lineup change.
Giving players a day off don’t always work for everyone’s benefit.
When Francona was managing in Philadelphia in the late 90s, he spoke with Scott Rolen a week before he wanted to give him a certain Sunday game off. The two agreed it would be the best thing for the player and the club.
Well, the day before Rolen approached Francona and explained the Phillies had scheduled Scott Rolen Bobblehead Day in Philadelphia. Francona, knowing Rolen desperately needed a day off, didn’t relent and stayed with the original plan. The manager was criticized for sitting the fan favorite, but he earned more respect from Rolen and the rest of the players in the clubhouse.
BOSTON _ Red Sox reliever Mike Timlin (knee tendinitis) will make a rehab appearance for the PawSox on Thursday.
The right-hander will throw one inning. According to manager Terry Francona, Timlin had a really good bullpen session on Tuesday. The manager said pitching coach John Farrell was pleased with the session and it’s time to get Timlin going again.
“I think it will be great for him,” said Francona referring to the minor-league rehab. “I think it will be great for him to pitch a little bit. Sometimes you can take advantage of some time to make something better.”
In 24 games for Boston this season, Timlin is 3-3 with a 7.06 ERA.
BOSTON -- Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis is back in the starting lineup tonight.
He did not start on Tuesday, but was a ninth-inning defensive replacement. Youkilis was drilled in the right eye when a ball thrown by third baseman Mike Lowell during between-inning warmups on Monday took a short hop and hit Youkilils.
Youkilis suffered a contusion and says he’s fine.
He sent manager Terry Francona a text message this morning and said he was ready to go.
“That was good news,” said the manager. “He still looks like he got beat up.”
BOSTON _ Red Sox left fielder Manny Ramirez has been bothered by a sore right hamstring for a while, which makes the upcoming interleague series with the Astros at Houston a little more interesting.
During the recent interleague series at Fenway, Ramirez was able to serve as the club’s designated hitter due to American League rules. When the Sox travel to the National League Park there will be no DH, so Ramirez will have to play left field with the sore hamstring.
Red Sox manager Terry Francona said the chances are good that Ramirez will be able to play left field. The slugger’s hamstring is feeling better, and the off-day on Thursday will also help.
BOSTON -- David Ortiz, on the disabled list because of a torn tendon sheath in his left wrist, took 25 light swings off a tee Tuesday night.
It was the first time Ortiz had swung a bat since he suffered the injury on May 31 in Baltimore and had to leave the game in the middle of an at-bat.
"It's not ready. It's just weak," said Ortiz a few minutes ago in the Red Sox clubhouse.
"There's a little bit of pain, but it's better than when I hurt it. Then I couldn't even hold onto the bat. I didn't take a full swing. It was very light. I was trying not to miss it," he said.
The session gave Ortiz and the Sox' medical staff a baseline for where he is in his recovery. That information will be helpful in determining at what pace Ortiz will be able to rehab the injured wrist. Ortiz said he thinks he's probably "a couple, three weeks away" from playing in a game, and he acknowledges that he will need some at-bats in rehab games in the minors before he'll be able to rejoin the Red Sox.
"We're pretty much where they expected," said Ortiz of his medical staff. "I was a little disappointed. I want to be playing. There's not too much I can do about it but wait. It's a healing process. It's better than what it was."
Ortiz is expected to join the Red Sox on their trip to Houston, Tampa Bay and New York, which begins with a night game against the Astros on Friday night. He was batting .252 with 13 homers and 43 RBI when he suffered the injury.
Manager Terry Francona was pleased with the session, taking it for what it was, a first step.
"His swings were not real aggressive. There's got to be a place to start. Before we go on the road the (medical staff) wanted to see where he was. It's slow at first, but everything is going as planned," said Francona.
"David did what he was supposed to. Players want to go from zero to 100, which they can't. Down deep, David knows it went pretty well. He wants to be in there now. We'll build up his reps and intensity leading to soft toss, batting practice and eventually into some games," said Francona.
1912 Red Sox World Series trophy soon to be auctioned
June 25 (Bloomberg) -- A trophy commemorating the Boston Red Sox' 1912 World Series victory and bestowed to the manager by John F. Kennedy's grandfather will be auctioned in the next four months.
The 11-inch sterling silver piece was given to Jake Stahl, who managed the Red Sox and played first base, and is inscribed with his name. John Fitzgerald, the Boston mayor known as "Honey-Fitz," presented Stahl with the award and hosted a reception honoring the team at Faneuil Hall.
Boston capped its first year at Fenway Park by defeating the New York Giants to capture the championship, the second in franchise history. It's not an official World Series trophy because Major League Baseball didn't begin giving those out until 1967.
Arlan Ettinger, president of New York auction house Guernsey's, which is conducting the sale, said he's not sure how much the piece will sell for because there is nothing comparable from that era.
"It's impossible to say," Ettinger said in an interview. "For the team that gets the most fan interest up there, this is like the Holy Grail."
World Series trophies have sold for varying amounts at auction because prior to 2000, teams would produce replicas for owners, players and club executives. A Pittsburgh Pirates' World Series trophy from 1960 sold for $8,600 at auction, while the club's 1979 trophy went for $25,066.
Mike Heffner, president of the auction house Lelands Inc., said the Red Sox trophy has "a little more pizzazz to it," though it's not worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Red Sox spokeswoman Abby DeCiccio didn't immediately comment.
A Second Trophy
The trophy was in the Stahl family's possession until 1996, when it was sold at an estate auction, said Ettinger, who is selling the piece for an unidentified collector. A second trophy awarded to Red Sox owner James McAleer is believed to be lost, he said. A photograph of the championship club featuring Hall of Fame players Tris Speaker and Harry Hooper accompanies the item.
Boston beat New York in eight games in the 1912 Series, with one of the contests ending in a tie due to darkness. The Red Sox defeated a Giants squad led by pitchers Christy Mathewson and Rube Marquard, who were both inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Click the play button below to hear Sean's comments, recorded this morning. The topics: Mike Lowell's clutch-hitting prowess; Jason Varitek's slump-breaking, game-winning single; the slumping Drew brothers; and tonight's meeting with Randy Johnson.
Here are some excerpts from Sean's comments:
On Lowell: "While he missed essentially three weeks and didn't hit his first home run until the first week of May, he has made a number of his hits come at particularly critical times for the Red Sox, and last night was no exception."
On Varitek: "He has always been a very up-and-down guy at the plate. His swing tends to get a little long when he's not going well -- certainly 0 for 24, 4 for 47 is the very definition of not going well. But he's always working at it, even though it's sometimes difficult to find time for him to staighten things out at the plate because he has so many responsibilities behind the plate as a catcher, kind of calling the game, and preparing and looking at scouting reports. ... Then you add in the fact that he's a switch hitter and almost has to approach each side of the plate individually in terms of his swing, mechanics everything else. It's been a pattern throughout his career that when he gets into a free fall it lasts for a while, but the flipside of that is that he can get hot for an extended period, and maybe ... it is starting to turn around for Varitek."
On Johnson: "Even though he's 6-10, throwing in the 90s, that slider doesn't have the sharp break to it that it once did. The fastball has lost a few miles per hour on the radar gun. He's still, I would imagine, not very fun to hit against, but he's not the dominant guy that he was, and clearly were seeing the winding down of a Hall of Fame career."
Saturday morning we plan to upgrade the active projo blogs to a new version of the Movable Type software. All blogs will remain available during this process. Afterwards you’ll see a new look and some new features, and we’ll welcome your comments about them.
That it was. According to calculations from Baseball Musings' Day By Day Database, Varitek entered last night's game hitting .127 (10-for-79) in the one-month period since May 24, with correspondingly horrid on-base (.198) and slugging (.190) percentages. Those numbers didn't get any better in his first three at-bats, either, as an 0-for-3 dropped Varitek to 10-for-his-last-82 (including 4-for-his-last-47). So when Mike Lowell walked to the plate in the eighth inning with runners on second and third, two outs, and the Diamondbacks holding a 4-2 lead, a lot of people -- yours truly among them -- expected Arizona manager Bob Melvin to defy baseball dogma and intentionally walk Lowell, putting the go-ahead run on base, because the on-deck hitter was Varitek. But Melvin, writes Steven Krasner in his Inside The Game feature, didn't bite, and he paid for it: Lowell doubled off the wall, tying the game. (Had he been up on his stats, Melvin might have been even more reluctant to pitch to Lowell.) And then, reports Joe McDonald, Varitek came through anyway with a single to right (above), driving in Lowell and giving the Red Sox a come-from-behind 5-4 win.
McAdam says the relief in the stoic Varitek's demeanor was almost palpable after the game, and there's no questioning how happy Terry Francona was. You don't have to hit much when you're as valuable to a team in as many ways as Varitek, but you do have to hit something. Last night, that "something" enabled the Red Sox to come away with a victory on a night when, reports Krasner, they were baffled for the first seven innings by the soft-tossing Doug Davis.
QUITE A SIGHT: Kevin Youkilis (left, shown in the dugout during the game) reported to the ballpark with a shiner, some swelling, and, writes McAdam, an attitude in the wake of being hit in the eye by an errant Lowell throw during between-innings warmups Monday night. He didn't start the game, but he did come and play first base in the ninth inning to finish it out.
ALSO ON THE RECOVERY LIST: David Ortiz may begin hitting off a tee today in anticipation of his return to the lineup, which is still a couple of weeks away. McAdam has the report.
SWEET: There are people around here who are getting sick of it, but the nightly Sweet Caroline chorus is really something to people -- like the Arizona Republic's Nick Piecoro -- who've never heard it. Check the column on the right for his take.
IT'S REACHED THESE EARS . . . That Jerry Remy isn't too thrilled with NESN's latest hire, Heidi Watney. At least that what Baseball Musings' David Pinto is hearing; he passes it along in a post saluting Remy, who -- as you know if you watched any of last night's broadcast -- was honored by NESN and the Red Sox yesterday. You can see some pictures from the ceremony, and the game, in last night's projo.com slideshow.
HOW FAIR IS THAT?? The blog Fire Brand of the American League isn't happy about the disparity in the quality of interleague schedules for the Red Sox and Yankees; taking away their common opponents (the Reds and Astros), the Sox' N.L. foes are a combined 27 games over .500 and the Yanks' are 17 games under .500. Maybe so, but it's hard to muster much outrage since the Sox are 9-5 in interleague play this year and the Yankees are 7-5.
DON'T WORRY ABOUT ME: Sidney Ponson's already tarnished reputation was marred further by recent goings-on in Texas -- prompting the pitching-poor Rangers to a) release him and b) say they were better off without him no matter how well he was performing -- but he's with the Yankees now (actually, with their Triple-A team in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre) and he promises "to be low key . . . a ghost if possible." (New York Post)
ONE OF US: Hank Steinbrenner says that if Willie Randolph "had left [the Yankees] to [manage] the Red Sox, maybe I would have had a problem with that." But it was only the Mets, so Hank says Randolph -- "a Yankee, and he'll always be a Yankee" -- can have a job with the Yanks any old time. (New York Post)
WELL, THAT DIDN'T TAKE LONG: The love-fest that seemed to be building for Jerry Manuel in Mets Nation over the weekend came to a screeching halt after back-to-back drubbings at the hands of the woeful Mariners, and now Manuel is warning that "tough decisions" are in the offing if things don't improve very soon. (New York Post) It looks one of those tough decisions may be determining the fate of hitting coach Howard Johnson (New York Daily News), whose job can't be too secure after Manuel declared the Mets are a "bad offensive club."
FIRED UP: At least the Mets -- or some of them, anyway -- are still playing with passion. Carlos Beltran got tossed for arguing balls and strikes and called umpire Brian Runge's actions "weak" and "brutal," adding that "[if] I get suspended, he also should get suspended." (New York Daily News)
KID STUFF: First he angered the Mets by appearing to angle for Willie Randolph's seat when Randolph was still sitting in it. Now he's taking on the Yankees, claiming Joe Girardi's main qualification for their managing job is "[the] pictures . . . [he] must have on Steinbrenner." (New York Post) In these politically correct times, Gary Carter is a breath of fresh air . . . or something.
COINCIDENCE . . . OR NOT: The epidemic of broken maple bats was addressed by MLB yesterday -- or at least MLB started to address it -- with a conference call in New York of baseball's Safety and Health Advisory Committee to discuss player and fan safety. Among the results: The committee will consult with bat manufacturers and experts in the field, conduct field studies, conduct laboratory tests of bats, and gather information about protective measures in Major League ballparks. And then last night, to underscore just how urgent this issue is becoming, umpire Brian O'Nora was hit in the head by a piece of a broken maple bat in the Kansas City-Colorado game and had to be taken to the hospital for observation. (Both stories mlb.com)