Thursday, March 02, 2006


Coco Crisp went 3 for 3 in his first game in a Red Sox uniform, falling a homerun shy of the cycle. He was the Red Sox offense for the first half of the game, which the Sox lost 6-3 to the crosstown Twins. Crisp's performance was almost a response to Johnny Damon's 2 for 3 outing with the Yankees in their 6-3 loss to the Phillies. Crisp will be facing a lot of comparisons between he and Johnny Damon for the next 7 and hopefully 8 months. Crisp also had the first RBI of the game for the Sox. He then got knocked in to score the 2nd Sox run of the game.

The news wasn't all good out of Fort Myers. Jonathan Papelbon got hit with a liner in the foot early in the game. He stayed in there but his pitching was less than stellar. He faced 9 men in an inning and two thirds, giving up 4 hits, one of which was a homer, 2 earned runs, and walking a batter. He only struck out one Twin. The outing wasn't God aweful, though, and that's really the only thing that would be worrisome in the first game or any early Spring Training game. It didn't seem like the liner to the foot was bugging him too much, but he may or may not be feeling it all too well tomorrow. One good note on Papelbon, he induced 4 ground ball outs and 0 fly ball outs so when he kept the ball down, he was doing very well. His problem was keeping it down.

How much might it hurt guys like Papelbon, Delcarmen, Alvarez, and Hansen that Varitek is out of camp for the WBC?

None of the other potential Sox regulars did very well at the plate. Graffanino, who thinks he will be traded, went 0 for 3 with a K, but he did knock in a run. Youkilis went 0 for 3, grounded into a double play, and left a runner in scoring position with 2 outs. John Flaherty went 0 for 2, with 2 LOB, and had a throwing error trying to throw out a base stealer. Twenty-five year old David Murphy got the most playing time and also had probably the worst day. He played in left and center field, and went 0 for 4 at the plate with 4 strikeouts.

As usual, the players that had good days were the ones fighting to stay on the roster. The Red Sox had 9 hits, 6 of which came from players that probably won't be on the 25 man roster on Opening Day. The other 3, of course, came from Coco Crisp. Dustin Pedroia got a chance to pinch hit and play some short-stop. He went 0 for 1 with a strikeout. Luke Allen has a solid day, going 1 for 2 at the plate and recording an outfield assist.

Rudy Seanez did not astound me. He pitched an inning, giving up a pair of solo homeruns. Another newcomer, David Riske, followed him and gave up 2 hits and another run. Delcarmen pitched a scoreless 5th, allowing only a basehit. Hansen pitched a perfect 6th, recording one strikeout. Twenty-six year old Craig Breslow releived Papelbon in the 2nd with 2 outs. He walked a man to load the bases, but he was able to get out of the jam unscathed.

Tomorrow, the Red Sox have split-squad games against Boston College and Northeastern. Curt Schilling will start in the BC afternoon game, and Matt Clement will go in the Northeastern night game.


PJ Axelsson was welcomed back to Boston with a ceremony just for him and his Olympic gold medal. Marco Sturm, fresh from Torino and team Germany, scored the game winner with less than 3 minutes before the end of regulation. Every point is precious for the Bruins now with only 22 games remaining in the regular season. The Bruins are still 4 points behind Montreal for the last playoff spot. Montreal also has 2 games in hand. This was also a big win because the Bruins and Thrashers are now tied for 9th behind the Canadiens. The Bruins have 4 games against Montreal in March and April. Each game will be vital if the Bruins want to make the playoffs.

The beginning of the free agent signing period will be pushed back by three days so the League and the Union can have some time to "cool off" so they can reconvene probably sometime next week. If they hadn't pushed back this deadline, many teams would have purged their rosters in an effort to get under the cap. This whole thing could wind up being a big mess.

The Eagles beat Wake Forest the other night to move into 3rd in the ACC standings and clinch at least a 4th seed and a first round bye in their first ever ACC tournament. If BC beats Virginia Tech at the Conte Forum on Saturday and #15 UNC loses to #1 Duke at Cameron Indoor, the Eagles will move into 2nd in the ACC and get a much better path through the ACC tournament. If they get the 2 seed, they won't face Duke until the finals if both teams make it that far. BC is on the verge of getting a really good seed in the NCAA tournament. They are currently projected by as being a 4th seed. If they can win two games in the ACC tournament, they will make a big impression on the selection committee and might get a good 3 seed.

South Korea and Chinese Tapei kicked off the first ever international competition of the best baseball players in the world. None of the Red Sox players are in the Asian Group that is the first group to begin play. However, players have left Fort Myers to join their teams. The first game in North America will be March 7th at 1:00 PM when the Dominican Republic faces Venezuela. More on the WBC in a later post.


You know, it's hard to take Johnny Damon's "Thank You" ad seriously when he says stuff like this from the NY Times:

"'He thought for sure he was going to be gone,' Damon said Tuesday. 'Unfortunately for him, he's not. He's been there for five years. He just wants a change. He knows how good he is. It's just an unfortunate situation.'"

Seriously, Johnny, shut up. Try to adhere to the Jimy Williams doctrine when it comes to talking about the players on the other team (remember when that Japenese reporter asked Jimy about Ichiro "Oh well he plays for Seattle. Go over and talk to Seattle." Or maybe adhere to the Bill Belichick doctrine of only praising opponents in public forums.

David Wells continues to be standoffish to the media. When asked whether or not he was still seeking a trade, Wells responded "That's it asked the wrong question." The Q & A was over. Remember, this is the same guy who stood up for Kenny Rogers last season. NESN cameramen, beware!

Tonight, the Red Sox begin their Spring Training schedule by going across town to Lee County Stadium to play the Minnesota Twins. The Red Sox have released their starting lineup for tonight's game:

1. CF Coco Crisp
2. 2B Tony Graffanino
3. 1B Kevin Youkilis
4. RF Dustan Mohr
5. C John Flaherty
6. DH Ron Calloway
7. SS Alejandro Machado
8. LF David Murphy
9. 3B Enrique Wilson

Jonathan Papelbon will be on the mound.