Friday, May 12, 2006


Tonight at Fenway, Matt Clement is slated to go against 1-3 Kameron Loe of the Texas Rangers in the opening game of a 3 game homestand. According to, it will be raining. There is a 100% chance of precipitation at 7, and from 8 to 11 there is a 90% chance of precipitation. How hard this precipitation will be is yet to be seen.

I understand all the secrecy surrounding Curt Schilling's "non-baseball medical issue" yesterday afternoon. But I don't like it. In case you haven't heard, before yesterday's game, Schilling went to a nearby medical facility in New York in his uniform and in a Yankees owned van. He returned very quickly and was on the field to shag fly balls in BP. He did not comment on what the issue was.

I don't think it is something serious, otherwise it would have taken longer than a few minutes to check out. I don't think it was something very sudden, otherwise he would have taken an ambulance. It might not even be an injury to him. It might have been an injury to someone else. It might not even be an injury. The flu has been going around the Sox clubhouse, and perhaps he has a bad case of it.

What is strange, however, is the silence. Schilling is such an open and outspoken guy that it is odd that he'd stay silent on an issue. Then again, it might be something embarrassing, or personal, or something that is affecting someone else. We'll see...maybe.

Coco Crisp's return was hoped to be early this upcoming weak. However, he has been very sick and unable to do anything but finger exercises. The Sox believe this will extend Coco's stint on the DL until May 22 or so, which just so happens to be when the Yankees come back to town.

This might all prove to be moot speculation if other players get injured, but there are several issues the Sox will have to deal with when Coco comes back.

First of all, what to do with Youkilis. Francona has stated that Coco will return at leadoff when he comes off the DL. I agree with this decision. However, Youkilis has an OBP of .418 season and has scored 19 runs. I think Youkilis should move into the #2 spot in the lineup. Loretta has been hitting lately with a .455 OBP in May, but overall his season's numbers have been weaker than Youkilis's. Youk's OBP is higher, his average is higher, and his power numbers are better. Youk also works the count better. However, Loretta might be a better man to have in front of Ortiz considering Youkilis's patience probably won't mean much when hitters have to face Ortiz after him. I still think having Youkilis in front of Manny and Ortiz is better than having Loretta there. Loretta can move down to 7th or 8th in the lineup and use his ability to help manufacture runs with guys like Varitek and Lowell on in front of him, and Gonzalez and Crisp behind him.

The other question the Sox have to deal with is what to do with Willy Mo Pena. The obvious answer seems to be to platoon him with Nixon in right, giving him playing time against left-handed pitchers. However, Trot hasn't struggled all that mightily against lefties, and Willy Mo has actually done his best hitting against righties. Trot's hitting .294 against lefties, Pena is batting .212 against them. Pena is .395 against righties with a .628 slugging percentage. If Pena is hitting the way he is right now when Coco comes back, I don't see how you can take him out of the lineup.

After two bullpen sessions and reporting no discomfort in his knees, David Wells will make a simulated start on Saturday. If all goes well, he will make a rehab start for AAA Pawtucket against the Buffalo Bisons in Buffalo on May 18. He then wants to pitch against the Yankees on May 23. If I were the Sox, and even if Wells was great in his rehab outing, I'd make him do at least another one. Considering his age, and the fact that he's already re-injured his knees once this season, I'd give him another start in AAA before bringing him up to face Major Leaguers.

David Riske threw two thirds of an inning to start a game for Pawtucket against Syracuse on Wednesday. He struck out the first two men he faced, then walked the next two before being relieved. He threw 26 pitches, 13 of which were strikes. He is scheduled to make another rehab appearance on Saturday in Pawtucket against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

After Johnny Damon was booed by Fenway fans, there was an outpouring of criticism, mostly from Boston writers, accusing the fans of treating Johnny like "a common criminal" and being "vicious." However, there was little to no reaction to Yankee fans booing Randy Johnson on Tuesday night. Furthermore, there has been no criticism from other writers about the New York Post's proposal to "Drop Papi" by hitting him with pitches. Fans at Yankee Stadium have even begun the habit of cheering every time a ball comes inside to Manny Ramirez. They want to see him hit and injured. Yet, somehow, it is Red Sox fans that have no class because we booed the star center-fielder of our arch-rival. Weird, eh?