October 2009

Bay in an unfamiliar spot

It appeared there was a misprint in the lineup card for Saturday night’s game. Left fielder Jason Bay was batting in the No. 2 spot in the batting order, hardly where you’d expect the team’s best home run hitter to be.

Bay had fun with Francona after seeing his slot in the lineup. “He goes, you’ve finally come to your senses.”

Before the game, Bay joked that he had told Francona it was about time the team started utilizing his on-base capabilities.

With Jacoby Ellsbury getting the night off, Dustin Pedroia moved to the leadoff spot. That move paid immediate dividends when Pedroia unloaded for a solo shot that went on to Lansdowne Street in the bottom of the first. Bay also looked fine in a spot he will probably never hit in again, nailing an RBI single in the second that tied the game.

Getting Ellsbury some time off was something Francona loved having the opportunity to do. The speedy center fielder has 621 at-bats, topped only by Dustin Pedroia.

Red Sox breathe sigh of relief on Gonzalez

The Red Sox have one less thing to worry about, as follow-up X-rays on Alex Gonzalez’s right wrist taken this morning came back negative, according to the Boston Herald.

The shortstop was hit by a Kerry Wood fastball on Friday night and given a fluoroscan exam, which was inconclusive. The Red Sox were a little concerned when they saw a line in the flouroscan. But all worries were pushed aside with this morning’s more comprehensive test.

The Sox can ill-afford to lose Gonzalez for any lenght of time, given the health concerns for backup shorstops Jed Lowrie and Nick Green.

Back-to-back Billy

For one day, at least, Billy Wagner stopped feeling like a part-time reliever. Ever the competitor, Wagner had become a little antsy at not being permitted by the Red Sox to pitch on back-to-back days, even if he was only a year removed from Tommy John ligament transfer surgery.

On Friday, Wagner worked for the second straight night, retiring two batters and throwing eight pitches.

“I think it’s something you need to go through. I think it puts their mind at ease,” said Wagner. “I felt strong all along. They wanted to play it cautious. We’ve got a deep bullpen and they didn’t want to sit there and feel like they had to use me more than they needed to. This was just, I think, peace of mind.”

It was a little odd for Wagner to have to give manager Terry Francona the ball after facing just two batters.

“Well, of course. I’m used to finishing my own innings. But it’s a different role. Just hand him the ball and walk off,” said Wagner. “That’s his decision. I don’t question him.”

Ian Browne

Wake in limbo

No word yet on when Tim Wakefield will pitch again this season, or if he will. The veteran knuckleballer has battled through immense discomfort in his back to give the Red Sox four starts in the second half, during which he is 0-2 with a 6.00 ERA.

The Red Sox appear locked in to a rotation that will include Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz and Daisuke Matsuzaka. Considering Wakefield’s health, it’s unclear if there is much he could provide out of the bullpen.

“I don’t know. There’s so much uncertainty there,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. “He’s not going to pitch this weekend. We have decisions to make, so I really don’t know. That’s one of the things we’ll talk about. It’s difficult for us. We all acknowledge who he is, what he’s done for the organization for a long time. He’s also out there on one leg, so it makes it difficult.”

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