RED SOX NOTEBOOK
Damon is 'questionable'
Aftereffects may delay his return
NEW YORK -- Still groggy and battling a persistent headache, among other aftereffects of the Grade 2 concussion he suffered Monday, Johnny Damon yesterday listed his status for Game 3 of the American League Championship Series at Fenway Park tomorrow as "questionable."
"I've got to sleep all day, like, gosh, I'm trying to shake it somehow," he said. "And the headache is a little worse today."
Damon was hoping a win in Game 2 would "give us more options" regarding his status, but last night's 6-2 loss negated that.
Damon took batting practice and fielded a few fly balls yesterday, hoping the workout would hasten his recovery. The lethargy associated with the concussion caused him to sleep 14 hours Tuesday night and 12 hours Wednesday night, and still it was not enough.
"I'm kind of in and out of it," he said.
Damon's memory of the events surrounding his horrific collision in center field with Damian Jackson has begun to return, though he still does not remember drawing a walk in the sixth inning and scoring on Manny Ramirez's three-run homer. He was unconscious for three or four minutes.
Asked how close to 100 percent he needs to be to play tomorrow, Damon said, "I've always been the type of player who has gone out when I'm not 100 percent, but you're dealing with a head injury. If I'm a little bit better, I'll definitely be on the field. Of course, no one wants to play with a headache, but if I have to, hopefully the trainers will have the right medicine for me."
Gabe Kapler went 1 for 4 (two strikeouts) in Damon's place last night -- also batting leadoff -- and would likely go in Game 3 against Roger Clemens if Damon can't.
"We're still hopeful he will be able to go," manager Grady Little said.
Jackson spells Walker
Despite going 2 for 5 with a homer in Game 1 against the Yankees and hitting .313 with three homers in the Division Series, Todd Walker didn't start last night so Jackson could play second base behind Derek Lowe, as he did often down the stretch. Lowe's ERA has been considerably lower this year when Walker has yielded to Jackson, who has more range and a better arm.
Jackson did have a hit and drove in a run, but he also botched a potential double play when he couldn't catch Jorge Posada's line drive in the third inning. Jackson was charged with an error, and his misplay left the bases loaded with one out, though the Yankees didn't score as a result of it.
Little said the lineup switch was not a tough decision.
"We're going with something that's been well discussed with all the parties concerned and that's what we feel gives us the best chance to win," he said.
As much as Walker wanted to play, he said, "I leave that up to Grady because I have respect for him. I'm not going to make too much of a fuss about it."
Walker noted that Trot Nixon came off the bench in Game 3 of the Division Series to hit a game-winning homer. Walker was hoping to play a similar role, but the best he could manage was an inconsequential pinch-hit single in the ninth.
"DJ's a great player, so we don't lose too much with him in there," Walker said. "He's got a little more range and I've got a little more power. That's about the only difference."
Series tickets on sale
At the direction of Major League Baseball, the Sox announced that they will place World Series tickets for Games 1, 2, 6, and 7 on sale today at 6 p.m. Tickets will be sold only via the telephone and Internet, as they were for the ALCS and Division Series. They are available by calling (617) 482-4SOX or at www.redsox.com.
Prices are established my Major League Baseball: $180 for box seats, $130 for grandstand seats, $65 for bleachers, and $45 for standing room. A $6 transaction fee for each ticket and a $14 handling charge for each order apply. Given the limited number of tickets available, fans may purchase only two for one game per transaction.
"By limiting the number of tickets per transaction and by exclusively using the Internet and our phone ticketing system, we are ensuring the random nature of this process, and we think we're making it as fair as we can for as many fans as possible," said Mike Dee, the team's executive vice president of business affairs.
The Sox would host Game 1 on Saturday, Oct. 18; Game 2 Oct. 19; Game 6 (if necessary) on Saturday, Oct. 25; and Game 7 (if necessary) Oct. 26. All are scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m.
In no hurry
The Twins complained during their Division Series against New York about the long seventh-inning stretches at Yankee Stadium. With an on-field performance of "America the Beautiful" part of the ceremony, the stretch lasted nearly six minutes in Game 1 of the ALCS. But Little said the Sox had no complaints, even though Tim Wakefield suddenly lost command of his knuckleball in the bottom of the seventh after cruising through six innnings. "It probably could have [affected Wakefield] if it was a surprise," Little said. "But it was something we talked about before the game. We knew it was going to happen. I think the fact Wake had thrown as many pitches as he had to that point and that we hit for 30 minutes [in the top of the seventh] probably had more bearing on it." . . . The Sox have no plans to bring back Wakefield on short rest to start Game 4. John Burkett remains tentatively scheduled to start . . . Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino said that he expects to continue appearing on WEEI's morning talk program, "Dennis and Callahan," despite the controversy that led to a two-week suspension of the program's hosts. "They're our flagship station," Lucchino said, "and I'm going to continue to work with our flagship station. I'm not there to comment on political issues, I'm there to comment on baseball issues. As long as the flagship station wants me, I'll be there."
He wasn't floored
George Steinbrenner, riding triumphantly down the elevator after the game, struck a low-key tone. "It was all right," he said of the victory. "That game was good for us. We've got to beat a very good team." Asked for a prediction, he said, "Boston, I'm not making predictions." . . . The Sox homered in their fifth straight postseason game and have homered in six of seven playoff games this year . . . Jason Varitek's homer was the fifth he has hit in postseason games . . . Through two games, the bullpens combined have allowed one run in 10 innings. Sox relievers have worked 4 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing two hits . . . The Sox outhit the Yankees for the second straight night, 10-8 . . . Maybe Steinbrenner has a soft spot after all. Sox general manager Theo Epstein said the Boss sent a congratulatory note when the Sox clinched the AL wild card . . . Jeremy Giambi worked out in uniform with the Sox.
Gordon Edes of the Globe staff contributed to this report.
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