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Torre ready to go to Wells again

David Wells was ready to go, as scheduled, Sunday night. The weather intervened. He was ready to go last night, but Mike Mussina intervened. Today, if Mother Nature cooperates, the pitcher they call Boomer will finally make his first start of the American League Championship Series.

Wells will be taking the mound for the first time since Oct. 5, the day he delivered the knockout punch to the Minnesota Twins in the Division Series. And he didn't know 24 hours before that game whether he'd be pitching in the afternoon or at night. He can handle the uncertainty.

As it was, he would have been going on a week's rest had the heavens not opened Sunday. What's another day or two?

"It doesn't matter to Boomer," Yankees manager Joe Torre said before Game 4. "He's had a week between starts before. Since he started throwing in the bullpen, I think his stuff has been more consistent. The fact that he got so close to game time [Sunday night] and almost started, the preparation was part of it."

Wells did not make an interview appearance before the game, which next-game pitchers usually do; he had made the appearance Saturday. Since he had done nothing since (except, perhaps, tweak a groin), there was nothing to demand a reappearance. (Besides, in his previous one, he had trashed Fenway Park, saying that whenever folks are ready to raze the place, "Let me push the button.")

Torre touched on the possible groin injury, which was being reported yesterday in broadcasts as something that might sideline Wells. The manager said Wells hurt himself coming out of the dugout (during Game 3) but that everything was fine Sunday and that Wells would have pitched. Torre was assuming nothing would go wrong overnight and that Wells, who has had his troubles in Fenway (10-10, 5.05 ERA), will be ready.

Wells's last start resulted in a seven-plus-inning performance as the Yankees closed out the Twins, 8-1. He has lost only once since Sept. 1, going 4-1 with a no-decision in that span. Against the Red Sox this season, Wells was 2-1 with a 3.91 ERA. The only loss came in Yankee Stadium. The record at Fenway was 1-0 with a no-decision.

Wells was one of the more visible objectors to Pedro Martinez's beanball Saturday night. The television cameras caught Wells, Don Zimmer, and Jorge Posada on the steps of the dugout, screaming at Martinez and the umpires. While Wells isn't crazy about Fenway Park in general, there's also no love lost for the Red Sox fans.

"My first 12, 13 years here, it was OK. It was fine," he said. "But now it's becoming pretty vulgar and rude over the last few years. It's just getting worse. I understand fans are fans. I'm still a fan, but I don't go out there and say some of the things that these people do. And the last couple of years, they have been hitting below the belt -- and that's just not fun."

Earlier in the postseason, Wells was asked about his season. It started with the commotion caused by his book and continued with his on-again, off-again pitching, which, lately, has been on again.

"It's something that usually seems to happen," he said. "I'm a guy that doesn't back down and usually fights fire with fire. I kind of get a kick out of it. Obviously, it has not really affected me. I've pitched well the last two years here. I go out and do my job."

Let the rest speak for itself.

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