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The worst may be over for Pokey Reese, who severely sprained his left thumb Wednesday diving for a ball. Though his thumb remained extremely sore yesterday when he woke up, Reese said it felt much better after he received treatment while the Red Sox played the Twins at Fenway Park.

The best news, Reese said, is that he did not tear the ligament as he did last year with the Pirates, forcing him to miss most of the season. If he continues to progress well, he is unlikely to need a stint on the disabled list.

"I thought I messed it up a little worse than what it was," he said. "Praise to God everything worked out well."

Reese, who wore a removable brace, said the medical team tentatively plans to tape the thumb tomorrow so he can test it swinging a bat. In the best scenario, Reese would play Sunday in the last of three games against the Phillies.

"Hopefully, I'll be in there at the end of this series," he said.

Manager Terry Francona indicated team officials were comfortable going with 24 players at least through the weekend before they decide whether they need to place Reese on the DL and summon help.

"If he just can't do it, then we have to think things through," Francona said, stressing that Sunday was not a "do-or-die day" for a decision on Reese.

Francona said Kevin Youkilis will continue playing third and Mark Bellhorn will stay at second, with Cesar Crespo helping off the bench.

Error in judgment?
Sometimes when Nomar Garciaparra says something's funny, he means it's not funny. So it was when he learned Minnesota's Cristian Guzman was not credited with a hit on a grounder up the middle leading off the 10th inning. Garciaparra fielded the ball, twirled, and fired wildly to first base for a throwing error, allowing Guzman to reach second (and later score the winning run).

"That should have been a hit and an error," Garciaparra said. "They didn't do that?"

Told that official scorer Charles Scoggins ruled it was strictly an error, Garciaparra said, "That's hilarious to me. That's pretty funny."

In other words, not funny at all.

Nor was Twins manager Ron Gardenhire amused.

"That's ridiculous," he said. "That's a base hit as far as I'm concerned. If Nomar makes that play, people go crazy here and erupt in all kinds of cheers. That's why you call it a base hit, because that was a hell of a tough play."

Francona agreed. "That ball was a hit," he said.

The Twins asked Scoggins, who writes for the Lowell Sun, to review the play, which he did. Scoggins told reporters he believed Garciaparra was balanced, had time to make a good throw, and would have retired Guzman if the throw was accurate.

Looking ahead to NY

The Sox plan to maintain their current rotation at least through the end of the month, which means Derek Lowe, Tim Wakefield, and Pedro Martinez will face the Yankees next week in the Bronx . . . David Ortiz went 6 for 13 (.462) with two homers and five RBIs in the series against the Twins, his former team. His solo shot in the first inning was the first homer Brad Radke had allowed in 48 1/3 innings . . . The Sox recorded their 100th straight sellout since May 15, 2003. The streak is the third longest in major league history. The Indians set the record (455 straight sellouts) from 1995-2001. The Rockies recorded the second-longest run (203) from 1995-97. No other team has sold out every home game this season. The 2000 Giants were the last team to sell out every home game for an entire season . . . On New Hampshire Day, Granite State native Seth Myers of "Saturday Night Live" tossed a ceremonial first pitch . . . Curt Schilling said he bounced back "great" from Tuesday's start after he was cleared to continue pitching with a bruised bone in his right ankle joint. Schilling will undergo an MRI Monday after he faces the Phillies Sunday at Fenway. The MRI will be Schilling's fourth on the ankle, which has bothered him when he has thrown fastballs if he has not numbed the ankle with the anesthetic Marcaine. He worked yesterday in the pen without the medicine. "That's the first time in 5 1/2 weeks I was able to throw a full bullpen," he said. "[The injury] didn't inhibit me throwing in any way.". . . Ellis Burks is inching toward a minor league rehab assignment as he comes back from surgery April 26 on torn cartilage in his left knee. Burks, whose recurrent swelling recently has subsided, has run aggressively the last few days without complications. "I think he's getting the itch to try and go out and play a little bit," Francona said, indicating the rehab stint could begin next week. Burks would not need many games in the minors since he is not expected to play in the field any time soon. He is expected to serve as a DH and pinch hitter . . . Francona expressed little nostalgia about facing the Phillies this weekend. "That's three teams ago," he said. Francona worked for the Indians, Rangers, and A's after he managed the Phillies from 1997-2000 . . . The manager said Ramiro Mendoza may be ready to return before Byung Hyun Kim. Both were scheduled to make rehab appearances last night for Triple A Pawtucket. "Once he throws a couple of times, he should be ready," Francona said of Mendoza. "BK's behind him a little bit." It remains to be seen where Mendoza would fit since the Sox have acquired Curtis Leskanic

In Today's Globe
Sunday RHE
Phillies 3 12 0
Red Sox 12 12 1
WP: Schilling LP: Myers
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