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Martinez hip check on deck

BALTIMORE -- The afterglow of last night's 12-5 thumping of the Orioles could fade quickly if "the little pinch" in Pedro Martinez's right hip turns out to be more serious. Martinez slipped on the rain-slickened mound at Camden Yards as he faced Javy Lopez leading off the seventh inning.

"I thought it was just going to go away, but it continued to pinch and continued to pinch, and I tried to stretch it a little bit and it felt worse," Martinez said. "And when I got to the stretch position, it was even worse."

After Lopez doubled and the next batter, Karim Garcia, popped out, Sox manager Terry Francona and the training staff visited Martinez on the mound.

"I just wanted to make sure he was OK," Francona said. "In a game like that, I didn't want to leave him out there longer than he needed to stay out there."

Martinez lobbied to stay in, trying to provide some relief for the overtaxed bullpen.

"I said, `No, let me see if I can continue to actually get the couple of outs that I was supposed to get,' " Martinez said. "It didn't work out, so they didn't want to take a chance."

Martinez left the game after he surrendered singles to Jerry Hairston and Larry Bigbie. Then he immediately iced his hip.

"I think I'm going to be OK," Martinez said. "I'll have to actually go out to the bullpen and try it and see how it feels. But I don't think I'll miss an outing or anything like that. I'm going to run [hard] and see whether it gets better or gets worse."

He said running hard typically works out kinks he develops in his hips.

Pen pals
The addition of Terry Adams and imminent return of Scott Williamson may provide a badly needed boost for the weary Sox pen. Curtis Leskanic's struggles Saturday against the Yankees and Mike Timlin's troubles Sunday were considered directly related to their fatigue. Alan Embree also has been so run down that Francona resisted using him Sunday in key situations.

Embree indicated he appreciated the rest, especially considering the potential consequences. Leskanic landed on the 15-day disabled list Sunday with right shoulder tendinitis. Embree and Timlin each had pitched in 47 games entering last night, more than any pitchers in the league but Yankees Paul Quantrill (53), Tom Gordon (48), and Mariano Rivera (48).

"Mike and I have pitched a lot," Embree said. "The healthier we are and the more rest we get, the better we are as a team."

Adams could particularly remove some of Embree's burden because he is tough on lefthanders, holding them to a .214 average before last night. Lefthanders had hit .279 against Embree. Adams worked two-thirds of an inning last night, allowing two inherited runners to score.

Williamson, who struggled with his command in a rehab outing Sunday for Pawtucket, will work on his mechanics in the bullpen today and pitch out of the pen Thursday for the PawSox in Syracuse. He remains on track to be activated this weekend in Minnesota.

Scary moment
Orioles reliever Todd Williams escaped serious injury in the eighth when Gabe Kapler rifled a line drive off the back of his head, sending him sprawling to the mound. Williams left the field under his own power and was fine, according to Baltimore manager Lee Mazzilli. "That was scary," Kapler said. "It made my heart drop a little bit. I don't like being a part of that kind of thing. You have flashbacks of Bryce Florie in that situation. Thank God, it looks like he's OK." Florie was struck by a line drive by the Yankees' Ryan Thompson in 2000 at Fenway Park and suffered serious injuries to his face and right eye . . . Manny Ramirez went 3 for 4 as he emerged from a 3-for-25 slump.

Millar's time
For the first time in his Sox career, Millar received AL player of the week honors, which he shared with Baltimore's Miguel Tejada for the period ending Sunday. Millar led the league with a .583 batting average, six homers, 32 total bases, a 1.333 slugging percentage, and a .615 on-base percentage. He went off in the three-game series against the Yankees, going 10 for 13 with four homers and eight RBIs, including the first three-homer game of his career. He also won player of the week honors with the Marlins July 15, 2001. Millar attributed his hot streak to opening his stance after he watched Seattle's Miguel Olivo hit well with a similar stance on the last road trip. "What I was doing before wasn't working," Millar said. "Each year is an adjustment and they're pitching me different. Now I'm trying to make an adjustment back." It continued working last night as Millar doubled home a run in the third, marking the sixth straight game with an RBI . . . The Sox were one of four teams in the running for Minnesota's Doug Mientkiewicz, but the Twins were believed to be most interested in moving him to the Pirates in a package for righthander Kris Benson. Boston's interest also may have waned amid Millar's recent surge . . . Jason Varitek (1 for 4, 3 RBIs) returned to the lineup after slightly injuring his right wrist in his altercation Sunday with New York's Alex Rodriguez. The Sox had yet to hear from baseball's discipline chief, Bob Watson, about the incident. Nor had they heard about a hearing date for David Ortiz's appeal of his five-game suspension. Ortiz hoped the penalty could be reduced to three games in time for him to sit out next week's series against the Devil Rays. He figured the Sox might need him more against the Twins and Tigers, their other opponents after the Orioles on the four-city, 12-game road trip . . . Meanwhile, Rodriguez said he plans to appeal any suspension. "When somebody attacks, you have to protect yourself," Rodriguez said . . . Derek Lowe avoided aggravating the blister on his right thumb by throwing virtually no sinkers in his win over the Yankees Sunday night.

Material from Associated Press and Gordon Edes of the Globe staff was used in this report. 

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