The Red Sox lineup card had a notable omission last night. Orlando Cabrera's name was not on it.
That qualifies as stop-the-presses news anywhere. Cabrera misses games about as often as Cal Ripken, but he was out of last night's game against the Orioles, and manager Terry Francona said Cabrera also would miss tonight's as well.
"His wife [Eliana] is having surgery at home in Bogota [Colombia]," Francona said. "He'll play Wednesday."
Francona said he consulted with Cabrera over the weekend about the situation, and Cabrera simply told him, "I want to be with my wife." That was more than enough for the Red Sox skipper. Cabrera left yesterday morning and is expected to return late tonight. Francona did not elaborate on the medical situation.
"He felt he needed to be there," Francona said. "This [baseball] has to take a back seat to family things. I completely understand and I agree with that."
The 29-year-old Cabrera is your basic gamer right out of Central Casting. Prior to joining the Red Sox in the Nomar Garciaparra deal July 31, he had appeared in 271 consecutive games for the Expos and had missed only one game in five seasons. But the streak came to an end because he wasn't available on the Saturday the deal went down, so a new streak began with the Red Sox. Until last night, he had not missed a game with his new team, playing 46 straight. The Red Sox were 33-13 in that span; Cabrera has hit .286 with 4 home runs and 22 RBIs.
"He's played, what, every game for the last four years? He plays every day," Francona said. "He doesn't like to miss games."
Pokey Reese, who was the Red Sox' shortstop on Opening Day, replaced Cabrera in the lineup and batted ninth. It was Reese's third start since coming off the disabled list Sept. 7 after missing 45 games with a rib-cage strain. He was pulled for a pinch hitter in the sixth and replaced at short by Ricky Guttierrez.
Give and take
Baltimore third baseman Melvin Mora had what can only be described as an eventful evening. He had a big home run. He had an error that led to an unearned run. He botched a forceout at third when he tried to tag a sliding runner instead of tagging the bag. But the weirdest play of the night came in the fifth. Mora was on third and Miguel Tejada on second when Rafael Palmeiro drew a walk. Thinking the bases were loaded, Mora started to trot home, only to realize the bases weren't loaded. What ensued was a wild, wacky rundown ("a Little League pickle play," said Kevin Millar) that entailed five Red Sox throws. The last one was mishandled by Millar for an error and Mora was able to score the Orioles' seventh run. "I'm going to look at the home run," said Baltimore manager Lee Mazzilli, referring to Mora's solo shot in the ninth that accounted for the game's last run. "That's all I'm going to look at. The other stuff I'm going to overlook." Mora, by the way, has committed 20 errors; six have come against the Red Sox . . . Congratulations to Sox outfielder Dave Roberts, father of the newly minted Emmerson Faith, who was born at 11:05 p.m. Sunday at Brigham & Women's Hospital. Roberts flew back to Boston along with Curt Schilling and some other teammates and was able to witness the birth. Roberts reports mother and daughter are doing fine . . . Mark Bellhorn whiffed three times last night and is now just three K's shy of tying Butch Hobson's 1977 franchise record of 162 . . . B.J. Surhoff's grand slam was the eighth allowed this season by Red Sox hurlers. The last one came Aug. 31, courtesy of Alfredo Amezaga of the Angels . . . Orioles catcher Javier Lopez struck out in the second inning, but the third strike got past Doug Mirabelli. With first base open, Lopez could have dashed for the bag. Instead, he stayed in the batter's box and then, when it was too late, tried to get to first . . . Manny Ramirez came home on a David Ortiz homer in the fourth, scoring his 100th run for the second straight year and fourth time in his career. He did it twice in Cleveland . . . Francona said a decision might come today as to what the team has planned for Byung Hyun Kim, who threw on the sidelines over the weekend in New York. Kim has been bothered by several problems all season, including a right shoulder strain, and has appeared in three games, one in April and two in early May. "He threw the ball pretty well," Francona said. "His pitching will determine where he fits." Kim was 1-1 in those three appearances . . . Ellis Burks, meanwhile, remained on the DL, despite thinking that he might be activated . . . Yesterday was the 44th anniversary of one of the more memorable events in Red Sox history. On Sept. 20, 1960, Carroll Hardy pinch hit for Ted Williams after Williams hurt his ankle. Hardy, who grounded into a double play, is the only man to ever pinch hit for Williams.
Getting a taste
The Red Sox' No. 1 draft pick from this past June, Arizona State shortstop Dustin Pedroia, was in town for a visit. Pedroia took batting practice and generally was in awe of Fenway Park in his first visit not only to the stadium, but to Boston. "It's awesome being here," Pedroia said. "I wanted to see the Monster after having seen it so much on TV. It's pretty cool." Pedroia played for Red Sox affiliates in the South Atlantic and Florida State leagues in August. He hit .400 for Augusta in 12 games and then was moved to Sarasota, where he hit .336 in 30 games. His offseason plans include working out in Reno, Nev., and playing instructional league ball. Asked where he'll start next season, he said, "I have no idea." . . . Francona said he didn't feel qualified to address the issue of Pedro Martinez's uncharacteristic penchant this season for giving up home runs. Martinez has given up 25 dingers in 204 2/3 innings. In the previous three seasons, he gave up a total of 25 homers (including 7 last year) over 502 2/3 innings. "I didn't see him that much before to notice the difference," Francona said. "But I think he's still having a pretty good year." Jamie Moyer leads the AL in homers allowed with 41 . . . With Tim Wakefield on the mound, Jason Varitek did not start. That might have been a good thing, given Varitek's brutal weekend in New York (0 for 10 with 8 strikeouts) and his recent slump (1 for 23). Varitek ended up pinch hitting in the sixth and reached on an infield single when Mora blew the force at third . . . As the winner of a Sports Authority contest, 10-year-old John Potter of Lynnfield will get to bring Gabe Kapler to his fifth-grade class today at the North Shore Christian School in Lynn for show and tell.