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Spring things: Notes and observations

Page 2 of 4 -- Over his career, Mantei averages more than a strikeout per inning. Let's hope his shoulder holds up.

These kids are all right
Adam Hyzdu got Boston's four-run eighth-inning rally started yesterday after Twins first baseman Andy Fox dropped his pop-up, which put Hyzdu on second. George Lombard then walked. After Twins pitcher Boof Bonser walked David McCarty to load the bases with one out, Hanley Ramirez hit a hard ground ball single just to the right of second base, scoring Hyzdu to tie the game, 4-4.

Scott Tyler came in to pitch, and hit Shawn Wooten on the hands -- plating Lombard -- and the Sox took the lead, 5-4. Jeff Bailey subsequently walked -- scoring McCarty -- to make it 6-4 Red Sox, and Dave Berg hit a long sac fly, to send Ramirez home and complete the rally, and the 7-4 win for the good guys.

Playing pepper

  • Johnny Damon hit the wall hard on a ball he just missed hit by Eric Munson yesterday. His back crashed against the centerfield fence, but he seemed OK and stayed in the game, as he is wont to do.

  • Kim came undone quickly against the Phillies on Sunday. One fan was still getting on him for tossing the finger at Sox fans, which seems like ages ago, yelling: "only Ted Williams can flip of the Boston fans!" Let it go already. I know the weird injury diagnosis was frustrating last season, but let's just turn the page with BK and give him one last shot. As Terry Francona said last weekend, "his arm has a lot of life in it, but it's time for BK to pitch."

  • The vaunted Red Sox offense hasn't been able to string too many long innings together so far in spring training. Monday night it took a Trot Nixon solo home run in the fifth inning to get things going. Yesterday it was David Ortiz's solo shot that got the Sox rolling.

  • Seems like old times: Lou Gorman making the rounds to promote his new book on the '86 team that he's been working on since 1986.

  • In the old days at City of Palms, just like the old days at Fenway, if a seat was open in the lower perimeter, you could sit it in regardless of what assignment you had on your ticket. No more. Fort Myers ushers are cracking down like the old chowderheads at Fenway now, tossing seat squatters left and right, asking to see tickets, etc. Again, the innocence of spring training is lost.

    One softie usher was nice enough to let standing-room-only ticket-holders Peter Rein and his young son Peter J. from Marshfield stay in the front row of some empty seats during last Friday's afternoon game against Northeastern. As a result, Peter J. was able to get Ortiz to sign his baseball, which was a thrill he said he'll never forget.   Continued...

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