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Ring-a-ding opportunity

Fans will be able to get view tonight

Fans unable to attend yesterday's home opener can view at least one World Series ring up close tonight at Fenway Park between 4 and 7.

Also on display: the 2004 World Series and American League Championship trophies, the "Doug Mientkiewicz" ball, the ball from the final out of the 1903 World Series, and additional memorabilia supplied by the Baseball Hall of Fame and the Boston Public Library.

Dubbed "The Ring of Rings," the event will be staged along the warning track.

The Sox will charge $5 per person, to be donated to the Red Sox Foundation.

The Sox have expressed a willingness to bring Ellis Burks back in some capacity, and Burks, on hand yesterday for the ring ceremony, said he'd be interested, just not yet. Burks, who retired following last season, is enjoying his time at home in Ohio with his four children.

"They need dad at home," said Burks. "I really don't have any timetable. The first year I want to kick back and relax. After that I'll reevaluate and hopefully come back to this organization in some capacity."

His preference?

"I want to be on the field in some capacity," said Burks, who said he's turned down offers to do television work with NESN.

"That's what I'd be best suited for."

Welcome back
Jason Varitek sneaked up behind longtime teammate Derek Lowe yesterday in the Sox clubhouse and shouted "Boo." Lowe spun and gave Varitek a bear hug. Lowe, looking at Varitek's red pullover, cracked, "I thought you'd have a `C' on everything you wear." . . . Reliever Curtis Leskanic returned to receive his ring . . . Key members of the '04 Sox who did not attend the ring ceremony: Pokey Reese (on the disabled list with Seattle), Mientkiewicz, and Pedro Martinez (who had a home opener with the Mets), Nomar Garciaparra, Orlando Cabrera, and Gabe Kapler (in Japan). Kevin Millar and Doug Mirabelli remain in touch with Kapler but didn't know if he attempted to come. Millar e-mailed Kapler Sunday night but hadn't heard back as of yesterday morning. "He's the one guy I'd love to see here," Millar said . . . One scalper who asked to remain anonymous said most tickets on the street sold for about $450 to $500 apiece yesterday. The top seats went for $700. One reporter who tracked eBay the last few days found a pair of tickets five rows from the field that sold for more than $2,600 . . . David Wells has won two World Series rings, in 1992 with Toronto and 1998 with the Yankees, but never enjoyed a ring ceremony. He was released by the Blue Jays in March 1993, then traded by the Yankees to the Blue Jays in February 1999 in the deal that netted the Yankees Roger Clemens. He didn't do anything outrageous yesterday, like wear his Yankee ring. "I don't wear jewelry, man," said Wells. "I keep it at home in a display case. If you have big fingers, it takes up two. It's just too big." . . . The jerseys worn during the ring ceremony by members of the 2004 Red Sox featured red numbers outlined with gold stitching. The club will retain those jerseys in their memorabilia archive, though MLB promises to market similar replicas . . . Sox public relations executives estimated that yesterday's media crush equaled that of the American League Division Series. They did not convert seating in Sections 3 and 4 into auxiliary media seating, as was the case in the postseason. Without those extra seats, the Sox turned back many credential requests.

More from Mantei
Matt Mantei came away confident after pitching the eighth inning, in which he struck out Alex Rodriguez and Gary Sheffield back to back, both looking. Sheffield looked at a fastball that may have been just off the plate, and Rodriguez looked at a curveball. Mantei was thrilled about that, since he's had trouble locating his breaking stuff . . . Don't look now but Mark Bellhorn struck out swinging in the second inning and looking in the eighth, giving him 13 strikeouts in seven games. He's on pace for 300. He set a Sox record and led the AL with 177 last season. The only game in which Bellhorn didn't whiff was Saturday in Toronto, when he hit leadoff in place of Johnny Damon . . . Bill Mueller was hit by a Mike Mussina pitch on the right knee, the same knee Mueller had surgery on during the offseason. He looked fine, though, in the field and legging out an RBI double in the eighth . . . Which Red Sox player returned to Fenway Park to the largest pile of fan mail from the offseason? Curt Schilling. Schilling had six bags of mail awaiting him, said Sox assistant equipment manager Pookie Jackson. Schilling receives about 30 pieces of fan mail per day, Jackson said. Damon receives the second-most mail . . . Keith Foulke inherited Martinez's old locker, tucked behind a pole in the Sox clubhouse . . . Yankees pitcher Carl Pavano, who was hit in the head with a line drive Sunday, is expected to make his scheduled start Friday against Baltimore. "I'm fine," Pavano told reporters. "I have a slight headache." . . . Edgar Renteria lined to Derek Jeter in the third inning with two on and one out, and Jeter stepped on second for the double play. Renteria has hit into five double plays in seven games . . . Commissioner Bud Selig attended yesterday's game . . . The Sox hosted their Welcome Home Dinner at the Sheraton Boston last night. The event, which was a sellout and drew 1,000 people, raised more than $900,000 for the Red Sox Foundation . . . Tom Arnold was bounding around the Sox clubhouse with a "Best Damn Sports Show Period" camera crew before the game. He pounced on Lowe and Tom Werner for a quick word . . . The Sox, losers of their three previous home openers, improved to 61-44 in home openers. They are 52-42 in openers at Fenway Park . . . Varitek celebrated his 33d birthday yesterday by watching the game from the dugout. Mirabelli, as usual, caught Wakefield. Mirabelli also homered in the second inning.

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