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Red Sox awash in rainouts

They move on to Baltimore

The grounds crew has been the only team on the field at Fenway Park since the sixth inning of last Friday’s game against the Rangers.
The grounds crew has been the only team on the field at Fenway Park since the sixth inning of last Friday’s game against the Rangers. (AP Photo)

Again it was too wet for the Red Sox to play yesterday, as the field, the dugouts, and a caved-in ceiling panel in manager Terry Francona's office bathroom all reflected the soaking antiquated Fenway Park had endured.

''Almost had to go on the DL," Francona said, looking at the gaping hole in the ceiling directly above his toilet.

Rain now has cost the Sox 21 consecutive innings of baseball, the last three innings of Friday's abbreviated 6-0 loss to the Rangers and the games scheduled for Saturday and yesterday.

The Sox, as previously announced, intend to make up Saturday's game as a doubleheader during the Rangers' visit to Fenway June 9-11.

Yesterday's game could be made up as another doubleheader that weekend, making for four games in two days (''There's a chance," Francona said. ''I think that's probably a small chance.") The other possibility: playing a one-game series July 20, a mutual offday for the teams. (''But that's not a given," Francona said. ''Nothing's a given.")

July 20 would seem to make the most sense. That is an open date during Texas's 11-day, 10-game trip stopping in Baltimore (July 13-16), Toronto (July 17-19), and Chicago (July 21-23). A game that day would extend the Sox' seven-game homestand coming out of the All-Star break. The Sox play in Seattle the next night.

That, however, is a concern for another day. The more immediate issue yesterday was how to align the rotation, which has become a four-man unit for the time being. Fifth starter Lenny DiNardo, who last pitched May 7, will move to the bullpen for the three-game series beginning tonight in Baltimore, and will return to the rotation Saturday or Sunday.

Josh Beckett, scheduled to start yesterday opposite Kevin Millwood, pitches tonight against Rodrigo Lopez (1-5, 7.03 ERA). Curt Schilling works tomorrow against Bruce Chen (0-4, 8.42), and Tim Wakefield opposes Erik Bedard (4-2, 4.63) Wednesday. All three Sox starters will be working with one additional day of rest.

Matt Clement, who went seven days between his last starts, will have gone six days without pitching when he takes the mound in the series opener Friday at Philadelphia. Beckett and DiNardo will pitch Saturday and Sunday against the Phillies, though it has not been determined in what order.

''Lenny goes to the bullpen for the foreseeable future, my guess until Thursday," Francona said. ''We'll have Lenny available, that gives us an extra pitcher. They're going to pitch Saturday, Sunday, I just don't know what order yet."

Schilling could pitch Sunday in Philadelphia on normal rest, but he'd have to bat (probably not a good idea for that ankle) and he'd miss pitching against the Yankees, who come to town next Monday. So, as it's set up, he will pitch the opener of that series, in exactly one week, to be followed by Wakefield Tuesday and Clement Wednesday.

''That is a given," Francona said of those three pitchers facing the Yankees.

The odd man out, of course, is David Wells, who was supposed to pitch a simulated game Saturday, make a rehab start Thursday, and possibly rejoin the rotation May 23, in the middle game of that series vs. New York. Now -- though it has not been announced -- he stands to make a rehab start Saturday and return to the rotation as soon as May 25 or 26, taking DiNardo's scheduled turn against Tampa Bay at Fenway.

''Basically backed him up a couple days," Francona said. ''Talking to him [Saturday] I think he understood and thought maybe it won't hurt him. Nothing we can do about it anyway, so he might as well look at it like that."

Meanwhile, in Pawtucket, the PawSox' scheduled doubleheader yesterday was rained out, resulting in a single-admission makeup doubleheader (two seven-inning games) tonight at 5:05. If Pawtucket and Scranton-Wilkes Barre play it will be the first time the PawSox have been able to play at home since Thursday afternoon. Pawtucket has been rained out three times in a row, four times in six days, and five times this season.

The pitching probables for tonight's games at McCoy Stadium:

Game 1: RHP Jeremy Cummings (3-1, 5.54) vs. RHP David Riske (0-0, 0.00).

Game 2: LHP Jim Crowell (0-0, 1.64) vs. RHP Craig Hansen (0-0, 3.38).

Don't read too much into that, however.

Riske, who pitched Wednesday and threw a simulated session in a batting cage Saturday, will be making his second appearance on rehab. Hansen, meanwhile, has not been converted to a starter; he simply continues to work three innings at a time on a fixed program. With the recent rainouts, the Sox simply want to make sure Hansen gets his work in, and starting him gives him the best shot to pitch, in case weather again becomes a factor.

Coco Crisp, who at the beginning of May hoped to be back playing by the middle of the month, will not go with the team to Baltimore. Set back by illness this week, Francona said his leadoff hitter is ''coming along slowly. He'll stay back and try to get his legs under him. It's going to take him a little while to get back on his feet." Crisp has not swung a bat since breaking a knuckle at the base of his left index finger April 8. He's missed five weeks and 30 games . . . Dustan Mohr, who is 1 for his last 12 and hasn't started since April 30, will miss today's game to be with his wife, whose labor is scheduled to be induced today.

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