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Big change in thinking on Wells

Veteran may rejoin rotation

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Red Sox are planning to have an addition to their starting rotation by Monday, which is the trading deadline. Theo Epstein strikes again? That could well happen , but in this case the face is familiar, the jumbo-sized body even more so.

Sox manager Terry Francona all but came out yesterday and confirmed that 43-year-old David Wells will eschew a rehab start, pass ``Go," and proceed directly to a turn in the rotation. That's how satisfied the Sox are with his progress.

``He'll throw a side, and after that, we're still up in the air a little bit . . . but the next couple of days we'll get it all ironed out," Francona said.

``I've already talked to Boomer about this, to make sure we're all on the same page.

``I don't want to speak ahead of myself, but he threw the ball really well yesterday and I say this respectfully, he's kind of a freak of nature. The [expletive] can come out there and throw strikes. He gets out of bed, has a beer, whatever, he can throw strikes. I'm not too sure we're interested in him getting out Triple A guys. I'd rather him get big-league hitters out. If we didn't think he could do it, we wouldn't ask him to.

``We'll see how the week goes. He's busted his rear end to get back, and I'm not in the mood to hold him back. I think we're all on the same page about that. I talked to Theo a bunch, so we'll see how it plays out. If [Wells] comes in and thinks he needs it, we'll do it. We'll see how it goes."

Wells has an aversion to making minor league tuneups, but Francona insisted that in this case, he would do it if he felt it necessary. ``He's matured about it," said the manager.

Wells is not commenting to print reporters.

Slow going
Is there imminent movement on the trade front?

If so, Francona maintains he hasn't gotten the message. He said when he spoke with Epstein, who is not on the West Coast trip, the general manger said, ``I'm busy." Said Francona: ``I'm sure they're covering all their bases."

The deadline is 4 p.m. Monday. Wily Mo Peña, examining a reporter's notebook before the game, flipped through the pages and said: ``Does it say I'm going to be traded in here?"

A new name tossed into trade speculation last night was Padres setup man Scott Linebrink, but Linebrink is so valuable to San Diego it seems unlikely the Padres would move him.

Select company
With his second single last night, Mark Loretta became the third big-leaguer with 100 singles this season, behind the Mariners' Ichiro Suzuki (122) and the Cardinals' David Eckstein (103). With the Padres in 2004, when Loretta posted career highs in batting average (.335) and hits (208), Loretta finished tied for fourth in the National League in singles, with 143.

Jermaine Van Buren has not pitched since the Sox summoned him from Pawtucket July 18 for his fourth stint with the club. On top of that, the nameplate over his locker upon his arrival here read ``Van Burren."

Kyle Snyder, who pitched the opener of this six-game trip and was credited with the win in a 9-4 victory over the Mariners last Friday, will serve as bookends to the Sox' first trip to the West Coast. He'll face Dan Haren (6-9, 4.02 ERA) this afternoon in the trip's finale.

Road less traveled
While Trot Nixon went 123 at-bats between home runs (June 9, Vicente Padilla to July 25, Jason Windsor), that pales alongside the homerless streak of Athletics catcher Jason Kendall, who went 247 games and 961 at-bats between homers before he connected May 31. Kendall has gone another 42 games and 166 at-bats without a home run . Two players with at least 300 plate appearances, both National Leaguers, have yet to homer this season -- Royce Clayton (0 for 336 ), and Willy Taveras (0 for 312). The Sox player with the longest streak without a home run is Alex Cora, who has gone 167 at-bats since his last home run, Aug. 15, 2005 at Detroit.

Ramírez is hot
Manny Ramírez, who had three home runs and nine RBIs in his last six contests entering last night's game, also took a 10-game hitting streak into the game, matching his season high. He then singled in the first inning last night, homered in the third, and hit a sacrifice fly in the fourth. Ramírez was batting .417 (15 for 36) during the 10-game streak. His three-run home run off Barry Zito Monday night was the 462d of his career and temporarily left him 28th on the all-time list, tied with serial juicer Jose Canseco and Jim Thome. No. 463 last night tied Ramírez with Thome, who also homered . . . Six American League players have an OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) of 1.000 or more, led by Travis Hafner of the Indians at 1.082. Ramírez is second at 1.046 (.430 OBP, .616 SGP), while David Ortiz is sixth at 1.001 (.389 OBP, .612 SGP). Albert Pujols of the Cardinals leads the majors at 1.156 . . . Ortiz led the majors with 34 home runs and 95 RBIs in his 97 games, entering last night. The previous club record for most home runs through 100 games was the 32 struck by Jimmie Foxx in 1938, the year Foxx finished the season with a club-record 50. Ortiz ranks third in the league in home run frequency, averaging 1 per 10.9 at-bats. Thome is first at 10.2, Jason Giambi second at 10.8; Ramírez is fifth at 12.4. The major league leader is Pujols (9.3) . . . The Sox lead the league in runs scored on the road with 289 entering last night, an average of 5.5 a game. Only the Braves (309) had scored more times away from home.

A dynamic duo
Monday marked the 11th time Ramírez and Ortiz have homered in the same game. That's just one off the dozen times they did it in 2004, a figure unmatched by any tandem in club history. The most times any pair of teammates have homered in the same game is 16 -- Alex Rodriguez and Rafael Palmeiro for Texas in 2002. Ortiz and Ramírez have done so 41 times since they became teammates in 2003. As a harbinger of a Sox victory, that's a tough one to top: Boston in 36-5 when Ortiz and Ramírez homer in the same game, 9-2 this season.

IMAGES AND INFO For a gallery of photos from last night's game and updates heading into this afternoon's Red Sox-A's contest, go to

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