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Red Sox Notebook

Buchholz set to get started?

Rookie may get call this week

Manny Ramírez couldn't beat the throw to Melvin Mora while trying to advance to third. Manny Ramírez couldn't beat the throw to Melvin Mora while trying to advance to third. (JOE GIZA/REUTERS)

BALTIMORE -- Clay Buchholz turns 23 tomorrow. On Friday, he is likely to make his first major league start for the Red Sox.

Manager Terry Francona said yesterday he doesn't intend to use both Josh Beckett and Curt Schilling in Friday's day-night doubleheader against the Los Angeles Angels, opening the possibility of the Sox promoting Buchholz.

Buchholz began the season in Double A before advancing to Pawtucket, where last night he got the win in the PawSox' 6-3 triumph at Syracuse (5 IP, 2 ER). He is 1-1 with a 3.26 ERA in six starts for the PawSox, twice striking out nine, and fanning 10 in five innings against Louisville in his second Triple A start.

Francona would not further reveal his plans for the doubleheader other than to say that like Beckett, who would be pitching on five days' rest Friday, Schilling could get an extra day's rest and pitch Saturday.

"We'll play it by ear, see how the week progresses," Francona said.

Even with a day off Thursday, Francona said the team would need an extra starter next week if he used Schilling and Beckett on the same day.

"We'll figure it out when we're ready to figure it out," said Francona. "Some of it depends on how we get there. There's more than one factor."

Julian Tavarez, who started when the Sox needed a pitcher in the aftermath of the Kason Gabbard trade, is another possibility, but Tavarez said he hasn't been told anything.

Signs of trouble
Orioles third baseman Melvin Mora spoke yesterday morning about his brief confrontation Saturday with Beckett, who accosted him and accused him of stealing catcher Jason Varitek's signs from second base after his fifth-inning double, and relaying them to batter Ramon Hernandez.

"He apologized after that -- in the next inning," Mora said. "I don't play that game. I think I was paying more attention to the fans talking to the first baseman than paying attention to the hitter. I've been playing for seven years straight against the Boston Red Sox and that's never happened to me. He came to me and apologized, because everybody over there knows me. I don't play that game.

"He threw three breaking pitches to Ramon. Hello, he didn't swing at [one] pitch, plus he hit [one] and popped out. How can you steal signs thinking Ramon's going to hit one of the curves? We should be hitting .300 if we're stealing signs. Or .340.

"The last thing I want to think is the Boston Red Sox [think that], because most of the people there are friends of mine. I don't want to have problems with them because one guy misunderstood while he's [close to] throwing a nine-inning shutout. And I think [Doug] Mirabelli was talking about [Kevin ] Millar, of all guys, giving signs to Aubrey Huff because he hit too many foul balls. Aubrey Huff's going to swing anyway. I'm going to swing anyway. Throw me high, I'll swing. Throw me low, I'll swing. Don't throw a strike.

"I know the pressure's coming and the Yankees are right there. Every pitch counts, but we're going to keep playing hard. I don't care what they say. We'll see what happens. I've been playing 17 years of professional baseball and I don't play that game. I don't like that, because I think that's cheating -- and I know the pitcher's got to eat, too."

Orioles manager Dave Trembley also said the Orioles don't cheat, "and if we did, we wouldn't make it that obvious. The way Beckett was throwing, I don't even think it would've mattered."

First base coach Juan Samuel said he kept Mora from pursuing Beckett. "[Beckett] just said whatever he said, never looked back, then kept going," Samuel said. "Melvin was the one that I think if I didn't step in would probably follow him and say something."

Samuel said while the Orioles don't relay signs, it's a common practice. "That's nothing unusual to me," he said. "You can try to do whatever to get an edge. People get away with it."

Beckett told reporters before last night's game he didn't have time to talk. Varitek said he didn't think Mora was stealing signs.

"[Hernandez's] swings didn't dictate that," Varitek said of the Orioles' catcher, who flied to center. "He kept stepping out of the box, stepping out of the box, but it's not like he was driving the ball."

Varitek said sign-stealing is common. "I've been talking about Toronto for quite a few years," he said. "You've got to worry about New York, Texas. It's not just hitters, either, it's stealing bases. They figure out the signs, and go on a breaking ball because they have a better chance."

It's bugging them
J.D. Drew made his second start in center field. Coco Crisp, who had a day off in Anaheim, missed yesterday's game after being checked by a doctor the night before. "His legs are tired," Francona said. "Not sure it's because of the flu. We're all passing it around. Whether it's the sore throat or the flu, everybody's kind of had a touch of it since the airplane ride [from LA to Baltimore]." . . . Saturday's minor league "Futures" doubleheader at Fenway Park drew 34,746, a larger crowd than those at big-league games Saturday in Kansas City, Cincinnati, and first-place Arizona . . . Dustin Pedroia's sixth-inning muff of Miguel Tejada's ground ball ended a 41-game errorless streak for the rookie . . . After going 0 for 6 with five whiffs in a doubleheader in his first action for Pawtucket, outfielder Bobby Kielty hit safely in his next four games (5 for 16), including a double and home run, before last night's game in Syracuse, in which he didn't play . . . How much longer can the Sox keep Jacoby Ellsbury on the farm? Since coming off the disabled list, Ellsbury has 17 hits in 37 at-bats, including two hits last night. That's a .459 pace.