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Red Sox Notebook

Disagreement showed their signs of discontent

Though the pitch barely grazed Orlando Cabrera's jersey, it set off the shortstop, turning his 2004 World Series cheers into boos. While there appeared to be no bad blood between Cabrera and Red Sox pitcher Julian Tavarez, it didn't read like that in the third inning of yesterday's game.

Instead, Cabrera advanced a third of the way up the first base line before turning to Tavarez and yelling at him. Cabrera was restrained by catcher Kevin Cash as the dugouts and bullpens emptied. No real argument ensued, as Tavarez stood relatively calmly -- especially for a guy who made his Red Sox introduction with a slug to Joey Gathright -- and watched Cabrera steam.

"It was more personal than anything," Cabrera told the Los Angeles Times. "When we were at home, after I hit a double against him in the first game, he told me at the first base line that I was getting signs from second base. I said, 'No, I don't do that.' He told me, 'You're like Julio Lugo, you like to give signs. If Lugo played for another team I would have hit him.' So it didn't take much to know he was going to hit me. I thought it was intentional. I said, 'Are you satisfied now?' "

Tavarez acknowledged the pair had spoken out West, with Tavarez accusing Cabrera of trying to sneak a look at the catcher's signs while at the plate. Cabrera doubled off Tavarez in the seventh inning Aug. 6. In yesterday's case, in a game that would eventually go to the Angels, 3-1, Cabrera was batting with one out and no one on base when he was hit.

"I pay bills, too," Tavarez said. "I want to pitch inside and I've got a game plan . . . I don't know what he said to me. I know he made a step. He didn't walk to first base. I don't even hit him, I hit the jersey. He is trying to say things to me, I don't know what he said. I said, 'Instead of walking to first base, why don't you just come out here so we can finish this?'

"I said to him in Anaheim when we faced him, I said, 'Listen I think you're looking [at the catcher's signs]. Every time you're hitting, you turn your face and look at the location. If you're doing that, stop doing that because I will hit you if you're doing that. Let's play the game the right way.' He said, 'No, no, I'm not doing that.'

"I ain't going to go out there and try to put guys on base for Vladi Guerrero. I ain't going to go out there and hit guys, walking guys, cause it's not good for me. Because I'm a free agent guy. I'm looking to do my job out there. I'm not looking to give up runs out there. Why does he think I'm trying to hit him on purpose?"

Futures market
At $3.5 million, according to Baseball America, the Red Sox ranked 19th in spending on their choices in the first 10 rounds of the amateur draft, in great part because they did not have a first-round choice. The Sox paid almost the same price for their two first-round supplemental picks: University of Washington lefthander Nick Hagadone, the 55th pick overall who is already pitching for short-season Lowell, received a signing bonus of $571,500, while California high school infielder Ryan Dent signed for $571,000.

The team gave its biggest signing bonus to its fifth-round pick, third baseman-pitcher Will Middlebrooks, a highly regarded prospect who was headed for Texas A&M and had been recruited as a football player. Middlebrooks agreed to a bonus of $925,000. The Sox also gave big bonuses to seventh-round pick David Mailman ($550,000), a high school first baseman from North Carolina, and 23d-round pick Drake Britton ($700,000), a lefthander from Texas also recruited by A&M. Sixth-round pick Anthony Rizzo, a high school first baseman from Florida, signed for $325,000.

The one that got away was second-round pick Hunter Morris, a first baseman from Alabama who chose to attend Auburn.

"Considering where we were selecting in the draft, we're pretty pleased with the outcome," scouting director Jason McLeod wrote in an e-mail. "I just saw Nick Hagadone pitch [Thursday] night in Lowell and he was very impressive. I think we were able to add arms that we'll be excited about in the near future: Hagadone, [Brock] Huntzinger, [Chris] Province, [Ryan] Pressly, [Austin] Bailey, Britton, [Hunter] Strickland, etc. As to the recently signed players, all of them bring a certain skill set we value and feel that they will be successful professional players.

"Middlebrooks is an exceptional athlete [quarterback for a back-to-back state champion, All-State punter three years in a row]. We feel [he] can play the corner position and has a chance to hit for power. Britton is a pitcher we have followed for the past year. He happened to have a bad spring, but we saw him throw well this summer and he has what we determine to be very good makeup. We've had him up to 94 [miles per hour] and I think he has a chance to be a power lefthanded pitcher. We felt Mailman was/is an advanced high school hitter and Rizzo has outstanding raw power with a good approach. Of course, we still need to watch them over the next few years but feel very good about their prospects.

"It's always a blow when you don't sign your second-round selection, but we take solace in the fact we'll receive compensation with the same pick in next year's draft. We thought we had a deal and then he changed his mind and asked for more money."

Turning it around
Eric Gagné was predominantly booed by the Fenway fans when he came out to work the ninth inning, but the reception eventually became supportive and rose to a standing ovation at the end of the inning. He did allow two hits in his inning of work. But there was progress after Gagné spent time Saturday working on his delivery and tempo. "It's weird. It's weird to see him that way," said Alex Cora, who played with Gagné with the Dodgers. "He's not there yet. You can tell. His changeup is not a contact pitch. It's not like a regular, get me out in front and hit a ground ball to second [pitch]. His changeup is a strikeout pitch, noncontact. When you see guys fouling that off, taking it, there's something wrong. When he fixes that, he'll be fine." . . . Cash will catch Tim Wakefield tonight against the Devil Rays. He'll borrow Jason Varitek's knuckleball mitt. His keys to catching the pitch? "Staying relaxed," Cash said. "If you miss one, sometimes you have a tendency to tighten up and say, 'I've really got to catch this next one.' But just stay relaxed. You're going to miss some, you're going to clank some." . . . Tavarez is now winless in his last seven starts, going 0-5 with a 6.55 ERA . . . Lugo had a bunt hit in the seventh inning, his eighth of the season. He has 25 infield hits, ranking third in the American League . . . David Ortiz, who had two singles, finished the series 7 for 16 (.438). He was 4 for 31 (.129) over the eight games before this series . . . Kevin Youkilis struck out three times, giving him at least one strikeout in the last 11 games, with 17 total over that time. He has struck out 25 times in his last 21 games . . . Eric Hinske is sporting a Mohawk hairstyle. He becomes the second member of the Red Sox to choose the 'do, after Daisuke Matsuzaka . . . Anaheim's Erick Aybar left in the sixth inning with a strained left hamstring.