|As Akinori Iwamura (background) heads for home, Clay Buchholz keeps his head down after allowing a two-run homer to the Tampa Bay second baseman in the eighth inning. (mike carlson/Associated Press)|
Casey on disabled list; Moss gets promotion
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Sean Casey thought he was feeling better. The Red Sox medical staff had its doubts. Terry Francona couldn't take any chances.
So, Casey wound up on the disabled list with a strained right hip, and Brandon Moss was summoned from Pawtucket to give the Red Sox a healthy body until Mike Lowell completes his rehab assignment with Pawtucket.
The presence of Moss took on added importance last night when David Ortiz was scratched from the starting lineup after he showed up at Tropicana Field and asked out.
"He bruised his knee in that car accident," Francona said, alluding to the headfirst slide Ortiz made into first base in an unsuccessful attempt to avoid a rally-killing, inning-ending double play in the 11th inning of Boston's 5-4 loss to the Rays Friday night. "He's got a little swelling."
Ortiz went hitless in six at-bats Friday, only the fourth time in his career he has gone six or more at-bats without a hit. All three previous occasions came with the Sox, and in each instance, the Sox won. The last time was July 6, 2004, in an 11-0 win over Oakland at Fenway Park.
Although Francona obviously was no fan of the slide, he appreciated Ortiz's effort.
"I'm glad he wanted to get to first base that bad," he said.
With Ortiz out, Jacoby Ellsbury, who was scheduled to sit with Coco Crisp playing center, was inserted in right field, and J.D. Drew was the designated hitter.
As it turned out, neither Moss nor Ortiz were called on last night as the Red Sox lost to the Rays, 2-1.
Moss began the season with the Sox, hit a tying home run in the ninth inning of the opener in the Tokyo Dome, played the second game in Tokyo, then was sent to the minors, where he continued his education at a new position, first base.
"He's still learning," Francona said. "You don't just stick somebody over there. He's been there less than a month. But when he gets to the point where first base is really a viable option, he has a really intriguing bat. He's an interesting guy if he can play a major league-caliber first base."
Francona said he actually toyed with starting Moss last night, but elected to go with Kevin Youkilis at first and Jed Lowrie at third.
Moss had a .268 average with one home run and 12 RBIs in 22 games with the PawSox.
Casey has had his share of injuries over the course of his career; this is his seventh trip to the DL. Few areas have gone unscathed: He's gone on the DL with a fractured orbital bone around his eye, fractured thumb, torn shoulder muscle, torn rotator cuff, strained calf, and a fractured back. In the minor leagues, he sustained a stress fracture to his ankle and torn cartilage in his wrist. He also has had at least three concussions and tore his calf muscle during the ALCS while playing for the Tigers.
With the Sox so shorthanded, Francona was happy to write Jason Varitek's name into the starting lineup for the first time since April 19. Varitek (0 for 3 last night) had not started the last six games after being buckled by the flu; he ended up playing Friday when Kevin Cash was lifted for a pinch runner in the ninth inning. Varitek was hit by a pitch in his only at-bat.
Cash did nicely as a fill-in, batting .381 (8 for 21) in the six games missed by Varitek, with two doubles, two RBIs, and two runs. He had three hits and a sacrifice fly Friday, his first three-hit game since June 24, 2004, when he was playing for Toronto.
When asked if he was tiring, catching on a nightly basis after being used to playing sporadically, Cash shook his head. "No," he said, "this has been awesome."
Numbers of concern
The Sox have ongoing concerns about the continued ineffectiveness of reliever Mike Timlin, who took the loss Friday. Timlin already has figured in four decisions (2-2), and has a 13.50 ERA in nine appearances. The other numbers are frightening: a .483 batting average against, an .828 slugging percentage against, and two home runs and nine runs scored in just six innings. Timlin pitched in adverse circumstances Friday; he warmed up before the eighth, felt some back stiffness, went in for treatment, and entered the game in the 10th, but he has now been scored upon in five of his nine appearances. He has recorded just two strikeouts in the 34 plate appearances by opponents.
The Sox released former All-Star closer Dan Kolb to make room on the Pawtucket roster for Devern Hansack, who was on the DL with a bruised right forearm. Kolb was 0-0 with a 2.92 ERA for the PawSox . . . Lowell went 1 for 4, a single, and made a throwing error in the second game of his rehab assignment with Pawtucket, a 4-1 loss to Buffalo . . . Rays reliever Scott Dohmann has pitched to one batter in each of the last two nights, and has been credited with the win in both games. He induced Ortiz to ground into a double play to end the 11th Friday, and struck out Manny Ramírez to end the eighth last night . . . Dustin Pedroia's 14-game hitting streak came to an end as he went hitless in four trips. It was the longest in the AL this season. Ramirez, who began the night batting a league-leading .370, also went 0 for 4 . . . Francona said Daisuke Matsuzaka threw 50 pitches in a side session in Boston yesterday, but the manager said he is undecided in what order he'll use Jon Lester and Matsuzaka. One will pitch Tuesday against Toronto, the other Wednesday.