The Red Sox were certainly the envy of baseball with two players many teams would love to have right now: Bartolo Colon, who is just about recovered from an oblique injury and is scheduled to pitch in a spring game tomorrow in Sarasota, Fla., and outfielder Brandon Moss, who has piqued the curiosity of several teams.
Moss, however, will be out of that mix for the foreseeable future.
Last night during the Sox' 12-4 victory over Tampa Bay, the 24-year-old outfielder underwent an emergency appendectomy at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Late last night, Sox spokesman John Blake said Moss was doing well after surgery.
Manager Terry Francona did not know how long it would take before Moss would be able to return to action. Many players have taken 3-5 weeks to recover from similar procedures.
"[Moss] was feeling ill and the medical team felt that there was a possibility [of an issue with his appendix] rather than just an abdominal flu," said Francona in his postgame news conference. "We took him over there [to Mass. General] right before the game, which was a good idea. We were trying to be safe rather than sorry.
"That makes [Friday night] even more unbelievable. He said he didn't feel good, swung the bat good [2 for 4 with a home run], threw the ball well, and I'm sure he was feeling it."
The Sox will likely make a roster move today.
"We may elect to try and get through [today] and see how we're situated," said Francona. "We don't want to rush to make a move and then have somebody leave the game, or someone be sore and have to make another move."
The Moss injury certainly puts the kibosh on any thought of moving Coco Crisp, who has had leg injuries since spring training.
Moss had made quite an impression.
"I've been trying to get Moss for three years," said one assistant general manager in the American League West. "I think he's a guy who is going to be a very good major league player.
"He can do a lot of things. Strong lefthanded bat. Good head for the game, but the Red Sox aren't inclined to deal him. We've tried, believe me."
When told of the interest around baseball in him, Moss said before the game, "I'm very happy right here. I love being a Boston Red Sox, I really do. This is the greatest atmosphere to play baseball in. I love everything about it.
"I'm a young player and I'm going to be patient. I haven't proven anything to anyone yet."
With J.D. Drew returning to the Sox' lineup last night, seemingly almost fully recovered from a left quadriceps strain, and Sean Casey (hip) likely to come off the disabled list next Sunday, it appeared Moss's days in the majors were likely dwindling to a precious few anyway.
Before Colon's oblique injury, the former Cy Young winner might have been a candidate to replace one of Boston's young starters - Jon Lester or Clay Buchholz - but both are pitching very well. The established pitchers - Josh Beckett, Daisuke Matsuzaka, and Tim Wakefield - are making their starts, which leaves Colon the odd man out. He could be brought onto the roster as a long reliever, but that scenario seems doubtful.
It's not known how many starts Colon will need to get ready for the majors again, but three is often the magic number, with Colon perhaps going to Double A and then Triple A before being considered for a roster opening.
Cora on way back
The Sox decided that Alex Cora, who has been on the disabled list with a sprained right elbow, will play in Pawtucket starting Wednesday. The plan is for Cora to play three games before returning . . . In his first action since Tuesday, Drew had a pair of hits, knocked in two, and scored two.
Rays' ace returns
Scott Kazmir, who will start for the Rays today, said he'll likely have a 100-pitch limit. "I hope that means I go deep into the game," the lefthander said. He expects to be revved up because he's pitching in Boston. "The adrenaline is definitely going to be there and the atmosphere here is always great. I have to stay within myself like every start."
Kazmir said the month he's been down "feels like forever. One month feels like an entire season. I'm excited to just contribute, excited to get back out there. Everyone's been lights out. Part of you wants to stand back and not mess things up, but you want to be around your teammates and helping them win."
Upon further review
The Rays waited a long time to post a lineup last night because manager Joe Maddon was trying to determine whether center fielder B.J. Upton could play. The answer was no. Upton had strained his shoulder on a swing Thursday against the Orioles . . . The Tampa bullpen entered with a 2.43 ERA (best in baseball), having held opponents to a .208 average. The bullpen was the majors' worst last season with a 6.16 ERA. Sadly for the Rays, those stats took a hit last night as three relievers allowed five earned runs in 4 1/3 innings.