With Brandon Moss headed to the disabled list because of his emergency appendectomy Saturday night, the Red Sox decided to bring up a bullpen arm rather than fortify their outfield corps. That means the team will head to Detroit with just four outfielders.
But that doesn't seem to concern manager Terry Francona, or the team. With the ability to place Julio Lugo in the outfield in a dire situation - though Lugo has no qualms about expressing his distaste for the position - the Red Sox think Craig Hansen can help them more.
"We think having the extra pitcher, especially against the Tigers, the way some of those righthanded hitters swing, we think it can maybe help us win games more than having a guy on the bench," Francona said.
Hansen was brought up to the majors for a single game already this season, pitching 1 2/3 innings against the Angels April 23, absorbing the loss when he allowed a home run to Casey Kotchman. But he impressed the team with his work in that game. Since the call-up, Hansen allowed three runs to Rochester on Tuesday, the first minor league earned runs he had given up this season. He has a 1.62 ERA with Pawtucket this year.
The reason for bringing up a pitcher might also have to do with the lack of depth in Triple A in the outfield. Currently manning the outfield for the PawSox are Chris Carter, Jeff Bailey, and Jonathan Van Every.
Moss, meanwhile, left the hospital yesterday, heading to his apartment in Pawtucket. The plan was to have him go home for about 10 days, then head to Florida to join extended spring training to work his way back to playing shape.
"He got home and he's doing very well," Francona said. "The prognosis is actually unbelievable. I think they think there's a chance in four or five days he might be - I actually heard jogging. I don't want to exaggerate, but I think because of the way the procedure's done nowadays they can get going in a hurry."
Speed trapWith five stolen bases, and just one home run (Kevin Youkilis), the Red Sox now have as many stolen bases as a team (26) as they have home runs. Not exactly expected for a team with a reputation for being far more dependant on the long ball than on baserunning.
But these are a new breed of Red Sox. Their five stolen bases yesterday were the most in game since they had five against the Blue Jays July 3, 2002. Jacoby Ellsbury had two of them, bringing his streak to 20 for 20 to start his career, including 11 in his last 19 games. Four came on two double steals. Dustin Pedroia, Coco Crisp, and Lugo each added one yesterday.
"But now we do [have speed]," Crisp said, of the old perception of the Sox. "Me, Ellsbury, Lugo, and Manny [Ramírez]. I think when you have the capabilities of stealing a base on a baseball team, it gives a different dynamic to your baseball team as well as having power. You definitely want to broaden your horizons as much as you can."
Ortiz a late scratchFrancona reported that David Ortiz was having trouble getting his right knee loose yesterday, which was the reason he was scratched . . . Manny Delcarmen struggled again yesterday, pitching one-third of an inning before being relieved by Hideki Okajima. Delcarmen got one ground out, then allowed a single to Jason Bartlett and an RBI triple to Akinori Iwamura, who then scored on a single given up by Okajima. "I think it's location," Francona said. "He's making a good pitch, then he's leaving a pitch over the plate. Seems like every time he makes a mistake now or doesn't repeat a pitch, somebody puts a good swing on it." Delcarmen has given up at least one run in five of his last six appearances this season. That's seven runs in 2 2/3 innings.
Cora nearing returnAlex Cora has made enough progress in coming back from his elbow injury it appears this week could bring his return to the 25-man roster. Cora threw from 120 feet yesterday, then said he plans to take ground balls at shortstop and do relay throws today and tomorrow, before heading out for a three-day rehab assignment Wednesday. That would leave him ready to return Saturday in Minnesota. "In Cleveland I tried to come back too early," Cora said. "I told them I could make every throw, but [there was] pain. I've been throwing good for like five or six days in a row. Actually I think the middle of last week I was feeling strong. I knew when I saw the doctor on Monday I was going to be fine." . . . The Red Sox were going to try to get Julian Tavarez in both Saturday's and yesterday's games, but weren't able to. Tavarez hasn't pitched since April 24, against the Angels . . . The Red Sox are 41-9 against the Rays in Fenway Park since 2003 . . . In their last six games, Red Sox starters are 3-3 - with three straight wins - with a 1.92 ERA . . . Since ending an 0-for-16 streak Friday, Pedroia is 7 for 14 with two doubles, five RBIs, and four runs. He also has four stolen bases. . . . Lugo made his ninth error of the season, in the second inning.
Amalie Benjamin can be reached at email@example.com.