Red Sox notebook

All batters pitch in to give offense boost

Casey on the bats

Red Sox reserve Sean Casey talks about the offensive showing up, including a seven-run seventh inning in an 18-5 romp over the Twins.
Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By Amalie Benjamin
Globe Staff / July 10, 2008

If the Red Sox were looking to increase their team batting average, 23 hits yesterday was a good way to start. Not only that, those hits were spread around fairly well. Except for Brandon Moss.

Oh, he got a hit. But just one, making him the lone Sox starter not to record a multihit game.

Jacoby Ellsbury got four, a career high; Dustin Pedroia two; Kevin Youkilis three; Manny Ramírez three; Mike Lowell two; Sean Casey three; Jason Varitek two; and Julio Lugo two. Every starter also scored at least one run. From those slumping, notably Varitek, to those on fire, notably Pedroia, there was hitting up and down the order.

"It has to be different contributors to maintain winning over a longer period," Varitek said. "Your horses are going to win their fair share of games. Then it's when you can add runs and do those things with other people, then it just stretches out your lineup."

With J.D. Drew out with back stiffness and Casey ("He is just a hitting machine," Varitek raved) in the lineup as the designated hitter and Moss starting in right field, it wasn't the Sox' normal lineup. But that didn't matter. Even Casey managed to up his batting average - tough for a guy coming in at .360 on the season - going 3 for 5 with two RBIs and a run.

"Good at-bats all around, team at-bats," said Pedroia, who extended his hitting streak to 17 games despite going 0 for his first 4. "Getting guys over. Driving guys in. It was good. Unselfish, one through nine. It was great."

And it didn't stop there. The bench contributed, with Kevin Cash recording the first pinch hit of his career - a home run, no less. It was the second pinch homer for the Sox this season, after Youkilis's April 15 at Cleveland.

But as the offense was more than one could expect, Josh Beckett was less. He lasted just five innings, his shortest outing of the season other than the 4 2/3 he worked in his first start, April 6.

"I thought he was up with a lot of pitches," said manager Terry Francona. "That wasn't one of his more consistent [outings], but just the ball wasn't going consistently where he wanted it to."

Colon has setback

Bartolo Colon, who has been on the disabled list since injuring his back swinging the bat June 16, has had a setback in his recovery. Though Colon had gotten back to throwing off flat ground, he will back off that until tomorrow at the earliest after feeling discomfort.

"I think our concern is all of sudden the guy's going to throw different, especially when you start getting out to where you're throwing it, then he's going to hurt his arm," Francona said. "We have the All-Star break coming up. We're just going to back him off for a couple days. I just think we weren't real comfortable with how this was possibly progressing."

Colon will begin throwing again tomorrow or Saturday, though not at the 120 feet he had been, then will rest over the All-Star break. He will restart the program at the end of next week.

Short stop

Jeff Bailey, who went 0 for 1 yesterday after coming in to run for Ramírez, was optioned back to Pawtucket after the game. His spot will be taken by Clay Buchholz, who will start tomorrow's series opener against the Orioles . . . Drew sat out after tweaking his back, an injury he suffered on a swing Tuesday night. Though it wasn't as bad as when he injured it in Japan during the first series of the season, Francona wanted to give his right fielder a day off yesterday coupled with today's scheduled offday. Drew is expected back in the lineup tomorrow . . . Ramírez was in left field, with Ellsbury in center and Moss in right. What was the reason for Ramírez's reappearance in the outfield? "That J.D.'s hurt," Francona said. "I kind of wanted him to play one or the other [Tuesday or yesterday]. We had discussed that before. Now with J.D., it makes it a little bit easier." Because of Ramírez's starts as the designated hitter with David Ortiz on the disabled list, potential at-bats have been taken away from Casey . . . Twins manager Ron Gardenhire on Ramírez throwing out Nick Punto at third base on a Brendan Harris single in the sixth: "Manny looked like he was doing his thing, nonchalanting it, and Manny's very deceptive out there. Honestly, he's very accurate with his throws and threw it right on the bag." . . . Ortiz will take a day off from hitting today, then will head back to the cage tomorrow. "This weekend we're going to get that machine cranked up down there," Francona said. "When I say cranked up, that's kind of what I mean, try to get it going pretty good. Put him in situations as much as we can without getting him in a real game." . . . With Jonathan Papelbon having pitched three straight days and Hideki Okajima in the game or warming up each of the last five days, the Sox were determined to stay away from both relievers . . . The Red Sox announced their minor league awards for June. Portland first baseman Aaron Bates was the player of the month, with righthander Richie Lentz pitcher of the month. (Lentz was promoted from Lancaster to Portland yesterday.) Outfielder Josh Reddick (Lancaster) was named base runner of the month, shortstop Ryan Dent (Lowell) base stealer, and outfielder Che-Hsuan Lin (Lancaster) top defensive player . . . The Red Sox honored the US Armed Forces with their Seats for Soldiers program. Nearly 1,000 tickets were donated for use by people currently serving, and a pregame program had a video feed from Camp Fallujah in Iraq.

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