Red Sox Notebook

Real-life drama affects Bard

Police searching for friend in D.C.

By Peter Abraham
Globe Staff / May 29, 2011

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DETROIT — Daniel Bard held his phone as he spoke to reporters in a clubhouse hallway yesterday afternoon, glancing down every few seconds in hopes of seeing a message that had yet to come.

Matt Hill, a groomsman in Bard’s wedding, has been missing since Tuesday in the Washington, D.C., area. Hill is a Christian outreach worker at George Washington University.

“He’s a pretty good friend,’’ Bard said. “This is extremely out of character. He’s one of the most positive, outgoing, happy people I’ve ever met. I’m not just saying that. I think anyone who's met him would say that.

“This all seems so strange.’’

Bard, who grew up with Hill in North Carolina, exchanged text messages with his friend Monday. A day later, Hill dropped off a student in the Chinatown section of Washington and has not been seen since.

His debit card charged $33.01 worth of gas in Arlington, Va., that day. Hill drives a 1996 black Honda Civic with DC tags DT2747.

Washington police have termed Hill a missing person.

“We’re 99 percent sure that something external was involved,’’ Bard said.

Hill’s father and other family and friends have gathered in Washington to search for him. Bard has been following the situation from afar.

“I’ve been calling a mutual friend twice a day to get updates,’’ Bard said. “It’s not easy. I haven’t considered leaving or anything like that. At the same time, I don’t think I can go two minutes without thinking about it. I’ve done as much as I can to help.’’

Bard asked that people go to for more information.

“The biggest thing is to have people on the lookout for his vehicle,’’ Bard said.

Teammates, including Jon Lester and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, have spread the word through their Twitter accounts.

“The toughest day was the first day I found out about it,’’ Bard said. “It was shock and now it’s become kind of a mystery we’re all trying to figure out. There are so few clues. The guys on the team have been pretty supportive and talking to me.’’

Manager Terry Francona empathizes with the situation.

“As much as we care about the game, and we do, and we’re supposed to, but there’s real life there, too,’’ he said. “You do the best you can.’’

Doubleheader today Last night’s game against the Tigers was postponed by rain after a delay of 1 hour and 25 minutes. The teams will play a split doubleheader today at 1:05 p.m. and 7:05 p.m.

The Red Sox will stay in order with Clay Buchholz and Josh Beckett. The Tigers will pitch Andy Oliver and Justin Verlander.

The teams discussed options, including returning Thursday or during the All-Star break.

“But since we’re here, we might as well play,’’ Francona said.

The Tigers have had four games rained out over a span of 14 days. The Red Sox have had three games called by rain.

More rain is in the forecast today.

The first game will be on NESN. But the second game will not be televised. ESPN has exclusivity for its “Sunday Night Baseball’’ game and would not grant a waiver to NESN.

Living the dream Charlie Furbush remembers cheering with everybody else in 2004 when the Red Sox won the World Series.

“A huge time in my life,’’ the 24-year-old Tigers lefthander said. “That was so exciting.’’

But on Friday night, Furbush pushed those thoughts aside and did his job, pitching five shutout innings of relief against the Sox.

“We lost the game, but that was a thrill for me, to face those guys,’’ said Furbush, a native of South Portland, Maine. “I mean, that was David Ortiz out there.’’

Furbush allowed two hits and two walks and struck out six. Francona said he was impressed, as did several Sox hitters. Furbush hit 93 miles per hour with his fastball and threw a good slider.

Furbush made his major league debut on Monday and so far has yet to allow a run in 8 1/3 innings.

Furbush played two seasons at Division 3 St. Joseph’s College in Standish, Maine. Pitching well in the Cape Cod League gave him the opportunity to transfer to LSU for the 2007 season.

Kalish progressing Ryan Kalish, who strained his left shoulder making a diving catch for Pawtucket April 21, has been a designated hitter in extended spring training games.

Kalish also is throwing from 120 feet. He suffered a tear in his labrum, but did not need surgery. He could return to the Pawtucket roster shortly.

In other injury news, J.D. Drew was going to be out of the lineup for the fourth straight game. He was cleared to play after straining his right hamstring Tuesday in Cleveland, but Francona wanted righthanded hitting Mike Cameron in right field against Oliver, a lefty.

Bobby Jenks (biceps tendinitis) is set to make a second rehab appearance for Pawtucket today. He threw a scoreless inning Friday, and could be activated in the next few days.

Divergent interests The Champions League final between Barcelona and Manchester United was on the television in the Tigers clubhouse. Victor Martinez watched closely while wearing the jersey of Barcelona star Lionel Messi . . . It was Elvis Presley Night at Comerica Park and Elvis impersonators were plentiful . . . Francona wished the Bruins well in the Stanley Cup finals. “From everything I’ve heard, Claude Julien’s a great guy and they’re a Boston team,’’ he said. “But I just don’t like hockey. I just don’t understand it.’’

Peter Abraham can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @peteabe.

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