Doubleheader in forecast?
Irene may force contingency plan
ARLINGTON, Texas - As Hurricane Irene takes a path toward New England, the Red Sox are working on contingency plans for this weekend’s series against Oakland at Fenway Park.
According to the latest forecasts, the storm could arrive in the Boston area Saturday with drenching rain and damaging winds.
For the moment, the Sox are scheduled to play Oakland tomorrow night, then in day games Saturday and Sunday.
The Sox have a day off scheduled Monday, but the Athletics start a series in Cleveland that day. The teams have no common offdays in September.
The expected rain Sunday could lead the teams to play a doubleheader tomorrow or Saturday.
“I think they’re throwing around a lot of ideas that are just ideas,’’ said manager Terry Francona. “I know they’re trying to brainstorm.’’
A decision would have to be made by both teams in conjunction with Major League Baseball.
“Nobody wants to miss gates,’’ said Francona. “The Red Sox don’t, the league doesn’t, for obvious reasons, and for competitive reasons, so do we.’’
The immediate concern for the Sox is their flight back to Boston after tonight’s game. The storm is expected to be moving up the East Coast by that point.
“There was some iffiness if it got here quicker,’’ Francona said.
Taste of the race The Florida Marlins were 10 1/2 games out of first place when they called up Andrew Miller in late August last year. He pitched in 11 essentially meaningless games before the end of the season.
Now he’s with the Red Sox and getting starts in a pennant race. After pitching well against the Royals last Friday, Miller (5-1) will face the Rangers tonight.
“It’s a lot more fun here, I’ll tell you that,’’ Miller said. “It’s not always easy. The path isn’t always the way you draw it up. But for me, I’m excited to be here and excited to so far win some games.’’
Miller went 5 1/3 innings against the Royals, allowing one run on three hits with two walks and three strikeouts. He was unexpectedly sharp given that it was his first start since July 31.
“He threw the ball pretty well,’’ Francona said. “Saying that, [Texas] is a pretty good team. You can throw the ball well here, make a mistake, and give up some runs.’’
Before the start in Kansas City, Miller made some adjustments with his footwork that helped him keep the ball down.
Vaughn weighs in Former Red Sox stars Mo Vaughn and John Valentin are scheduled to throw out first pitches at Fenway Park next Wednesday, when they will be in Boston for the annual WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio Telethon.
For Vaughn, it’ll be his first time at Fenway since he was inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2008.
The Hit Dog played for the Sox from 1991-98, hitting .304 with 230 home runs.
“It’ll be nice,’’ he said. “I’ll have my family up there. It should be a great event.’’
Vaughn said he has been following the Sox this season.
“They’ve got lots of athletes, lots of hitters,’’ he said. “They play great defense and they can pitch. I love Adrian Gonzalez. Between Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz, it reminds me of myself.’’
Vaughn also said the Sox “have the right man’’ as captain in Jason Varitek.
Ready for rehabs Bobby Jenks threw a simulated game at the team complex in Fort Myers, Fla., yesterday. He pitched well and will start a minor league rehabilitation assignment Saturday.
“With all this storm, we don’t know where,’’ said Francona. “They’re going to get it figured out.’’
Jenks went on the disabled list with strained muscles on the left side of his back. He has not pitched since July 7. The Sox are hoping he will return during the first week of September.
J.D. Drew returned to Boston yesterday and will take batting practice today at Fenway Park off staff assistant Matt Noone. He starts a rehab assignment tomorrow with Lowell.
Drew has been out since July 20 because of rotator cuff damage in his left shoulder.
Kevin Youkilis, out with a bad back, could start baseball activities tomorrow when the team returns to Boston. The Sox are still hopeful that he will be able to return Sept. 2, the first day he is eligible to come off the disabled list.
Hooping it up Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was in the clubhouse before the game, arriving with Don Kalkstein, a sports psychologist who has worked with the Mavericks and Red Sox. “What a treat,’’ Francona said. “A bunch of guys came in. I think they were all excited to see him.’’ . . . Tim Wakefield and Jon Lester are scheduled to travel home ahead of the team today. Wakefield is lined up to start tomorrow and Lester Saturday . . . Jonathan Papelbon, who had last pitched last Thursday, worked a perfect ninth inning, extending his scoreless streak to 15 innings . . . The Sox have scored 10 or more runs 20 times, the most in the majors . . . The 11-run deficit matched the worst for Texas this season.