May stick as third catcher
Teams being doubly cautious
Two tomorrow to avert Irene
ARLINGTON, Texas - With Hurricane Irene due in New England Sunday, the Red Sox have rescheduled the game they were to play that day as part of a split doubleheader tomorrow.
The first game against the Athletics will be at noon, with a second game at 5 p.m.
Fans holding tickets for tomorrow’s regularly scheduled game may use them for Game 1 of the doubleheader. Gates will open at 10:30 a.m.
Fans holding tickets for the Sunday game may use those tickets for Game 2 tomorrow. The gates for that game will open 45 minutes after the conclusion of the first one.
“With a forecast that calls for potentially heavy rains and high winds on Sunday, we felt it was necessary and prudent to move the Sunday game to Saturday also,’’ said Red Sox president Larry Lucchino. “This will not only give us the best opportunity to play the scheduled games, but also help to ensure that traveling conditions are safer for our fans.
“We apologize for the inconvenience these changes will cause our fans this weekend.’’
The decision to rearrange the games was made in collaboration with Major League Baseball, the Players Association, the Red Sox players, and the Athletics.
Both games will be televised on NESN.
According to Sox player representative Daniel Bard, the Boston front office wanted to play two games today. But with the Sox not scheduled to arrive in Boston until 5 a.m., the players voted that down.
“We can’t do that,’’ Bard said. “You can’t ask guys to play 18 innings [after] getting in at 5 a.m. That was quickly shot down.’’
Manager Terry Francona opposed that idea, too.
“I would not be in favor of that,’’ he said. “That would be tough duty.’’
Though the Sox have a scheduled offday Monday, they and the Athletics have no mutual days off remaining this season. So without preemptive planning, a rained-out game Sunday would have to be scheduled for Sept. 29, the day after the scheduled end of the regular season and one day before the start of the playoffs.
“We were trying to get creative and find another way to do it,’’ Bard said. “But this was how it worked out.’’
Even with the doubleheader tomorrow, the Sox are taking a chance that the second game could be rained out.
Tim Wakefield will start tonight in the series opener against Oakland, with Jon Lester and Erik Bedard pitching the doubleheader. All of the pitchers flew back to Boston ahead of the team yesterday to make sure they got enough rest.
Wakefield will be making his sixth attempt at recording his 200th career victory tonight.
Injury updates J.D. Drew is scheduled to be the designated hitter for Single A Lowell tonight. He is on the disabled list with a sore left shoulder. The plan is for Drew to play two games with Lowell and then two games with Pawtucket next week before being activated Thursday.
Righthander Bobby Jenks, out since early July with a back strain, has joined up with Single A Salem in Virginia. But his rehab appearance scheduled for tomorrow could fall victim to the remnants of Hurricane Irene.
For the first time since he went on the disabled list Aug. 18 with a sore back, Kevin Youkilis has started swinging at balls tossed to him. The Sox are hoping he will be able to pick up the pace of those workouts and return from the DL when eligible next Friday.
Bad memories Josh Beckett was joking around after Wednesday’s game about the line drive off the bat of Ian Kinsler in the fifth inning that whizzed by his nose before smacking into his glove.
But Jason Varitek knows how serious such situations can turn out. He was catching on Sept. 8, 2000, at Fenway Park when Ryan Thompson of the Yankees hit a line drive that shattered bones in the face of Sox pitcher Bryce Florie.
Florie returned to pitch seven games the next season but was never the same and was finished in the majors at age 31.
“To be honest, that ball last night wasn’t hit anywhere near as hard as the ball that hit Florie,’’ Varitek said. “I never saw that ball. This one was off the end of the bat, which helped.’’
Staying power? Ryan Lavarnway was the DH for six straight games when David Ortiz was out with a sore right foot. The rookie did well, going 7 for 22 with two doubles, three RBIs, and four walks.
With Ortiz back and healthy, Lavarnway has a limited role, but Francona indicated that the Sox could keep him around as their third catcher.
“We’ve got six days until [rosters expand],’’ said the manager. “It’s something we’ll probably talk about. I think we’d like to keep him here.’’
Lavarnway played some right field at Yale, but there are no plans to try him out there.
“He’s a catcher,’’ Francona said.
What about first base?
“He’s a catcher,’’ Francona said.
Showing some clout Adrian Gonzalez is the first Red Sox player to hit five home runs in three games since Kevin Millar July 21-23, 2004. The five are the most in a three-game span in Gonzalez’s career . . . The Red Sox hit .301 on their eight-game trip and averaged 6.4 runs. They hit 12 homers . . . The Lowell Spinners had a rough day. The team’s game at Staten Island was canceled by rain, then the bus broke down just outside of New York City and the squad had to wait for a replacement vehicle to come from New Hampshire . . . The Fifth Annual Beckett Bowl will be Monday at Lucky Strike Lanes on Ipswich Street across from Fenway Park. The event benefits the Josh Beckett Foundation and Children’s Hospital Boston. Call 617-338-2766 for tickets or go to beckettbowl.com.