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Harris in the house

Posted by Christopher L. Gasper, Globe Staff  April 20, 2006 04:35 PM

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There was a new face in the Red Sox clubhouse today, veteran utility man Willie Harris. Harris replaces outfielder Adam Stern, who was sent to Triple-A Pawtucket. Harris, 27, played in 56 games last season for the White Sox, batting .256 with a home run and 8 runs batted in. In 14 games at Pawtucket before his call-up, Harris, a career .242 hitter, batted .161 with a homer and 4 RBI.

Terry Francona said that Harris would most likely see time in center field, sharing the position with Dustin Mohr until Coco Crisp returns. Harris said his call-up was bittersweet because Stern is actually one of his closest friends on the Sox. "Stern's an awesome guy. The first thing I said to him was I'm sorry," said Harris. "You don't want anything like that to happen to a good guy like that."

Harris said that he wasn't disappointed that the Sox optioned him to Pawtucket following spring training. "I was upset and disappointed about how I played," he said. "I play the game the right way, but I didn't have the numbers to show for it."

Stern began the 2006 season on his first major league Opening Day roster and hit .150 (3-for-20) in 10 games for the big club but made two outstanding catches the past two nights. He will join the PawSox on Saturday when the team returns to McCoy Stadium.

Harris becomes the third member of Pawtucket’s Opening Day roster to be promoted to Boston already this season. On April 15 the Red Sox recalled reliever Jermaine Van Buren from the PawSox to replace lefty David Wells. And on April 10 the Red Sox purchased the contract of Pawtucket outfielder Dustan Mohr.

  • Coco Crisp is going to be in a splint for a little while longer. Francona said Crisp is going to be fitted for a new splint that will allow him to resume baseball activity while the Sox are on the road. Crisp is expected to be in the splint for at least 10 days.

  • David Wells held court with the media. Wells is once again receiving injections of Synvisc, a synthetic joint lubricant, on his balky right knee. Wells said he wasn't sure if or when he'd be able to pitch again. "If it's going to be a struggle to pitch I'm not going to do it," said Wells. "I'm not going to jeopardize myself. I have two little boys that are very active."

  • Francona reiterated that Stern should not view his being sent to Pawtucket as a demotion, but rather as an opportunity to show what he can do playing every day. "If we weren't sure he could be an everyday player we would have left him here," said Francona.

    Tonight's lineups
    1. Kevin Youkilis, 1B
    2. Mark Loretta, 2B
    3. David Ortiz, DH
    4. Manny Ramirez, LF
    5. Mike Lowell, 3B
    6. Wily Mo Pena, RF
    7. Dustin Mohr, CF
    8. Josh Bard, C
    9. Alex Gonzalez, SS

    P -- Tim Wakefield

    Tampa Bay
    1. Carl Crawford, LF
    2. Jorge Cantu, 2B
    3. Travis Lee, 1B
    4. Jonny Gomes, DH
    5. Russell Branyan, RF
    6. Ty Wigginton, 3B
    7. Toby Hall, C
    8. Tomas Perez, SS
    9. Joey Gathright, CF

    P -- Scott Kazmir

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