Red Sox Talk Contract With Pedro and Nomar. Pedro Martinez was "happy" after he and his agent met with John Henry, Larry Lucchino and Theo Epstein for two hours last night. Neither side offered much comment on the negotiations; Epstein said the talks were "good and productive." ... The Globe says the team is also making a concerted attempt before Opening Night to reach a long-term deal with Nomar Garciaparra, who turned down a recent offer. The Red Sox have not yet responded to his counteroffer.
Derek Lowe was scheduled to throw about 80 pitches yesterday, but he needed only 70 in his six shutout innings. He gave up three hits (all singles) and walked none. Ten of his 14 non-K outs were ground balls. In 18.1 innings over four starts, he has walked only three batters and has a 0.98 ERA. ... Ellis Burks went 2-4, with a three-run homer and 4 RBI. ... David Ortiz on why he likes hitting home runs: "You don't have to run like if you hit a double or something like that."
Two looks at 3B Gabe Kapler. ... Byung Hyun Kim has stretched out to nine minutes of long-tossing at 80 feet. ... Manny Ramirez, Kevin Millar, Pokey Reese and Bill Mueller are the only regulars who will make the trip to Tampa for tonight's game against the Yankees. Tim Wakefield will start and Ramiro Mendoza may finally see some game action.
Rivals in Exile: Wild Cards -- Ben Jacobs and Larry Mahnken "take a look at what, if anything, could stop the Yankees and Red Sox from making the post-season, and wonder if the Wild Card is worth it." ... Steve Treder: "The image we're often given of baseball in the 50s is one of static conservatism; we may be led to believe it was a dreary and monotonous time of stolid teams in baggy gray uniforms, relying upon tried-and-true formulas. The truth is entirely different: the 1950s in baseball was almost certainly the decade involving the most fundamental, startling, and dynamic change of any in modern baseball history."