June 15, 2004

Nixon Set To Return Wednesday. Trot Nixon's rehab is complete. All reports indicate that he will be activated for the second game of the Colorado series. LHP Joe Kennedy will face the Sox tonight, so the team will wait until Nixon can face a RHP -- Jason Jennings -- on Wednesday. ... Slowly, the team is returning to full strength.

The Wednesday game is also important because of Curt Schilling's right ankle. After his start, Schilling will undergo a third MRI and if the "bone-bruise problem is found to be worsening, the Sox probably will have to shut him down by placing him on the 15-day disabled list."

More on Pokey's Catch: John Tomase called it leaping grab "the defensive play of the season." Theo: I was sitting behind home plate. I was already checking where the baserunners were going to be. Then my jaw dropped." Tito: "When it was about halfway there I'm looking down at my card for the next hitter. I saw it on the replay. It's unbelievable. He has no business making that play." Pedro: "I thought the ball was in the outfield already. I thought the ball was going to drop. I was ready to run behind the plate." ... Reese admitted after the game that he's able to dunk a basketball -- he's listed at 5-11 -- "but I don't try to go out and jump like that everyday."

Byung-Hyun Kim returned to Fenway Park yesterday. He has a side session scheduled for Saturday in Pawtucket and may pitch in a minor league game about a week later. ... Bill Mueller will begin taking batting practice with the team this week, but is not expected to return to the lineup for 2-3 weeks. ... Ramiro Mendoza pitched for Sarasota (A) Sunday night. He went two innings (26 pitches), allowing one run on three hits while striking out one.

Mark Bellhorn and Kevin Youkilis will begin practicing at first base. ... Bellhorn has a 12-game hitting streak and has reached base in 20 straight games. ... A statistical look at Coors Field. ... Still no luck finding Babe Ruth's piano in Sudbury's Willis Pond.

Evil Empire: Joe Torre says Mariano Rivera "had a little tightness in his back" this weekend. By the way, Rivera, Paul Quantrill and Tom Gordon are 1-2-3 in most appearances this year. Kevin Brown and Mike Mussina will both miss their next start. Jose Contreras goes tonight in Arizona, followed by Tanyon Sturtze on Wednesday and TBA on Thursday.

Colorado Match-ups:

Tuesday: Bronson Arroyo (2-4, 5.01) vs. Joe Kennedy (4-4, 4.06) -- 9:05 pm
Wednesday: Curt Schilling (8-3, 3.03) vs. Jason Jennings (5-6, 6.94) -- 9:05 pm
Thursday: Derek Lowe (5-5, 5.83) vs. Shawn Estes (6-3, 5.81) -- 3:05 pm

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