State Of The Nation. So despite Saturday's 14-5 thrashing, things are looking up. Nomar Garciaparra and Scott Williamson are back, Trot Nixon is "close to being activated," Ellis Burks is making "steady progress" in physical therapy and the team is talking about a Pawtucket rehab, BH Kim has returned to the US, and Bill Mueller may take BP with the team during the west coast trip. Pedro Martinez looked great in his last start and Derek Lowe seems to have turned a corner ... What's not to like? ... Well, let's start worrying about Curt Schilling's ailing ankle.
Schilling will make his next start -- Wednesday in Colorado -- but the team is being "extremely cautious" and "if he shows any further changes on his MRI," Sox doc Bill Morgan says he may have to go on the disabled list for 2-4 weeks. ... Bob Hohler of the Globe: "The Sox already have tried numerous treatments, including bracing the ankle, targeting it with a high-density ultrasound stimulator, and administering non-steroidal anti-inflammatories. Schilling received one steroid injection, which provided little relief ..." All parties insist that surgery is not an option during the season. ... The bone bruise is technically called a "tissue impingement."
Since Andy Dominique was sent down to make room for Williamson, Boston has 12 pitchers and will stay with that number for the Colorado and San Francisco series. ... Art Davidson on Kevin Youkilis. ... Not good: In his 15 games with the Sox, Mark Malaska has allowed nine first-batter hits.
Dodger's manager Jim Tracy on Friday's game: "Manny Ramirez standing in the on-deck circle. No balls and two strikes to Ortiz. You get him out, you walk Ramirez, you put Mota in, you pitch to Varitek and try to induce a groundball. Very simple." ... Except Martin -- who has been killed by left-handed hitters this season -- couldn't put Ortiz away. The smarter move might have been to walk Ortiz and have Gagne come in and face Manny. But Gagne never even warmed up -- I guess because LA did not have the lead and The Book says you should save your closer to protect a lead in the 9th. In this case, The Book is horseshit. An unhittable pitcher like Gagne should be used when the game is on the line -- he should be killing lead-threatening rallies rather than protecting 2- and 3-run leads in the 9th.