June 24, 2004

This Is Not A Slump. Another disappointing (but sadly, typical and not unexpected) loss this afternoon -- and Boston has now lost three straight series. Tim Wakefield pitched well. He kept the team in the game until they rallied in the 7th inning, but Nomar's two-base throwing error in the 10th inning led to a 4-3 loss. Three of the four Twins runs were unearned. ... Outside of a few players (including Ortiz, who drove in all 3 of Boston's runs), this team is not playing with any sense of urgency. Yes, key players have been missing, but the Red Sox have been treading water for 50 games; since April 30, they are 25-25.

When Pokey Reese showed up at Fenway Park this morning, he did not have an inordinate amount of swelling in his right thumb. Francona: "He's very sore, but I think there's less swelling than he thought or the trainers thought ... maybe this thing is manageable in a couple of days." Team doctor Bill Morgan: "His MRI showed he has a partial tear of his collateral ligament of his thumb, the inside of his thumb, which is good. We can treat it non-surgically." Morgan: "Given the injury, I would be surprised if he missed a week." (Also here and here)

While the bone bruise on Curt Schilling's right ankle is improving, he will have a fourth MRI after his start against the Phillies on Sunday. ... Bill Mueller might begin a minor league rehab assignment late next week. ... Ellis Burks resumed running on Tuesday and had "minimum swelling." ... Both Byung-Hyun Kim and Ramiro Mendoza were scheduled to pitch for Pawtucket tonight.

In noting that the 3-4-5 spots will be Ortiz-Ramirez-Garciaparra for the foreseeable future, Ron Chimelis reports that in 70 games, Red Sox hitters have seen 11,316 pitches -- an average of 161 per game -- which leads the majors. Tampa Bay, which ranks last, has seen nearly 2,000 fewer pitches.

Sean McAdam looks at what impact Carlos Beltran would have on the Sox. Beltran will apparently be dealt "no later than next weekend" and that Boston's chances of landing him are "fair." McAdam writes that Beltran "would represent a dramatic upgrade on several fronts. Because his arrival would mean alternating Manny Ramirez and Trot Nixon at DH and left field -- with Beltran in right and Johnny Damon remaining in center -- and would push Kevin Millar out of the lineup. Millar hasn't produced since June of last year. Since last season's All-Star break, he has just 56 RBI in 140 games."

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