Loyalty. Francona on sticking with Wakefield yesterday: "If you ask any manager that's ever had a knuckleball pitcher, (it's) the hardest - because of their unique style - to figure out when to get him out. ... Wake can find it, lose it, find it so fast. I think he'd probably say the same thing. And the runs he sometimes gives up happen quickly. ... He's been so good for so long, and this year, I think one of the worst things I can do is not be patient enough. Because he does find it so often and he's so successful. I think he deserves the patience."
While I disagreed with Francona's slow hook in the 7th inning, what he says makes sense -- to a point. However, at this stage of the season, I'm not sure how much "deserved patience" is warranted when every game is crucial. Holding the line and preventing further runs when you are behind and doing everything to win the game must take precedence.
Tito considered having Damon pinch-hit for Mientkiewicz in the ninth yesterday, but decided against it. Tito said that if Mientkiewicz had reached base, Varitek would have batted for Roberts. Even though Roberts singled, I think Varitek should have hit in that inning anyway. ... If all goes well with Trot Nixon with Pawtucket today, he could join the team in Oakland and perhaps play in Seattle. ... Pedro Astacio allowed one run and one hit in five innings for the PawSox on Friday. He could also be joining the club very soon.
Gordon Edes looks at Manny's MVP chances this year and notes that the preliminary 2005 schedule has the Red Sox opening the season in New York, playing their home opener against the Yankees and ending the season playing the Yankees. ... However, Sean McAdam reports that the Sox have objected to various parts of the schedule, including opening against the Yankees. Boston ends the spring with two exhibition games against the Diamondbacks in Phoenix and are loath to fly back East for their opener.
Yankees News: Kevin "I Fought The Wall, And The Wall Won" Brown will be out of action at least 3 weeks -- which makes it unlikely that he'll pitch before the season ends. Would Torre use a roster spot and bring him back during the ALDS? Brad Halsey replaces Brown in the rotation. ... A West Coast scout who's been tracking the Yankees for the past three weeks tells the Herald's Howard Bryant: "I'll tell you one thing, if this team (Boston) catches the Yankees, they'll blow right past them, and the Yankees won't retake them. No way." ... Early in the Yankee radio broadcast today, John Sterling said: "The playoffs are not a lock."