Regarding the recent "brush fires" in the Red Sox clubhouse, Terry Francona says: "I didn't really consider them to be burning the building down."
Trot Nixon agrees ("I don't think what's going on right now is a distraction") as does Gordon Edes of the Globe, who writes that this team "has yet to stir up even a touch of trouble worthy of its predecessors."
On the first day of spring training, the Red Sox recommended that Keith Foulke have knee surgery. Foulke declined, a decision he now regrets. Foulke hopes to be back in mid-August.
Re the Payton for Bradford deal: news from the Sacramento Bee, San Jose Mercury News, and San Francisco Chronicle. Everyone in Oakland is pretty quiet and Payton's agent says that while the teams are talking, no deal has been completed.
Francona said having Schilling in the bullpen for next week's series against the Yankees at Fenway Park is "realistic." ... Johnny Damon's 23-game hitting streak is the longest by a Red Sox outfielder since Dom DiMaggio hit in 27 straight in 1951. ... Gabe Kapler could be returning to the Sox.
Even in Baltimore, Francona caught flak for Thursday night's split-squad-esque lineup. "I got bombarded a couple times at CVS today. I was trying to buy toothpaste, some lady was all over me."
Game of the Week: Last Wednesday night in Florida, Marlins pitchers struck out 22 Brewers and retired the last 28 Milwaukee batters. Florida won the game 5-4 in 12 innings. AJ Burnett struck out 14 in six innings (by innings: 322 232).