Tony Graffanino had quite a night. He reached base four times (including a three-run home run), drove in four runs, and scored three times, including from second base on Johnny Damon's infield hit. He also stole a base and made a nice running catch in foul territory near the tarp.
With Mark Bellhorn struggling in Pawtucket, I can't see Graff losing the 2B job. But I also can't see Bellhorn being productive on the Boston bench. I wouldn't have any confidence in him as a pinch-hitter, he's not really fast, and his defense is so-so at best. So if I don't like him on the bench, why should Bellhorn be in the lineup?
Manny Ramirez's hustle led to an early Boston run. Wade Miller put the Sox in a quick hole by allowing three runs in the top of the first inning (he's allowed 18 first-inning runs in 16 starts). After David Ortiz got two back with a home run to right, Ramirez and Jason Varitek walked. Kevin Millar flew out to left, and Manny tagged and hustled to third. He scored the tying run easily on Roberto Petagine's single to center.
Bill Mueller, who was batting second in last night's original lineup, was scratched with back spasms and a call was made to Pawtucket. Kevin Youkilis was playing cards in the clubhouse when he got the news. "At first, they said I was going to play," said Youkilis. "But they didn't want me to drive too fast. So I just packed up all my stuff, put it all in the car, drove up here, got here about 6:30 and walked in to the clubhouse and basically put on my cleats and jersey. I had the same pants I was bringing back and forth. I had my BP top on. Took that off and put on a jersey and I was ready to go."
Youkilis hit .350 (with a .468 OBP) in his last 34 games in Pawtucket. ... Alex Cora started at third -- he went 2-for-3 with a walk.
The roster continues to change. ... Jose Cruz Jr. was designated for assignment after only nine days and 12 at-bats. ... The Red Sox have signed relief pitchers Mike Remlinger (who was DFA'd by the Cubs) and Ricky Bottalico. ... Manny Delcarmen will likely be sent back to Pawtucket and Jeremi Gonzalez (?) will be let go. If Bottalico is being sent to AAA first, then I guess Gonzalez will stay. He's been a decent long-man; he pitched 2.2 innings last night and got credit for the win.
Trot Nixon and Keith Foulke worked out early yesterday afternoon. Nixon hit off a batting tee and ran "spring training sprints" and Foulke threw 25 pitches off a mound. ... John Olerud also took batting practice. ... Manny Ramirez went 8-for-15 (.533) with three home runs, five runs scored and a league-leading 10 RBIs in five games and was named AL Player of the Week.
In Yankeeland, Randy Johnson's back is acting up and he may not start on Saturday. And Carl Pavano might be lost for the rest of this season. Thank goodness they've got Hideo Nomo. Heh.
Clement / Benoit at 7:00.