February 25, 2004

Pedro Admits He Was Shocked By Gump's Idiocy. Pedro Martinez did some stretching, long tossing and fielding drills and will not throw off a mound for a week. He was asked about Game 7: "It really wasn't wanting to stay. I was asked a question whether I wanted to pitch to Matsui or not. ... I was actually shocked that I was staying for the last two or three hitters. ... I was not insisting on staying in the game. I was a little scared to leave the game, but it really wasn't my decision." ... Lawrence Rocca of the Newark Star-Ledger: "All these months later, none of us can understand why Little blew that choice between his red-hot bullpen and his worn-out starter. We might find out how those giant statues got on Easter Island before we ever get a logical explanation."

Pedro on on the media: "I wish I never had to talk. I don't like you guys. I don't like talking but I have to. I do it especially to get along. I don't want to be a bad apple. Tomorrow I won't be talking. Whenever there's a need or if you guys feel I really need to talk, I will to help your jobs. ... I dislike the cameras and I dislike the media." More in the Courant, Herald and Globe.

Nomar Garciaparra spoke about the possible trade and his future in Boston: "[E]veryone's intelligent around here. I feel like anyone else would feel in that situation. Was I hurt? Absolutely. ... [B]asically I was gone (this winter). I've dealt with that already. As far as I was concerned, I was traded and it was a done deal. ... We were so close last year. We had a phenomenal team. I think we have an even better team this year. I'm looking forward to going out there and playing next to those guys." ... And: "Am I still mad? Well, I don't know about all those things. I was definitely hurt by a lot of it. ... But the good thing, the great thing, is I'm right here in front of all of you guys." [Also: here and here.]

Everything Nomar said sounded pretty normal -- a guy being honest about how he felt and how he's dealt with it. Now, I did not hear any of the interviews, but what's been reported in the papers seems somewhat differently than how it reads on the screen. Tony Massarotti, in the Herald: "The bitterness is still there, in his eyes and in his voice...." In two Herald pay columns, Steve Buckley said Nomar had a "Volkswagen-sized chip" on his shoulder and Gerry Callahan claimed "Garciaparra sounded yesterday like a man who just caught his wife with the pool boy." In the Globe, Bob Hohler wrote that Nomar "unleash[ed] his most emotional rebuke of the Red Sox in his 10-year run with the organization [and] raised serious questions about his long-term compatibility with the team." while Gordon Edes described "anger, hurt, and resentment." To Edes's credit he also pointed out that "the Sox felt they had no choice but to explore the A-Rod avenue because they had serious doubts about their ability to keep Garciaparra in a Sox uniform -- at least, for the price they were willing to pay."

Outside of Boston, the perception was a little different. The headlines in the Newark Star-Ledger ["Nomar Arrives At Ease With Past"] and New York Post ["Red Sox Fit Nomar Just Fine"] seemed rather benign. Shaun Powell of Newsday sees no gloom or doom in the Sox camp. ... As Garciaparra said, "I'm excited that my socks are still red."

Interesting quotes from Theo in Callahan's column: "It's not ideal to have so many guys (in their last year), but I'm not afraid of it at all. You know what I'm afraid of? Being stuck with a bunch of big contracts three or four years from now, and you can't move them, and you can't do what you have to do to make your team better. ... I remember when this team let Roger Clemens and Mo Vaughn walk. Some people thought that was some kind of huge mistake. But they let Mo become someone else's $66 million mistake, and they replaced Roger with Pedro Martinez. Does that sound like a disaster? Hey, it's always a risk when you let someone walk away, but that's part of the job. We're in the business of team-building, not individual-building."

The Red Sox will hold their first full-squad workout today. ... Some good stories on the return of Ellis Burks. ... The Red Sox are considering starting Byung Hyun Kim in the 4th game of the season and having Tim Wakefield pitch the home opener on April 9. ... Johnny Damon has a beard "and looks like he went the entire winter without a haircut." ... Bronson Arroyo turned 27. ... Fenway groundskeeper Paul K. Williams Jr. is suing former Yankees Jeff Nelson and Karim Garcia for more than $33,000 for medical bills, lost wages and his sense of smell. ... Mediot Watch: Steven Krasner, Providence Journal: "In Game 3, an ineffective [Pedro] Martinez precipitated a brawl by drilling Karim Garcia with a pitch ..." Actually, if Garcia was indeed hit by the pitch (video was inconclusive), it only grazed him near his shoulder blades.

E.E. Update: The Yankees signed 1B Travis Lee to a 1 year, $2.25 million contract, with an option for 2005, and released infielder Tyler Houston. Pitcher Jon Lieber is expected to miss about a week of spring training because of a groin injury, and the team is taking a look at both Orlando Hernandez and Pedro Astacio. ... Steinbrenner says the Red Sox are the favorites in the AL East and referred to Theo Epstein as "Esposito" (he has also called him "Oppenheimer" in the past).

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