LATEST NEWS - MAY 4, 2009
The Red Sox wrap up a nine game road trip in New York today and tomorrow, where they get their first look at the new Yankee Stadium. Boston went 403-589 in the old Stadium.
"I loved the games there," Terry Francona says of the original Yankee Stadium, which opened in 1923 and closed last year. "They were great. The atmosphere, I mean knowing when you went there the game meant something. That's how you felt. I'm sure it's the same way now."
It should be even better, as the new Stadium cost $1.3 billion. The original was built for just $2.5 million.
Following two games in the Bronx the Sox return to Fenway Park for a pair against the Indians and three versus the Rays.
Boston (15-10) currently has the second best record in the American League. Only the Blue Jays at 18-9 have been better. Toronto is the only AL East team the Red Sox have yet to play, although the division foes face each other six times later this month.
Matsuzaka to Pitch in Pawtucket Tomorrow
Three weeks since he last pitched in a game, Daisuke Matsuzaka returns to the mound tomorrow night in Pawtucket when the Red Sox's Triple-A team hosts the Toledo Mud Hens.
The goal for Matsuzaka is to pitch three innings or throw 45 pitches. After his initial rehab start it's expected that Dice-K will need at least two more.
Since being placed on the disabled list on April 15 with a mild right shoulder strain Matsuzaka has thrown two bullpen sessions, the most recent of which was Saturday at Tropicana Field. He threw the ball well enough then that the team is confident he's ready for game action, just not in the Majors yet.
"We're just trying to do the right thing," Terry Francona said.
Smoltz's Comeback Delayed
John Smoltz has taken a one week break from his extended spring training throwing program to work with the Major League training staff to build strength in his surgically repaired right shoulder.
Smoltz, 41, had spent the previous two weeks in Fort Myers prior to joining the Red Sox over the weekend while the team played the Rays in Tampa Bay. He is expected to return to Fort Myers to resume throwing on Wednesday or Thursday.
Smoltz shut himself down after pitching two innings in a simulated game, saying "I've been throwing a baseball for so long, I know when I'm sharp and I know when I'm on. I was just a little bit off." He then added, "I accomplished everything I wanted to do, it just wasn't as smooth as I would have liked."
So to prevent any problems further down the road, the June 1 goal for Smoltz's return to the Red Sox has been delayed. "But June is [still] very realistic," he said.
As for the Red Sox, the team sees the setback as little more than a case of a pitcher working his arm into shape during spring training.
Smoltz, signed to a $5.5 million, one year contract in the offseason, had shoulder surgery last June. With performance incentives, the value of his contract could reach $10 million.
Kotsay Suffers Setback During Rehab
While rehabbing from offseason back surgery, Mark Kotsay suffered a different ailment on Sunday afternoon, straining his right calf during Pawtucket's 1-0 victory over the Gwinnett Braves.
Kotsay began his minor league rehab assignment on Saturday in Pawtucket, going 1-for-5 as the designated hitter. On Sunday he moved to center field but hurt himself running the bases in the bottom of the third inning and had to be taken out of the game.
The calf strain was actually an aggravation of an injury that first occurred during extended spring training in Fort Myers.
If not for straining his calf, Kotsay was expected to be activated by Boston within a week. Terry Francona estimated that he needed 20-25 at bats before he would be ready to return to the Red Sox. After going 0-for-2 on Sunday, Kotsay was about a third of the way towards that total.
New Site For Red Sox Spring Training Chosen
After narrowing down the search to four potential sites, a plot of land in Fort Myers known as the Watermen-Pinnacle site was chosen as the future spring training home of the Red Sox last Wednesday.
The five member Lee County Board of Commissioners selected the site because it had the fewest permitting and environmental issues. The county will pick up the tab on the estimated $80 complex. The stadium will be designed by Populous (formerly called HOK Sport) and is slated to open in 2012.
Lee County still has to acquire the land. The asking price for the 126-acre plot is $22 million. The land is within the southern city limits of Fort Myers, although the city plans to de-annex the land. If the county and developer can't come to a deal, the backup site would be University Highland in Estero, an unincorporated area just south of Fort Myers.
The Watermen-Pinnacle site is near the Southwest Florida International Airport and is about one mile east of I-75. Since 1993 the Red Sox have trained at City of Palms Park near downtown Fort Myers, a location that is 4.5 miles from the Interstate and 8 miles from the airport.
The Red Sox and Lee County agreed on a 30-year lease at the end of last year contingent upon a new ballpark and training complex being built. The team was going to exercise a $1 million buyout clause of their lease at City of Palms Park, which was supposed to run through 2019. The new lease won't permit the team to leave early for a paltry penalty.
>> Read the full story from the Naples Daily News:
Lee commissioners choose Watermen-Pinnacle as site for new Red Sox spring home
- Rocco Baldelli (strained left hamstring) will begin a two game rehab assignment with Pawtucket today. He's eligible to come off the disabled list Wednesday.
- Jason Varitek has allowed more stolen bases (26) than any other catcher in the major leagues.
- Clay Buchholz is 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA in 20 innings for Pawtucket.
- Since being demoted to Pawtucket on April 23, Chris Carter is hitting .389 in 36 at-bats.
- Jerry Remy has missed the last four NESN telecasts "to completely recuperate" from the pneumonia and infection he suffered in February. The earliest he is expected to return to the broadcast booth is Wednesday.
- Red Sox COO Mike Dee is leaving the team to become CEO of the Miami Dolphins.
Red Sox Trivia
This week's question
Who was the last Red Sox player to hit a home run in the original Yankee Stadium?
Send your answer to email@example.com and remember to include your full name and city/state.
Last week's question:
Prior to Kevin Youkilis, who was the last Red Sox player to hit an extra-inning walk-off home run against the Yankees?
Two answers were accepted. In the regular season, Jim Gosger was the last Red Sox player to hit an extra-inning walk-off homer vs. the Yankees when he did it on June 4, 1966 in the 16th inning. In the post-season, David Ortiz did it in the 12th inning of Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS.
Last week, 29 of 38 people answered the question correctly. See the Red Sox Trivia Standings for complete results.
2009 Red Sox Trivia Question Contest Notes:
The e-mail address in this section was inadvertadly linked to firstname.lastname@example.org last week. So if you clicked on the link you most likely got a "return to sender" message. For those of you who have your original replies send them in to email@example.com and I will credit any points owed.
PS > Don't forget, on weeks when there is no Red Sox Update e-mail, the trivia question will be posted online at Boston's Pastime, either Monday or Tuesday, at Noon EST.