Red Sox not ready to set roster

October, 6, 2009

ANAHEIM -- The Red Sox front office, manager Terry Francona, his coaching staff, advance scouts and all three catchers (Jason Varitek, Victor Martinez and George Kottaras) sat in a five-hour meeting Tuesday morning at the team's hotel, poring over scouting reports and matchups for the series. The team is using video of each player and thorough PowerPoint presentations to prepare the organization for its first-round series against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, which begins Thursday night.

But when Francona met with the media on Tuesday, he didn't have much to reveal when it came to his roster.

"We don't have to have our roster set today," Francona said. "So it would be kind of silly to do that. We'll take inventory of where everybody is. I think we all know how we feel about everybody. … We just want to let it fall at its own pace."

Francona did confirm that Jed Lowrie will be on the roster for the first round, which will begin at 9:37 p.m. ET on Thursday. There is enough concern about whether Lowrie's wrist will hold up that the team called up Gil Velazquez, who has just 10 career big league at-bats, as an insurance policy.

Lowrie, who had surgery on his left wrist earlier this season, said Francona told him only about 20 minutes before the manager met with the media Tuesday.

"I literally just found out," Lowrie said as he headed out to batting practice. "News travels fast."

Velazquez, 29, was visiting family in Los Angeles on Saturday when he got the call. He'd been pitching in Mexico for a winter league team. Had he not gotten the call, Velazquez would have been a free agent as of Monday.

"I was shocked," he said.

As for other injuries, Francona said he had no official update on Rocco Baldelli, who's been nursing a sore hip for the past few days. Baldelli hasn't met with the media since leaving Friday night's game in the fourth inning with a strained hip flexor.

"He's still pretty tender," Francona said. "I think we plan on taking the full allotment of time just to see if he's OK because of the threat he presents on the right side."

The Red Sox have until 10 a.m. ET Thursday to set their roster.

Quick hits

The Tigers and Twins played Monday night, and their game was broadcast on two giant video screens at Angels Stadium. Players were often seen watching the game during batting practice, with many loud reactions to key plays in the game. Francona sat in the dugout for a while, saying he had no rooting interest. He just thought it was good for baseball. David Ortiz spent six seasons playing at the Metrodome, and he said he thought someone would have a heart attack because of the anticipation building. This was before the Twins came back and won in the 12th inning. … Angels manager Mike Scioscia said he likely would start Joe Saunders in Game 4 and likely would bring back John Lackey for Game 5 -- if both are needed. Ervin Santana will be in the bullpen. … Lackey was asked about a Red Sox hex. "Their hex, huh?" he said, smiling. "I don't know how to answer that." … Manny Delcarmen, who was in a car accident this past weekend, threw a side session Monday, and it went well. It still has not been determined, at least publicly, whether he will make the roster. "This is hopefully a good step for him," Francona said. "Where this goes, we really don't know yet." … Mike Lowell said his injured thumb is fine. He took batting practice Monday and is expected to play when the series opens. … Because of severe winds Monday evening, the Red Sox's charter flight took more than 6½ hours, at least 40 minutes longer than it normally takes to get to the West Coast.



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