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RED SOX NOTEBOOK

Millar will not play second fiddle at first

BROCKTON -- Red Sox first baseman Kevin Millar, making an appearance at Modell's Sporting Goods at the Westgate Mall yesterday, said he told general manager Theo Epstein there isn't room for both him and Doug Mientkiewicz at first base.

"Can't have us both back," said Millar. "I've already expressed that to Theo and he knows that. You're not going to spend that much money and have two guys sitting part of the time. I'm not going to platoon behind Doug Mientkiewicz, to be honest with you. I've proven myself here. Two years ago we were five outs away and last year we won. It's not a platoon spot. I'm not gonna platoon with Doug, and I'm sure he doesn't want to, either."

Asked if he felt Epstein would resolve the issue with a trade, Millar said, "They'll resolve that. It's either going to be me or him."

Millar was the poster child for the "Cowboy Up" motto of the team in 2003 and took pride in calling himself one of the top "idiots" on last season's team.

"I want to stay here 100 percent," Millar said. "This is my team and I would be crushed and devastated if I were to ever be traded because I love playing. I love the pressure. I love the media. I love the whole ball of wax. And not everybody likes it. You have to have a certain type of makeup to play for the Boston Red Sox. I'm not the best player, but there are intangibles I bring to the clubhouse and to a team that are just as important as the stats on my baseball card."

Mientkiewicz, a .272 lifetime hitter who hit .215 in 107 at-bats for the Sox, went public during the American League Championship Series with his displeasure at being a role player.

"No, I can't do this again," Mientkiewicz said during the ALCS. "I'm not 38 trying to hang on to a career. I feel I have a lot of good years left. I've been an everyday player for the last five years. The teams I've been on have been pretty darned good. I went from a three-hole hitter on a playoff team that was three games away from the World Series a couple of years ago, to, if I do play, I hit ninth. It's been tough to watch."

Millar thinks the Sox will remain formidable, even without Pedro Martinez. "This team is 85 percent back," he said. "I cross my fingers I don't go anywhere. I hope [Jason] Varitek comes back. We've proved we're a good team. We can't worry when we lose a player. We lost Nomar [Garciaparra] and we rallied around the guys we had and we won it all. We can't worry about losing Pedro."

Millar expressed surprise Martinez left for the Mets, though "Pedro is at the point of his career where he can make his own decisions. I was just surprised he'd leave what we have here. He's a great pitcher and I wish him well, but we're not gonna fold up because we lost Pedro. We'll find someone else."

Millar thinks David Wells will blend into the colorful Red Sox clubhouse.

"I think this guy is like all of us," Millar said. "He's a big-time gamer every time he takes the mound. He's been a character throughout his career. He's consistent, throws strikes."

Meet the press
Edgar Renteria flew to Boston from Colombia yesterday and will undergo a physical this morning, then likely meet the media at 2 p.m. Renteria, 29, agreed to a deal worth about $40 million Wednesday . . . The World Series Trophy tour will stop in Maine today and tomorrow. The tour begins in South Portland with a 9 a.m. visit to the Youth Alternatives group home. From 10 a.m.-2 p.m., there will be a public viewing at Hadlock Field, home of the Red Sox' Double A Eastern League club, the Portland Sea Dogs. A rally featuring second baseman Mark Bellhorn, pitcher Lenny DiNardo, catcher Doug Mirabelli, and third baseman Kevin Youkilis is also on tap . . . Promotions in the Sox scouting department: Jason McLeod was promoted to director of amateur scouting, and Amiel Sawdaye has been promoted to assistant scouting director. Dave Finley was been promoted to national crosschecker, Mike Rikard was named East Coast crosschecker, and Fred Peterson was named West Coast crosschecker. The Sox hired Jon Lukens and Danny Watkins as area scouts . . . The Red Sox officially announced Dr. Bill Morgan "will be leaving his post as the club's medical director." Morgan is affiliated with St. Elizabeth's Medical Center; the team's health care provider is Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. In a release, the Red Sox stated, "The selection of a team medical director is unrelated to the club's relationship with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center." . . . A collection of World Series championship memorabilia went on sale Dec. 7 on MLB.com, and the lineup card from Game 4 of the 2004 World Series brought a site-record bid of $165,000.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report. 

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