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Tewksbury a head coach

Page 4 of 4 -- First things

Don't be surprised if the Marlins make a play for Doug Mientkiewicz if they don't land Carlos Delgado. The Mets would seem to be in the same position, but the Red Sox have some doubts as to whether the Mets want to deal with them.

Towering figures

Derek Lowe will wear No. 23 with the Dodgers. The No. 32 he wore in Boston? That belongs to Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax and has been retired. So Lowe reversed the numbers and will wear the number worn most famously in Los Angeles by Kirk Gibson, who in 1988 hit one of the most dramatic home runs in World Series history, a walkoff blast off Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley. "I'm from Michigan," said Lowe of Gibson, his fellow Michigander. "I know all about that home run."

Lowe will take advantage of his newfound celebrity as a member of the Dodgers by playing in the Bob Hope Desert Classic this week. He's scheduled to play in the same foursome as Celtics boss Danny Ainge, according to a club official.

Seller's market

Why the Sox can charge $44 for a spring training ticket (complete with waiter service) and raise a regular box seat to 24 bucks: They sold out the tickets they placed on sale last weekend in a mere six hours. In this climate, they can ask for whatever they want, and they're going to get it.

Ball's still in play

Doug Mirabelli, in an interview with the Las Vegas Sun, left no doubt whose side he's on in the Mientkiewicz World Series ball to-do. The Sox backup catcher said he called Mientkiewicz the day after the story broke and told him, "You are the dumbest guy in America if you give the ball back. I tell you right now, if I had that ball I'd lock it up and bury the key somewhere." Sox brass are downplaying the flap, but make no mistake, there are some people on Yawkey Way who are not very happy about it. "I think the whole thing is disgusting," said one Sox decision-maker who had no interest in being identified. "What is next? Employees taking phones with them? It is very clear that MLB owns the equipment for postseason, and the problem is that it hasn't been well-enforced."

Touching bases

Curt Schilling quietly made a significant donation to the Children's Hospital in Peoria, Ill., in the memory of the mother of Phillies strongman Jim Thome . . . Framingham Lou Merloni is on the move again, signing a minor league deal with the Angels, who will bring Merloni into big-league camp. Merloni was well-regarded by the Indians, but after Cleveland signed Jose Hernandez and Alex Cora, he was squeezed out of a job . . . Nomar Garciaparra says he is experiencing no problems with either his Achilles' tendon or wrist. Garciaparra showed his class last weekend by conducting his annual clinics at Stonehill College.

Material from personal interviews, wire services, other beat writers, and league and team sources was used in this report. 

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