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They will be frequent fliers

Four West Coast journeys in 2007

OAKLAND, Calif. -- First word on the 2007 schedule?

It's all unofficial -- teams have been sent the draft of the schedule, but it still can be tweaked -- but the Red Sox are scheduled to make four trips to the West Coast next season, which is double the number they are making this season.

The Sox, who just finished a six-game trip to Seattle and Oakland, have a nine-game swing through Anaheim, Seattle, and Oakland Aug. 22-30.

The extra trips next season are a consequence of interleague play -- the Sox will be playing teams in the National League West and are scheduled to go to Arizona to play the Diamondbacks and Los Angeles to play the Dodgers, according to a league source with access to the schedule. The source was not certain if a trip to San Diego to play the Padres was also in the offing.

The Sox have yet to play a regular-season game in Arizona, and have not been to Dodger Stadium since 2002, when they were swept in a three-game series. They took two of three against the Padres in San Diego in 2002.

In 2004, the last time the Sox played NL West teams, they traveled to Colorado and San Francisco. The Rockies and Giants are scheduled for visits to Boston.

The season-opening series, the source said, will take place in Minnesota against the Twins.

No word yet on who will be 2007's first visitor to Yankee Stadium.

Gabbard sent down
Kason Gabbard's stay in the big leagues did not last beyond one turn in the rotation, one in which he gave up two earned runs in 5 1/3 innings in a 5-2 loss Saturday to the Mariners. Gabbard, who was the 11th pitcher to start a game for the Sox this season and ninth rookie to pitch for the team in '06 , was optioned to Pawtucket yesterday.

Manager Terry Francona said a corresponding roster move is expected tomorrow. A strong possibility? Lefthanded reliever Phil Seibel, who missed all of last season after undergoing Tommy John ligament reconstruction surgery on his elbow, will be called up from Pawtucket. Seibel pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings last night in Toledo, striking out three while walking one in the PawSox' 6-5 win. In eight innings for the PawSox this season, he has yet to be scored upon, allowing three hits and a walk while striking out 13.

Scheduled for tuneup
The restoration of injured Sox pitchers continued with the news that reliever Keith Foulke, who has been on the disabled list since June 13 (retroactive to June 12) with what the team lists as tendinitis in his right elbow, is scheduled to pitch for short-season Single A Lowell tomorrow night. Foulke, who threw a side session here yesterday, will pitch again Sunday in Pawtucket. If all goes well, Foulke, who was ineffective before he went on the DL (2-1, 5.63 ERA in 29 appearances), could be activated next week.

``Foulkie, when he's healthy, he can throw forever," Francona said. ``He can pitch multiple innings, face lefties. He's experienced, he's been in big situations. It's a big plus for us when he comes back."

Sounds good, of course, but the reality is that Foulke in a season and a half has not resembled the closer who dominated the 2004 postseason. Inju ries have played a part (he had surgery on both knees before hurting his elbow) but his record since the start of the 2005 season: in 72 appearances, he is 7-6 with 15 saves, four blown saves, while allowing 88 hits and 22 walks in 77 2/3 innings.

Successful trip
Mark Loretta, who doubled in four trips yesterday, hit safely in all five games he played on the trip, is 8 for 19 in his past four games, and Tuesday became the third player this season in the big leagues to have 100 singles, joining Ichiro Suzuki and David Eckstein. One of those singles Tuesday was a perfectly executed hit and run, which according to NESN analyst Jerry Remy (who was relying on the word of one of his crack statmen) was the 18th time this season the Sox have had a successful hit and run. ``He's been exactly what we hoped we'd get," Francona said. ``He can maneuver the ball around the field, he has great bat control, he can shoot the hole, he can hit and run, he has a nice, short stroke. He doesn't have the most range in the league, but he also makes every play he's supposed to. He shows up every day, he's conscientious, he's exactly what we were hoping we'd get. He's a winning-type player." . . . Despite reports out of Florida, the Sox do not appear to be in the hunt for infielder Julio Lugo. And they were not close to making a deal last night for Phillies pitcher Jon Lieber, whose name has been mentioned in trade rumors. One major league executive said he thought the Angels could get Miguel Tejada from the Orioles if they were willing to surrender top young prospects; the Angels have not shown a willingness to do so . . . Jermaine Van Buren pitched for the first time since his July 18 call-up and worked a scoreless seventh, allowing a hit and striking out two . . . Craig Hansen pitched a 1-2-3 eighth with a whiff . . . The Sox had four sacrifice flies in Tuesday's win. Team publicist John Blake's research shows that matches the most by the Sox in a game since 1954, when research on the topic was first available. The Sox have done it twice before, in 1966 and 2004. Seattle, with five in 1988, holds the big league record . . . The Sox were errorless again yesterday and have committed just two errors in their last dozen games.

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