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Red Sox notebook

Schedule is a TV drama

Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By Amalie Benjamin
Globe Staff / May 17, 2008

It was all about the TV.

With rain falling at Fenway Park yesterday, the complications were evident. Not only is this weekend the only time the Brewers visit Boston this season, but the final two games of the three-game series were locked into times by two networks.

That's why the teams desperately wanted to play last night. The game, however, was finally called at 8:30 after a delay of 1 hour 25 minutes, the Red Sox' first postponement of the season.

Today's originally scheduled game is on Fox at 3:55 and can't be moved. Neither can tomorrow's 1:35 game, which is being televised by TBS. Plus, ESPN has exclusive rights to the window after 8:05 p.m. on Sundays, which meant a doubleheader couldn't be played tomorrow.

Thus, the solution was a split-admission doubleheader today. Tickets for last night's game will be honored for tonight's 8:35 start, which will be shown on NESN.

Daisuke Matsuzaka and Jeff Suppan, who were supposed to oppose each other last night, will do so this afternoon, and Tim Wakefield will face Dave Bush in the nightcap.

"It's the only trip in [for the Brewers]," said Sox manager Terry Francona. "I think you have a responsibility to play now. There were just some television issues that you have to go through the league and get OK'd. We needed to try and play."

Drew, Lugo ready

Though Coco Crisp wasn't in last night's lineup, J.D. Drew and Julio Lugo both were expected to play. Drew left Tuesday's game against the Orioles with a hyperextended left wrist; Lugo had been out since sustaining a concussion May 9 in Minnesota.

Drew was seen by trainers on Thursday's offday, and was declared ready to play, while Lugo was cleared Thursday by doctors.

"Things kind of happened in segments, but we were just trying to go one step at a time or get one person cleared at a time," Francona said. "[Lugo is] all set to go. I talked to him when he came in, made sure. Regardless of what a doctor says, if you don't feel [right], all you've got to do is let me know."

Crisp said yesterday he felt well enough to play, and expected to be closer to 100 percent today. He was checked for kidney stones, among other ailments, yesterday morning. The tests were all negative.

"He feels better; I don't think he feels terrific," Francona said. "Whatever happened to him hit him pretty hard."

Farmhand stricken

Anthony Rizzo, an 18-year-old first baseman in the Red Sox' system, has been diagnosed with limited stage classical Hodgkin's lymphoma. Rizzo, who was selected in the sixth round of the 2007 draft, is being treated as an outpatient at Massachusetts General Hospital, and will return to his home in the Miami area in the next few days and continue treatment for 6-8 months. According to a statement released by the Sox, Rizzo "has an excellent chance of cure and complete recovery." General manager Theo Epstein said in a statement, "Our thoughts and prayers are with Anthony and his family at this very difficult time. We are optimistic about his recovery and look forward to the day he can return to the playing field." Rizzo was playing for Single A Greenville until April 26 and was hitting .373 . . . Top prospect Daniel Bard, who has made a marked improvement after a difficult 2007 season, will be heading from Greenville to Double A Portland today, according to director of player development Mike Hazen. Bard, 22, has allowed just two runs in 28 innings this season. He was repeating the year in low Single A after struggling there last season, especially with his control. This season Bard has 43 strikeouts and just four walks. He was converted from starter to reliever while playing in the Hawaii winter league.

Wait and see

While there remains speculation that Bartolo Colon will be brought up from Pawtucket to start Tuesday's game after Clay Buchholz was placed on the disabled list Wednesday, the Sox were not announcing their plans. After talking with Epstein and pitching coach John Farrell, Francona said the team would need at least another day before making that call. "We'd like to take probably another day and just talk it over, make sure we get some more information from other people, digest it a bit," Francona said . . . Francona chose Yankees manager Joe Girardi and Tigers manager Jim Leyland as his coaches for the All-Star Game July 15 at Yankee Stadium. While he called the selection of Girardi "appropriate," Francona said the choice of Leyland was more of a personal one. "He always had time for me when I became a young manager," Francona said. "The other thing is he makes my dad feel like he's the most important person in the world. This was my way of showing him my appreciation." National League manager Clint Hurdle of the Rockies chose the Mets' Willie Randolph and the Padres' Bud Black as his coaches.

Francona returns

Francona rejoined the team yesterday after spending the past few days in Tucson after the death of his mother-in-law, Mary Ann Lang. Francona has missed 10 games during his Red Sox tenure, in which the Sox have gone 5-5 . . . Last night's game was supposed to be the start of interleague play for the Sox. The team will play 18 interleague games, against Milwaukee, St. Louis, and Arizona at Fenway Park, and against Cincinnati, Philadelphia, and Houston on the road. The Red Sox are 105-88 in interleague play . . . Traveling secretary Jack McCormick presented Eric Gagné with his 2007 World Series ring in the visiting clubhouse . . . Picnic in the Park, which benefits the Red Sox Foundation and Red Sox Scholars program, will take place on the field after the Sox-Cardinals game June 22. Tickets are available by calling 617-226-6002 or at redsox.com.

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