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Red Sox Notebook

Pedroia incurs groin injury

By Amalie Benjamin
Globe Staff / May 11, 2009
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With the wind whipping out to right field during early batting practice, Dustin Pedroia joked that if he were ever going to hit an opposite-field home run, this could be the night. But he barely had time to try.

Before the top of the fourth, Pedroia made an early exit with a strained right groin, which he aggravated on a swing before grounding out in the third. That left two key pieces of the Sox offense on the bench in the form of Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis, who missed his sixth straight game with left side tightness.

Before the game, Pedroia was asked if he still wanted to play all 162 games this season, as he had said in spring training.

"Yeah, it looks like I'm going to have to, with all these guys dropping like flies around here," Pedroia said, laughing.

An hour into the game, he had joined the list.

"I'm all right," Pedroia said after the game. "Kind of been playing with this for about a week and a half. Just took a swing and my cleat kind of got caught in the ground. Hurt pretty good. Day off tomorrow will be nice.

"Already talked to Tito [Terry Francona]. He won't let me play on Tuesday, so then we'll go on from there. I'll be out there as soon as I can."

Pedroia tried to turn on an inside fastball from Tampa Bay's Matt Garza, but got a cleat caught. Pedroia had hurt the groin getting out of the way of a pitch in New York, though he could not recall which game. Manager Terry Francona thought it was last Monday night's game.

"Stuff like that lingers," Pedroia said. "My thing is, you heal while you play. It was getting better until that."

Although Francona said Pedroia would not play tomorrow, Wednesday was a definite possibility.

Oh, baby
There was tension in the game as the Sox were trying to win their first series from the Rays in nearly a year. But the most excitement, some of the biggest cheers, came in the top of the eighth inning with Pat Burrell at bat.

With Hideki Okajima on the mound, much of the crowd started applauding for no reason that was evident on the field. Burrell, in fact, was confused enough that he stepped out of the batter's box and looked around.

Glen Davis's jumper at the buzzer had just gone in, and the Celtics had evened their series with Orlando.

"I didn't know if there was a big fight going on or did somebody run on the field," Burrell said. "Definitely, it was time to get out of the box. No idea.

"And then as soon as I thought about it, I said, 'Oh, it's probably hockey.' The home plate umpire said, 'I think it's basketball.' "

Lopez is out
To make room for Bard on the major league roster, the Sox cut ties with lefthanded specialist Javier Lopez. In four seasons with the Sox, Lopez had periods of effectiveness interspersed with bouts of wildness. This season, command issues led to the decision to designate him for assignment. "It's hard to do," Francona said. "When I say one of our favorite kids, he's a nice kid. He's a gentleman. He works hard. He's just having trouble getting people out. The way we were using him, we weren't getting the most out of our bullpen." Over the four years, Lopez had a 3.30 ERA, but this year it was 9.26, with nine walks in 11 2/3 innings. "He just wasn't commanding," the manager said. "His velocity was good. He had worked on differing arm angles, which we thought was good to get some righties a different look. But he was having a real tough time commanding. The ball didn't have the action and he wasn't throwing the ball where he wanted to at the same time." . . . The last time a Sox closer allowed the first two batters of an inning to reach before striking out the next three to earn a save was Oct. 2, 2004. Keith Foulke accomplished the feat against the Orioles . . . David Ortiz passed Harry Hooper for 16th place on the club's all-time doubles list with 247.

Waiting on Youkilis
Youkilis now has missed six straight games since he felt tightness in his left side in a game against the Yankees. But Francona reiterated that the team is not planning to put the first baseman on the disabled list. "I know I keep saying day-to-day and it's dragged on a little bit, but what we're trying to do is not wait a week and have him appear in one game and take a swing and have it be a DL where it's two more weeks," Francona said. The hope is to have Youkilis take batting practice today in Anaheim, Calif. . . . Daisuke Matsuzaka threw his second rehab start yesterday, going four innings and 58 pitches for Pawtucket in Columbus, Ohio. Matsuzaka allowed four hits and two walks and did not give up a run. He likely will throw his last rehab start (75-80 pitches) on his regular turn in the rotation.

Adam Kilgore of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Amalie Benjamin can be reached at abenjamin@globe.com.

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