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RED SOX NOTEBOOK

Cash’s value is in his experience

Veteran has been a catch in his new role

Red Sox third baseman Adrian Beltre throws out Julio Lugo at first base in the seventh inning. Red Sox third baseman Adrian Beltre throws out Julio Lugo at first base in the seventh inning. (Barry Chin/ Globe Staff)
By Peter Abraham
Globe Staff / July 4, 2010

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Kevin Cash has an expensive piece of jewelry he’s very proud of. But he won’t be wearing it around the Red Sox.

The catcher earned a World Series ring with the Yankees last season, having played 10 games for New York in May while regular catchers Jorge Posada and Jose Molina were on the disabled list.

Cash started seven games before he was optioned back to the minors. The Yankees mailed him his ring earlier this season, hidden in a coffee box.

“I was pretty excited to get it,’’ Cash said. “It’s nice.’’

Cash also earned a World Series ring with the 2007 Red Sox, having played in 12 games down the stretch. He was on the roster for the Division Series but did not play.

After spending all of 2008 with the Sox, Cash was let go and signed a minor league deal with the Yankees.

“It’s an honor to have played for both of those teams,’’ he said before the Sox’ 9-3 victory over the Orioles last night at Fenway.

“The teammates alone, to say I was in the clubhouse with the guys here in Boston and the guys in New York is something special.

Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter, Jason Varitek, Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, David Ortiz, all of them. I’m lucky to be able to say that.’’

What impressed Cash the most was how players such as Pedroia and Jeter conducted themselves.

“Jeter, I cannot say enough good things about what a special player and person he is. Just outstanding,’’ Cash said. “There’s so much good said about him, you kind of come in skeptical. Then you play with him and you realize that’s why it’s said.

“The same is true of Pedey. Those guys know how to play the game and how to act.’’

Cash said there are a lot of similarities between the teams.

“Have fun, but at 7 o’clock it’s time to lock it in. Both teams have that approach,’’ he said. “They play hard. The veterans on the Yankees play hard and the veterans here play hard. Pedroia, Youkilis, they run hard all the time and you don’t see that everywhere.

“Once some guys get established, I don’t want to say they don’t play hard, but maybe they slack a little bit. But you watch Jeter run down to first base and he’s always hustling. Pedroia is the same way. Even Alex [Rodriguez], too.’’

The biggest distinction, Cash said, comes at Fenway Park and the new Yankee Stadium.

“It’s different at Fenway. It’s an atmosphere where the fans are right on top of you. When I took the field [on Friday], it was nice to have that feeling again. In New York, it’s just so big. Both stadiums get loud when they get rocking. But New York is more spread out.’’

Cash keeps the World Series rings locked in a safe at his home in Florida. But he will soon switch them to a safe deposit box.

“I’m careful with those,’’ he said. “It’s nice to say I played a role for two teams like that who won championships.’’

Cash and infielder/outfielder Eric Hinske were the only players who were on the 2007 Red Sox and the 2009 Yankees.

Buchholz start flexible
The Sox do not need a fifth starter until Tuesday in Tampa Bay, which gives them flexibility in terms of when to start Clay Buchholz. The righthander strained his lower left hamstring while running the bases in San Francisco June 26.

“If he pitches on Monday, he’s going to have to be as close to 100 percent as he can be,’’ manager Terry Francona said yesterday. “We’re going to run him through some more stuff. If he doesn’t, in our opinion, pass, we’re not going to pitch him if we’re not completely sure. So we’ll see.’’

Buchholz is able to pitch without any discomfort. But the Sox want to make sure his leg is sound in the event he has to get off the mound quickly to cover first base.

“Obviously, we’re going to err on the side of caution with him,’’ Francona said. “Nothing has been ruled out with him.’’

Delcarmen OK
The MRI taken of Manny Delcarmen’s elbow and forearm Friday showed no structural damage, according to Francona.

“Even the amount of swelling is not as much as I think they expected, which is really good,’’ Francona said. “It’s strictly muscular. We’ll keep him down for a few days and maybe throw a couple of bullpens maybe Friday and Sunday before the break. Hopefully that will do the trick.’’

Delcarmen went on the disabled list Friday after three rocky outings in a row.

Hermida takes his cuts
Jeremy Hermida, who has been out since June 10 with five fractured ribs, swung at balls off a tee before last night’s game against the Orioles. It was the fourth time in five days that he has taken some hacks.

Francona termed the swings “aggressive’’ and said Hermida could take batting practice on the field as soon as Tuesday.

Taking swings on the field would be the final step before starting a minor league rehabilitation assignment.

Fast pace unfamiliar
Friday night’s game lasted only 2 hours 7 minutes, a rarity in the American League. “A lot of us didn’t know how to act,’’ Francona said. “It was kind of weird.’’ The starting pitchers, Tim Wakefield and Brad Bergesen, threw 135 of their 196 pitches for strikes. The first five innings lasted only 64 minutes . . . Pawtucket righthander Michael Bowden is making a strong bid to be called up when the next opening arises. He has a 1.83 ERA in his last seven starts. Over those 44 1/3 innings, Bowden has allowed 28 hits and struck out 33 . . . The All-Star teams will be announced today, which could be good news for Buchholz, Ortiz, Youkilis, Adrian Beltre, and Jon Lester . . . The Sox have signed a number of late-round draft picks within the last week, including righthander Tyler Lockwood (25th round), catcher Zach Kapstein of Tiverton, R.I., (44th round), and shortstop James Kang (45th round) . . . A manager’s work is never done. With nobody else available, Francona escorted Victor Jose Martinez across the outfield to the bullpen to see his father, Victor, during batting practice, all the while making sure the 5-year-old didn’t get conked on the head with a ball.

Back to the future
The Sox are 49-32 halfway through the season, the same record they had through 81 games last season when they went on to finish with 95 victories . . . Lester’s 12-game win streak against Baltimore is the longest for a Sox pitcher since Wakefield won 12 in a row against Tampa Bay from 2001-05 . . . Daniel Nava has nine extra-base hits and 13 RBIs in his first 17 games. The last Sox player to do that was Sam Horn in 1987 when he had 12 extra-base hits and 17 RBIs. Horn had only 13 extra-base hits and 29 RBIs over the next 86 games and was released in 1989.

Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @peteabe.

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