Boston Globe baseball writer Gordon Edes checks in every Wednesday or Thursday with his take on the Red Sox. Ask your question now, and come back next week to see if it was answered.
Gordon, for some time now I've felt that Trot Nixon is a liability. He's slow, injury-prone, and has an annoying habit of making routine catches look heroic. Is there any chance that Francona will give Adam Stern or Wily Mo Pena the chance to be the everyday right fielder, rather than platooning these guys with Trot? Are the Sox hoping to trade Nixon before he becomes a free agent?
Steve Saltonstall, Sandgate, Vt.
Steve, I can't imagine that you thought Trot was a liability when he went .306, 28, 87 in 2003. Injury prone? Until he went down with a herniated disc in '04, he'd never been on the DL. He's been back twice more (quad strain, oblique strain) and the injuries have taken their toll, but I'm not sure I would conclude yet that he's breaking down. As for making routine plays looking heroic, I haven't seen that, I really haven't. Certainly it's a possibility the Sox move him at the deadline, but unlikely. You don't normally dump your No. 5 hitter if you're in the race. Out of the race, and of course all bets are off.
Can you please have your counterparts take it easy on Josh Bard. It was one game that he caught Wake. I think he will be fine he just needs sometime to get use to it. I have seen Doug Mirabelli in the past have his share of troubles. And I don't think we need to panic on the second game. I am confident that this team will come around. Love your column.
Diane Noel, Chicopee
Diane, as you may have noticed in my column today, you're echoing the comments of long-time knuckleballer Charlie Hough, who said that as long as Bard keeps his head, accepts that his stats (passed balls) will take a beating, and keeps plugging away, he'll do OK. Was Bard rattled yesterday? It's hard to conclude otherwise, especially after he lost track of the outs in the first inning. Hey, at that point, who could have blamed him for wanting to run off the field? But you make a good point: Mirabelli, especially early on, had his moments with Wakefield, too. It's just a fact of life that the more unhittable a knuckler is, the more likely it will be tough to catch, too. And ex-Rangers catcher Jim Sundberg certainly gave some insight on how nerve-wracking the role can be.
Gordon -- any plans for another Jimmy Fund "Gordon and Friends" benefit
in NY this summer? Had a blast last year.
Jim Carlson, New York
Hey, Jim, I'm kind of waiting to hear myself. The folks that plan these events for me do a tremendous amount of work in advance, and I'm not sure yet if we're proceeding again this year. I've had a lot of fun at the events and the support from fans like yourself has been terrific, for which I'm deeply grateful.
Gordo, are the Sox still looking for catching depth, or are they standing pat with Bard and Ken Huckaby? There seems to be an organizational shortage at that position.
Robert Braska, Springfield
Robert, at the moment, Huckaby is the starting catcher in Triple-A, with Jim Buckley, a 24th-round draft pick in 2002 who was a backup at both Portland and (late in the season) Pawtucket behind him. I know the Sox had interest in Arizona catcher Koyie Hill this spring; he was designated for assignment at the end of camp and I believe is now on waivers, so stay tuned.
What in the world is "a contact hitter"? Seems a hitter always contacts.
Fredrica Sloan, Williamstown
Fredrica, oh, those pesky words. I smiled when I read your e-mail. Of course, you're right from a common-sense test. The term is intended to distinguish the player who can be counted upon to put the ball in play -- and most likely with less power -- from the slugger or other strikeout-prone hitters.
Why is Wakefield the No. 2 starter? Don't give me the line about mixing up a knuckleballer and two fastball pitchers. C'mon Francona.
Dick Hertz, East Granby, Conn.
Dick, Wakefield will always be maddening to those people who can't abide the inconsistency of a knuckleballer, and in some ways, his inability, often, to control his own fate. In talking to Charlie Hough yesterday, he mentioned that there are plenty of managers who would rather send anyone to the mound but Wake. Here's why Wake is No. 2 -- he was the team's best pitcher last season. He won the most games, pitched the most innings, had a very respectable ERA (4.15) and ranks third, behind a couple of guys named Clemens and Cy Young, in career wins by a Sox pitcher. I'll take my chances with Tim Wakefield.
Gordon, in your long and distinguished career have you ever seen a player fall from grace so hard and fast as Nomar Garciaparra? It's almost hard to believe that this guy was the toast of the town in Boston a few years ago. He was going to be the Cal Ripken of this franchise and a first ballot Hall of Famer. Now he can't stay healthy and is settling for one-year contracts. He most likely will play for another 3 or 4 teams before he realizes his career is over. I guess it just baffles me how quickly he went south.
Ron Rico, Providence, RI
Ron, off the top of my head, it's hard to come up with someone who rivals Nomar's fall, and it was certainly disturbing to see that he is opening this season on the DL as well. It raises a host of questions about the physical transformation he underwent from the time he signed as a skinny shortstop with the Sox, and whether all that added muscle mass placed too much strain on the ligaments and tendons, et al, that hold him together.
Where on earth did you get the .403 OBP figure for Harry Hooper? I looked at baseball-reference.com and for his Boston career he was .367. In fact, as far as I can see he only topped .400 once during his stay in Boston. Also, the idea that Hooper was better than Dwight Evans seems a little ridiculous. Looking at win shares Evans was at least Hooper's equal. Evans also fares a bit better on the black ink test as well as MVP balloting.
Scott Ross, Brooklyn
Scott, true confessions -- I don't know where the HECK I got that number ... Ordinarily, I would have turned to baseball-reference.com myself -- a truly invaluable resource -- but I can't even plead having looked at the wrong column! As for whether Evans or Hooper was better, the Hall of Fame voters, as you know, have opted for Harry. He certainly meets the criteria for having his "number" retired.
Dustin Pedroia got injured during spring training and I have not heard anything about him since the injury. How is he doing and when do you think he will be called up to the majors?
Jacob K. Rolle, Andros, Bahamas
Pedroia's injury was a subluxation of his left shoulder. He was left behind in Florida, but is expected to join the PawSox in mid-April. When he makes it to the big leagues depends on how Alex Gonzalez and Mark Loretta play, whether they stay healthy, and how Pedroia performs. He'll be in Boston at some point this season.