No stripes for Unit
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Now that Bill Mueller is on the DL, do you think Kevin Youkilis is ready to become the everyday Red Sox third baseman? More importantly, will he get that chance? Or do you think the Sox will go after someone else should Youkilis slump?
-- Greek God of Mailbag Questions
A: An anonymous query to the 'Bag? It would be prudent of the Sox to line up a backup plan in case Youkilis does become overmatched, though he's certainly off to an auspicious start. Bellhorn is an option for the short term, and Jack McKeon, who had Pokey Reese in Cincinnati, says that Reese would win a Gold Glove at third. But unless Youkilis goes totally into the tank, I think the Sox will ride out the six weeks it is projected Mueller will need before he comes back.
Spending most of my life in Boston and being a lifelong Sox fan, I know how we fans can be extremely positive one minute and brutally negative the next. However, I can't understand how some fans can be so negative this season when the Sox are in first place over the Empire without two of their top players. The Yanks have had their "Dream Team" primarily intact so far this season and the Sox are ahead of them with bench players and call-ups. I 'm sure that sports reporters need to write about the bad as well as the good, but are you surprised that some fans can be so negative when we're in first without Nixon and Garciaparra?
-- Laura Murphy, Anacortes, WA
A: Surprised, Laura? C'mon. We both know that there would be some fans (and media types) who would find something to grouse about even if the Sox had a 10-game lead with 7 games left to play. It's in the New England character, I guess, to complain even in the best of circumstances. But I think even the whiners would grudgingly admit they're pleased with how these Sox have performed.
Will you please go nose to nose with Garciaparra and ask him if he truly wants to remain in Boston and what it will take to keep him here. Then ask him if he is being truthful with his answer. I feel with his BS over the past few months he would like to leave. If so trade him now and get something in return. I feel he would like to leave the RS high and dry! Maybe he can play second base for the Yankees. I am sure this has entered his mind.
-- Robert Boulrisse, Sebring, Fl
A: Robert, the question has been put to Nomar countless times, by myself and others. He maintains he has been consistent in saying he wants to stay here, which is true, although last season in at least a couple of interviews he threw in the caveat that this was the only place he knew, so how could he comment on how it would be to go somewhere else. And remember, the Sox were the ones who proposed trading Nomar last winter; the shortstop wasn't asking to be dealt. So until he proves otherwise, I think we have to take the man at his word. Continued...