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Game on?

Posted by Christopher L. Gasper, Globe Staff  May 2, 2006 05:07 PM

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The tarp is still on the infield at Fenway Park, but the team is planning to open up the gates before making a decision on tonight's game. "I think what we want to do is if we're supposed to play, play and if we're not supposed to play don't play," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona, citing a conversation he had with GM Theo Epstein before addressing the media prior to the game. "What we don't want to do is play three and not play. They don't want to make anybody sit all night, so what I think they're going to do is wait until close to game time and see what it looks like."

A jovial Francona addressed a number of topics in his pre-game press conference, but had no injury updates on Coco Crisp or David Wells. Here are a few tidbits:

On Alex Gonzalez's slow start:
"Gonzo's defense is so important to what we're trying to do, but at the same time I acknowledge that if a guy is hitting .170 it's a struggle. I want to play Alex [Cora] enough because I think he's a good player to keep him sharp. At the same time if we quit playing Gonzo before he's had his chance to get hot we're going to miss out on something. What is that something? I don't know. Does he get hot enough to get to .260, .270, .280 or does he get hot enough to get to .220? I don't have that answer. I want to play him enough to see where it takes him. He is such a good defensive player that if we start getting offense from him he is a good player. He's hitting ninth. We don't need him to hit .300. I want him to have the chance to show what he can do, so by bailing on him it wouldn't be good. "

On Doug Mirabelli being escorted to Fenway before yesterday's game:
"Only in Boston. I thought I'd seen everything here. Every time I say that it's not even close."

On the reception Johnny Damon got from Red Sox fans last night:
"I thought Johnny handled the situation very well with a lot of class, which is not surprising. It kind of is what it is. One of our all-time favorite guys goes to the team that we're trying to beat and there's all this history. ...I don't think it makes Johnny a bad person. We all love Johnny. We just don't want him to get hits against us. The fans are just showing their emotions. I think every player out there would rather be in that situation than having fans that don't care."


Sox
1. Kevin Youkilis, 1B
2. Mark Loretta, 2B
3. David Ortiz, DH
4. Manny Ramirez, LF
5. Trot Nixon, RF
6. Jason Varitek, C
7. Mike Lowell, 3B
8. Wily Mo Pena, CF
9. Alex Gonzalez, SS

P -- Josh Beckett

Yankees
1. Johnny Damon, CF
2. Derek Jeter, SS
3. Jason Giambi, 1B
4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
5. Hideki Matsui, LF
6. Jorge Posada, C
7. Robinson Cano, 2B
8. Bernie Williams, DH
9. Bubba Crosby, RF

P -- Shawn Chacon

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