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All well with Wells

Posted by Christopher L. Gasper, Globe Staff  July 17, 2006 04:24 PM

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David Wells continued his comeback today, throwing 49 pitches in a side session before tonight's game against the Kansas City Royals.

"He threw the ball well and felt good about his knee," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona.

Francona said that if Wells showed no effects tomorrow from his second side session in three days then the next step would be for him to throw a simulated game. That could happen as soon as Wednesday.

"It's not so much health as just making it work logistically," said Francona, citing the fact that the team has a day game on Wednesday (1:05) after a night game on Tuesday. "We don't want him to have an 8:30 in the morning simulated game."

-- It's possible that Kevin Youkilis could get an off-day soon. Youkilis, who is just 8 for his last 57 at the plate over the last 15 games, has played in 87 of the Sox first 90 games. Francona said he didn't think fatigue was a factor in Youkilis's slump, but allowed that he might be due for a day off just to give the intense first baseman a mental break.

"I know mentally he beats himself up pretty good, along with the dugout, his helmet, his bat and anything else in the way," said Francona. "I know he wears every at-bat on his sleeve and he's pretty emotional. We'll see. I've been thinking about it. We'll see what happens."

If Youkilis were to take a day off, David Ortiz and Mark Loretta would be the prime candidates to man first base.

-- Kyle Snyder is expected to get at least one more start. Francona said that Snyder was scheduled to take his turn in the rotation on Friday, when the Red Sox open a six-game West Coast swing in Seattle against the Mariners.

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