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Reinforcements arrive

Posted by Christopher L. Gasper, Globe Staff  September 3, 2006 02:26 PM

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I'm sure a lot of you are interested in the weather, so we'll start with that.

Right now it's misting at Fenway and we're still set for a 4:05 p.m. start. Since this is Toronto's last trip to Boston this season, the playing of the game is at the discretion of the umpires and not the Red Sox. The general buzz is that they're going to try very hard to get this one in. The Red Sox have said that the forecast they have received calls for light rain through the afternoon and evening hours.

On to baseball matters: The reinforcements have arrived for the Red Sox. Wily Mo Pena and Alex Gonzalez are both in today's lineup (scroll down below for the rest of the lineups if you just can't take the suspense) against Blue Jays starter Gustavo Chacin. Trot Nixon (right biceps strain) and Jason Varitek (left knee), who were in Triple A Pawtucket on rehab assignments and played, along with Gonzalez (oblique strain), for the PawSox yesterday in a 5-0 win, have been added to the roster.

Sox manager Terry Francona said that he doubted that either Nixon or Varitek would see action today. Varitek is likely to catch tomorrow against the White Sox and then catch every other day the rest of the week until the team is confident his surgically repaired left knee is strong enough to resume his normal catching schedule. Francona said the Sox medical staff told him last night that Pena, who has been battling a sore left wrist, the same wrist he had surgery on earlier this season to remove the hamate bone from, was cleared to play.

"I'm glad. I'd like to have some thunder in the lineup," said Francona.

More thunder could be on the way. Manny Ramirez had what Francona termed a "real strenuous" workout on the treadmill, and Francona said the team could be "real close" to getting him back. David Ortiz is still wearing an event monitor in the wake of his heart scare, but the Sox slugger could take batting practice as soon as tomorrow if he gets medical clearance.

"I know everybody wants to know when he's going to play," said Francona. "I'd like to know and he wants to know, but we're still at the mercy of the medical people. I'm on the same page with these guys. We need to wait until they say when he can do what. We just need to let them tell us what we can do."

Francona agreed that the return of several regulars from injury could give his team a much-needed boost.

"I think it will be a boost. I hope," he said. "The guys we signed to play haven't been out there very much. The more healthy bodies you have the better you're going to be. It doesn't ensure wins, but it certainly has to help."

Here are today's lineups:

Sox
1. Coco Crisp, CF
2. Mark Loretta, 1B
3. Mike Lowell, 3B
4. Kevin Youkilis, LF
5. Wily Mo Pena, DH
6. Doug Mirabelli, C
7. Gabe Kapler, RF
8. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
9. Alex Gonzalez, SS

P -- Josh Beckett

Blue Jays
1. Reed Johnson, RF
2. Frank Catalanotto, LF
3. Vernon Wells, CF
4. Troy Glaus, 3B
5. Bengie Molina, C
6. Gregg Zaun, DH
7. Kevin Barker, 1B
8. Aaron Hill, SS
9. Russ Adams, 2B

P -- Gustavo Chacin

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