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Pregame notes

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff  April 16, 2008 04:55 PM

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NEW YORK - A few things....

The Chicago Cubs have lost Alfonso Soriano for a while with a right calf strain and just when it seemed possible that a Cubs-Sox deal for Coco Crisp could be rekindled, Crisp will sit out tonight with soreness in his hamstrings. While not considered serious, it certainly aided Terry Francona's decision to bring in the mutli-positional Joe Thurston aboard to replace Alex Cora, who went on the 15-day DL. Thurston, incidentally made quite an impression on Francona and coaches during spring training and all are happy he's getting his chance...

Francona indicated there was some talk of bring up a pitcher for Cora, but Jonathan Papelbon and Mike Timlin are now rested and ready to be used this evening....

Jorge Posada will DH again tonight but could be a day or two away from returning to catching duties after nursing a sore shoulder....

Yankee manager Joe Girardi reported that Joba Chamberlain's ailing dad was doing much better. Chamberlain is on bereavement leave to be with his dad who collapsed during the final Sox-Yankees game at Fenway last Sunday night....

Looks like LaTroy Hawkins is giving up his No. 21 for No. 22. Hawkins had taken the No. 21 which belonged to Paul O'Neill (1993-2001), a popular player during New York's four championships in the 1990s. Hawkins had taken No. 21 in honor of one of his idols. Roberto Clemente. But it didn't go over very well in New York. Now he's taken Roger Clemens' No. 22....

Johnny Damon is getting a night off. Girardi has a rotation in place to rest his vets. The only player who hasn't received a day off yet is Alex Rodriguez, whose wife Cynthia is expecting their second child any day. A-Rod will get a day at that point....

The two home games tonight and tomorrow split up a stretch of 18 games out of 20 on the road for the Yankees. Girardi isn't complaining because "If you have to play this kind of stretch you'd might as well do it in April when the weather is cooler rather than in the middle of the summer. At some point we're going to play 18 out of 20 at home. You have to play 81 games on the road."...

NASA astronaut Dr. Garrett Reisman will throw out the ceremonial first pitch from the International Space Station. It will be the first ever first pitch throw from space prior to a game at Yankee Stadium. Reisman docked at the International Space Station on March 12, 2008 carrying dirt from the Yankee Stadium pitcher's mound, a Yankees banner and a hat autographed by Yankees Chairperson George M. Steinbrenner....

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