Opening homestand and the mailbag
With the West Coast trip, I've been neglecting my blogging duties. With the e-mailbag overflowing, I want to get to some of your questions.
Alex Cora is in the starting lineup for Julio Lugo tonight... and Terry Francona is indicating that we may see a little more of Cora until Lugo (currently in an 0-for-31 slump) can find his swing again. It's Cora's second start in three games, so this is definitely worth watching.
In the meantime, let's get to your questions...
Even if Shilling is out for extended time the Sox have Lester to replace him. My concern is the Sox need another bat and with the lineup as is the options are limited. The bullpen could be a problem especially what to do with Timlin a reliever or two might be a solution ...someone to bridge the gap to Okajima and Papelbon. Overall I think the Sox are doing fine. Really it is finding another quality hitter to hit behind Big Papi and Manny. Mike Lowell is fine but after that it is very iffy. I just don't think the Sox can make it thru with Lugo, as their primary SS and Drew is not a power guy for sure.
Peter Stanton, Stamford, Conn.
A: I don't think you'll see another shortstop here this season. The Red Sox have been through too many in recent years, and it's hard to imagine them biting the bullet on another player at that position in mid-season. I think Drew is fine, but I agree the team could use another bat. Where would that bat go? Perhaps the outfield, if the Sox were to trade Coco... but the way Crisp is playing, do they want to do that?
This is a fun time of year... the Sox are in first place, and we can speculate as to what they'll be looking to do to add to this team for the second half and post-season.
Not a question, just a wish list from Red Sox Nation in Florida either for the remainder of this year or free agents for next year: Ichiro, Cabrera (FL), Willis (FL), Tejada (Bal). Pass it on to Theo. Thanks.
Alan, Port St. Lucie, Fla.
A: You're quite welcome. Consider it passed on.
I know Coco seems to be coming around lately, but, in the long run wouldn't it be better to get someone like Torii Hunter for center for next year? His contract is up. Another possible player, looking to play for a contending team is Ichiro.
Tom Moses, New Durham, NH
A: I'd love to see either of them on the Red Sox, but at what cost? It will take some of your top prospects to get a player like that, and you will probably only have him for two months. Unless the Twins or Mariners let the Sox negotiate an extension before the trade -- a somewhat unusual occurrence during a season -- it'd be tough to imagine giving up a Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Jacoby Ellsbury or Jed Lowrie to rent a player for just a few weeks.
Could instant replay work in MLB like it has in hockey and football? I don't mean you use replay for balls and strikes but maybe fair or foul a trap ball or to see if a fan interfered with the play things like that . What do you think about the idea?
A: I hate to say this, but I hate it. I understand we want the officials to get the call right, but I can't support any idea that would slow the pace of major league games down any more than the current pace. The sport needs to do whatever it can to keep games from getting too long -- if it wants to attract young players to the game and keep kids interested.
Hey Tom, Iím just curious why Alex Cora is not given a opportunity to perform on a regular basis? Every time he steps in he produces both offensively, (.281 avg.) and defensively. Granted, Julio Lugo (.205 avg) is a player they paid serious money for, but isnít performance and winning the bottom line?
Rick Comfort, Lynn
A: Yes, but there's usually a reason why a player with seven years of MLB experience has been a platoon player most of his career. While Cora was a starter for the better part of two seasons with the Dodgers, but he hasn't had 400 at bats in three years.
Cora is in the lineup tonight, and Terry Francona has indicated that he'll use him a bit more here while Lugo struggles. The key here is still to get Julio Lugo back on track. Much like Cora was able to give Dustin Pedroia a break during his April struggles, he will play more and take some of the daily grind off Lugo until he is (hopefully) ready to help the team again.