The Red Sox activated Rocco Baldelli yesterday from the 15-day disabled list. Sox manager Terry Francona penciled in the center fielder, who had been on the DL since April 21 with a strained left hamstring, into the No. 7 spot in the Sox batting order.
Baldelli was eligible to play Wednesday, but sat out a 9-2 loss against the Indians since it was his regular day off.
“It felt good for a little while, but, obviously, no one likes to sit and watch on the side,” said Baldelli. “But I feel good and I’m happy to be back out there playing.”
In a corresponding move, the Sox optioned Jonathan Van Every to Triple-A Pawtucket. Van Every, who began the season on the 15-day DL with a right ankle sprain, was called up April 24 and wound up hitting .364 (4-for-11) with a home run and three RBI in seven games with the Sox.
“I saw him hit that home run, and that was nice,” Baldelli marveled. “It was gone.”
Van Every did throw a scare into his teammates when he crashed hard into the center field wall during Wednesday night’s 9-2 loss to the Indians. He had no lingering effects from his wallbanger, but was examined as a precaution before being sent down.
“That was kind of a scary moment,” Francona said. “It looked like he got all twisted up. He admittedly came in [hard] and didn’t know what to do and stumbled and just twisted his torso more than anything else. Theo [Epstein] spoke to him last night and said there’s a move to come but we want to wait until you wake up in the morning to see how you feel and get you checked out. So we did that and communicated with him just to make sure he was OK.”
Francona said Daisuke Matsuzaka, who is on rehab assignment in Pawtucket, would make his next rehab start Sunday at the Columbus Clippers. “He’ll stay with the Pawtucket team and get his work in with the team rather than fly all the way to the West Coast,” Francona said. “It just doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense,” to make Matsuzaka fly cross-country with the team to Los Angeles between rehab starts. “So he’ll stay with them until his next turn in the rotation.”
In the wake of yesterday’s news about Manny Ramirez’s 50-game suspension for steroid use, Francona seemed to wince when that scandal visited him in the form of a big picture question about the Sox not having had to deal with such distractions. “I’ve always liked our team and I’ve liked the way we’ve handled them,” he said. “The more you concentrate on baseball, the better. When things arise here _ nothing of that magnitude, fortunately _ we’ve handled them and, for the most part, we’ve handled them as a team and in-house.”
Julio Lugo, who singled as a pinch-hitter for Van Every in Wednesday night’s loss, was back in the lineup at the leadoff spot. He becomes the fourth different player to hit leadoff this season and second in as many nights after J.D. Drew (1-for-4) did the honors Wednesday night.