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Notes: Mendoza added to roster10/11/2004 8:23 PM ET
By Ian Browne / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- The Red Sox will make one roster change for the start of the American League Championship Series, adding a veteran reliever in Ramiro Mendoza who is no stranger to postseason baseball, or, for that matter, Yankee Stadium.
In the Division Series sweep against the Angels, the Sox went with 10 pitchers and 15 position players. They decided they needed as much pitching as possible against the fearsome lineup of the Yankees, so rookie third baseman Kevin Youkilis won't be on the roster for this round.
Youkilis was used sparingly in the Division Series, taking just two at-bats.
"We just think the other pitcher has a chance to impact us more than the position player," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "There may come a series when we're wrong, but we think that's what gives us the best roster."
Mendoza became a forgotten man earlier in the year when he couldn't conquer a sore right shoulder. But he came back when everyone least expected it, going 2-1 with a 3.52 ERA in 27 outings.
"You know, I had a little soreness in my shoulder and now I feel good and have my sinker working and my changeup and my curve," said Mendoza. "I have confidence."
Because of his health and ineffectiveness, Mendoza was not part of the Boston roster a year ago when these two teams met in the ALCS.
But he will get a crack against his old team this time, the one with which he won three championship rings in 1998-200.
Those rings are safely stored in a safe deposit box, but Mendoza wouldn't mind getting the key so he could add one more to the collection. Then he could join Babe Ruth in a distinguished club of those who have won championship rings with both the Yankees and Red Sox.
"I love pitching and I want to help the team and give it my best," said Mendoza.
Mystique and aura, redux: The last time Curt Schilling faced the Yankees in the postseason (2001 in Arizona), he jokingly said on the eve of that World Series that mystique and aura were dancers at a nightclub. He was more serious on the subject this time around, noting the true factors that come with all that Yankees' success.
"You know, mystique and aura, they are, I don't know how to explain it, other than the fact that Derek Jeter, [Jorge] Posada, [Mariano] Rivera, true Yankees, guys that you can't envision wearing anything other than pinstripes, bring something different to the field," said Schilling. "With Joe Torre running that team, they are just different. They are winners. I know there are other teams that believe they can't beat the Yankees. I don't think we're one of them."
Compassion for Rivera: While ace Yankees closer Mariano Rivera was back in Panama dealing with a family tragedy, the Red Sox were a lot more concerned with his well-being than whether he would make it back in time for Game 1.
"As bad as we want to win, then you hear something like that, it doesn't even seem appropriate to make a comment," said Francona. "The perspective is so different between people's lives and a baseball game. There's such a drastic difference in importance."
Preparation is key: Even though the Red Sox have seen the Yankees 19 times this season -- and 45 times since the beginning of the 2003 season -- they left no stone unturned in their preparation for this series. The Sox had a pitchers and hitters meeting after Monday's workout. And Francona and the brass held plenty of meetings of their own beforehand.
"We had a meeting this morning with our advance scouts and the front office and our catchers and our staff," Francona said. "We've played them 19 times, but we ask the players to give everything they have. As a staff, we have to do it, too."
Varitek's Stadium woes: Whatever the reason, Sox catcher Jason Varitek had a nightmarish time at the plate at Yankee Stadium this season, going 0-for-34. In 163 career at-bats in the Bronx, Varitek is hitting .196 with five homers and 25 RBIs.
"I think they've made some good pitches against him, too. I think it's a combination of catching a guy when he's not feeling real good and making some really good pitches," said Francona. "In saying that, we're not going to drop him in the order or anything like that. He's too good a player. They've done a very good job with him so far, but I can see that changing."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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