08/30/06 9:26 PM ET
Notes: Ortiz resting comfortably
Slugger still in hospital being checked for irregular heartbeat
By Ian Browne / MLB.com
"His [voicemail] box is full," said Francona.
Francona did get in touch with Dr. Larry Ronan, the team internist who is monitoring Ortiz at Massachusetts General Hospital and the early signs were good.
"Larry said he's had no more episodes," Francona said. "He's doing well, so that's good. They're obviously going to do more testing today and tomorrow. He's doing OK."
Ortiz checked into Massachusetts General Hospital on Tuesday evening and was kept overnight. He'll again spend the night on Wednesday. Ortiz experienced an irregular heartbeat twice over a 10-day span, so he's being checked to find out the cause.
According to a statement released by the Red Sox, Ortiz is "resting comfortably and is in good spirits."
The club said that more information will be released as it comes available.
Lineup shuffle: It was only fitting that this nine-game road trip ended with yet another lineup scratch for the Red Sox. Less than 45 minutes before the first pitch, center fielder Coco Crisp was taken out of the lineup because of lingering soreness in his left shoulder from a spectacular diving catch made in Tuesday night's game.
Crisp raced to the gap in left-center to rob Jay Payton of extra bases in the bottom of the fourth inning. The leadoff man stayed in the game and took two more at-bats. But during batting practice on Wednesday morning, he could not follow through on his swing from the right side and the Red Sox were facing a lefty in Barry Zito.
"It's a little sore," said Crisp, who will be examined in Boston on Thursday. "I'll come back in tomorrow early and see how it feels. I was icing it today and had the day off. Took some swings earlier. It felt fine going through the zone, just following through was the problem."
The removal of Crisp forced Francona to change seven spots in his lineup.
Kevin Youkilis moved from the cleanup spot to the leadoff hole, playing left field for the fourth game in a row. Third baseman Mike Lowell replaced Youkilis in the cleanup spot. Gabe Kapler moved up to the five-hole for the first time this season and played center. Doug Mirabelli moved up one spot and hit sixth.
Eric Hinske, originally scheduled to have the day off, batted seventh and played right field. Dustin Pedroia moved up one spot in the lineup and batted eighth. And first baseman Carlos Pena moved down a slot and hit ninth.
Already, the lineup had been in a state of disarray, with Ortiz, Manny Ramirez and Wily Mo Pena back in Boston for illness or injury, and Jason Varitek, Trot Nixon and Alex Gonzalez still on the disabled list. The Red Sox had just three Opening Day starters (Youkilis, Lowell and Mark Loretta) in Wednesday's lineup, and none of them were in the same spot of the batting order that they were in on April 3 in Texas.
"At the same time, because of our situation, we don't want to hurt anybody either," Francona said. "We sat [Crisp] down and right away we knew it was the right thing to do."
Medical update: Back on the home front, the Red Sox got good news on outfielder Pena and essentially what they expected on star slugger Ramirez.
"Wily Mo got some good news, [the left wrist], it's OK," said Francona. "They gave him a cortisone shot; he should be fine in a couple of days. That's the good news."
"The tendinitis is right on the tip or the edge [of the patella tendon]," said Francona, "which is why he's having the problems he's having, even moreso than normal tendinitis. Rest is the only thing that's going to get this better, whether it's five days, 10 days; we just don't know. We're going to have to let this thing get cleared up."
With so many players out of duty, Francona was asked if there was any temptation to shorten the Minor League rehab assignments of Varitek and Nixon, which are scheduled for this weekend in Pawtucket.
"[Theo Epstein and I] have talked about everything," Francona said. "The one thing we can't do, though, is do something wrong and jeopardize a guy's health. We've got a long plane flight home; we'll get situated."
Nixon is scheduled to play Thursday, Friday and Saturday for Pawtucket, while Varitek's plan is to catch five innings Friday and then seven on Saturday. Gonzalez, who is playing for Pawtucket on Friday and Saturday, is not eligible to come off the disabled list until Sunday.
September callups: Francona said that the focus of September callups, which can start Friday, will be bolstering the pitching.
"We need to reinforce our pitching staff," said Francona. "Some of the callups, position-player wise, are guys that are on the DL. I'm sure we'll have a couple more. We don't want to just have guys come and sit. The pitching staff is probably going to be the more important thing. We undoubtedly won't be able to wait until their season is over to reinforce our staff."
Left-hander Lenny DiNardo, who hasn't pitched for the Red Sox since May because of a neck strain, will be added to the roster in the next few days. He was scratched from his start at Triple-A Pawtucket on Wednesday for that reason.
"We're not sure exactly where or when, but we're probably going to need some innings, whether it's tomorrow, the next day or Saturday," Francona said. "It just made sense for him not to pitch. If he pitched today, that's not going to do us any good for the next couple of days."
Manager Mills? Francona would love to see Red Sox bench coach Brad Mills, his long-trusted lieutenant, get some looks when the inevitable managerial carousel begins around Major League Baseball during the offseason.
As far as Francona can remember, Mills has never been interviewed for a Major League managing job.
"I hope he gets interviews," Francona said. "You look at guys paying dues, he went that route where he went through the Minor Leagues pretty extensively. I know what he does here for us. I'd love for him to get interviews. Obviously, I think he's equipped to be a Major League manager. I'd love to see him get in the interview mix because I think he deserves it. I'd hate like hell to lose him, but I would love to see that happen."
Coming up: Left-hander David Wells (2-3, 4.98 ERA) will kick off a 10-game homestand Thursday night when he faces Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay (16-4, 3.12).
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.