03/20/07 8:00 PM ET
Notes: Shoulder sidelines Crisp
Center fielder has been held out of lineup since March 14
By Ian Browne / MLB.com
"My shoulder is just a little stiff," said Crisp. "I took a bit of a funky swing and it kind of inflamed on me. I just put ice on it, that was it."
Crisp, who hasn't played since March 14, knows what people must be thinking.
"It's got nothing to do with my finger," said Crisp. "My finger is fine, so just in case you were wondering about that, I'll just tell you it's fine."
Last year, Crisp was limited to 105 games after fracturing his left index finger in the fifth game of the season.
The switch-hitter didn't seem to be concerned about the shoulder.
"I've been hitting the ball so well, [Francona] said, 'You pretty much don't need Spring Training.' I'll just go right to the season," quipped Crisp, who is hitting .179 in 28 at-bats this spring.
The Red Sox face left-handers the next three days, which has prolonged Crisp's return to the lineup. The shoulder is much more bothersome when he hits right-handed.
Though Francona hasn't ruled Crisp out of Thursday's game in Clearwater, it seems more likely he'll return for Friday's home game against the Orioles.
Right fielder J.D. Drew, who also hadn't played since March 14, was back in the lineup on Tuesday night. In Drew's case, the rest was more for just maintenance than a specific injury.
Papi films commercial: Sox designated hitter David Ortiz took a ride to Estero, Fla., before Tuesday's game and filmed a commercial for Vitamin Water with star Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher.
Perhaps Ortiz didn't tell Urlacher that he often attends Green Bay Packers home games with his wife, Tiffany, who is an avid fan.
Interestingly, part of the commercial involved playing some badminton. Let's just say that Ortiz isn't going to be trading in his big bat for a racket any time soon.
"Well, you know the thing is, when they hit it to you, it comes like 150 mph, for real," said Ortiz. "So they were telling me, 'OK, here it comes,' and they hit it and I still didn't get it."
Gabbard optioned to Pawtucket: In a move that had nothing to do with his performance this spring and everything to do with a numbers crunch, the Red Sox optioned left-hander Kason Gabbard to Triple-A Pawtucket.
Gabbard was 1-1 with a 2.70 ERA in four starts. He also impressed the Sox late last season when he got a couple of spot starts.
"He kind of -- not opened some eyes, because he had already done that -- but maybe lit up some eyes is a good way of putting it," said Francona. "His secondary pitches, his changeup and his breaking ball, are coming on so much. In fairness to him, he needs to go get a little more stretched out than he can here. We really contemplated keeping him around just because we were so pleased with the way he's thrown the ball."
In other roster news, Francona informed non-roster invitees Bobby Scales and infielder Joe McEwing that they wouldn't be making the team, but asked them to stay in Major League camp for the rest of the spring. Scales and McEwing will be among the extra players who travel to Philadelphia for the final two exhibition games.
"I think it's kind of a respect thing and an honesty thing where ... I wanted to make sure they understood where they stood but also how we feel about them," Francona said. "They've been as professional in this camp as they could be."
Another Papelbon piggyback: Tim Wakefield and Jonathan Papelbon have been pitching on the same day throughout camp. In Papelbon's first two outings, he relieved Wakefield. Last time around, Papelbon started a Major League game while Wakefield pitched at the Minor League complex. Wakefield is scheduled to start Thursday's game in Clearwater and go five innings. Papelbon will piggyback him for the final four innings.
Cover boy: Earlier this month, Red Sox right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka was on the cover of both ESPN The Magazine and the Sporting News. This week, he hits the trifecta by gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated.
Coming up: Matsuzaka takes the mound on Wednesday afternoon when the Red Sox travel to Bradenton to face the Pirates. He'll be opposed by Tom Gorzelanny. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.