08/23/08 1:04 AM ET
Bay happy to play on Canadian soil
Boston (74-54) at Toronto (66-62), Saturday, 1:07 p.m. ET
By David Singh / MLB.com
"I've managed to dodge this place for the 5 1/2 years I've been in the big leagues and it's nice to finally get back here," he said.
Bay is a native of Trail, British Columbia -- the same province that has produced Major Leaguers such as Rich Harden, Jeff Francis and former outfielder Larry Walker. Though Bay's home province is located in the Western part of the country, quite a distance from Toronto, he was still happy to make the visit.
"I think if you [come here] three or four times a year, the novelty wears off, but for me, it's been [a long time] in the Majors having not played here," he said. "It's been a long time coming and something I was looking forward to."
On Friday, Bay went 1-for-4 at the plate, collecting one walk and also scoring one run. Though it was a modest night for the left fielder, there is nothing quiet about what he has been able to do for Boston since being acquired from Pittsburgh on July 31. Since then, Bay has hit .342 (27-for-79) with four home runs and 18 RBIs over 19 games.
"He's been a good player for us," said Boston manager Terry Francona. "He knows how to play. He's probably been well schooled in baseball. There's a lot of Canadian junior coaches that know what they're doing."Pitching matchup
BOS: LHP Jon Lester (12-4, 3.17 ERA)
The lefty continues to pitch like an ace, even if the Red Sox don't think it's yet appropriate to call him one. In Lester's last start, he beat the Orioles by pitching seven solid innings in which he gave up one run. In four starts in August, Lester is 3-1 with a 3.18 ERA. Lester pitched once against the Jays this season, giving up just one hit over eight shutout innings. Lester is holding opponents to a .258 average on the season. TOR: RHP Jesse Litsch (8-7, 4.20 ERA)
Litsch showed off his newly added four-seam fastball in his last outing, but he wound up with a no-decision after a late collapse by Toronto's bullpen on Thursday in Detroit. The 23-year-old right-hander, making his first start after a brief stay in the Minor Leagues, turned in seven shutout innings with four hits allowed. Litsch struck out three, walked two and hit one batter in the 111-pitch performance, which included more of a focus on his sinker and less reliance on his cut fastball. Litsch is 3-1 with a 4.57 ERA in four career outings against Boston. Tidbits
The Red Sox officially signed veteran catcher David Ross to a Minor League contract on Friday. The 31-year-old Ross was assigned to Triple-A Pawtucket, but is expected to join the Red Sox next month as a September callup. Ross hit .231 with three home runs and 13 RBIs in 52 games with Cincinnati before being released on Aug. 19. Over his seven-year career, Ross has also played for the Dodgers, Pirates and Padres. He is a career .223 hitter with 60 home runs and 154 RBIs over 423 games. ... Also on Friday, the Red Sox recalled right-hander Chris Smith from Triple-A Pawtucket. Smith replaces right-hander Clay Buchholz, who was demoted to Double-A Portland on Wednesday after going 0-7 with a 9.21 ERA in his past 10 starts. ... Recovering starter Bartolo Colon (lower back strain) tossed four scoreless innings in a rehab outing at Triple-A on Thursday. Colon did not allow a hit, striking out two and walking two. Tickets
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Sunday: Red Sox (Daisuke Matsuzaka, 15-2, 2.77) at Blue Jays (A.J. Burnett, 16-9, 4.51), 1:07 p.m. ET
Tuesday: Red Sox (Josh Beckett, 11-9, 4.34) at Yankees (Andy Pettitte, 13-9, 4.17), 7:05 p.m. ET
David Singh is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.