10/01/08 10:15 PM ET
Timlin left off ALDS roster
Banged-up players Beckett, Lowell, Drew all included
By Ian Browne / MLB.com
He had to tell veteran reliever Mike Timlin -- considered one of the leaders of the pitching staff -- that he would be inactive for this round. It marks the first time since Timlin joined the team in 2003 that he hasn't been on the roster for any postseason series.
Though the 42-year-old Timlin has had a subpar year (5.66 ERA in 47 outings), telling him he was out of the mix wasn't the most enjoyable task for Francona.
"The real hard one was Timlin, obviously," Francona said. "We decided to go with 10 [pitchers]. Again, because of who Timlin is, we respect who he is. I think our obligations are to put the best teams out there we can. I've been with Mike for five years now. Again, we have a lot of respect for what he's done. But we always do what we think is best for our ballclub. You tell guys the truth and you expect guys to handle it, and he did."
How did Timlin take the news?
"He was very professional," Francona said. "If I were Mike -- you have to try to put yourselves in the player's shoes -- you don't ever want to not be on the roster. He was nothing but professional."
The Red Sox opted for three catchers, with David Ross joining Jason Varitek and Kevin Cash.
Potentially, this could make it easier for Francona to pinch-hit for Varitek, who has had a down year (.220, 13 homers, 43 RBIs) at the plate.
"Again, we're carrying three catchers to put our roster in its best position," Francona said. "I'm just not comfortable doing our strategy ahead of time. Believe me, we're going to try to do everything in our power to win games. If we feel like running or hitting for anybody is the right thing to do, we will."
Starters Tim Wakefield and Paul Byrd, who might not factor into the rotation for this series, still made the roster and will be available out of the bullpen.
Wakefield could also be a contingency for Game 3 if Beckett -- strained right oblique -- is unable to go.
Here is the official roster breakdown:
Pitchers (10): Jon Lester; Daisuke Matsuzaka; Beckett; Wakefield; Byrd; Jonathan Papelbon; Hideki Okajima; Manny Delcarmen; Justin Masterson; Javier Lopez.
Catchers (3): Varitek; Cash; Ross.
Infielders (7): Kevin Youkilis; Dustin Pedroia; Jed Lowrie; Alex Cora; Lowell; Sean Casey; David Ortiz.
Outfielders (5): Jason Bay; Jacoby Ellsbury; Drew; Coco Crisp; Mark Kotsay.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.