|Red Sox shake up roster with pennant race ahead|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 17 August 2007 14:19|
Outfielder Wily Mo Pena was traded to the Washington Nationals for a player to be named. Right-hander Clay Buchholz was called up to start the first game against the Los Angeles Angels, which Boston won 8-4, then was sent back down for the nightcap.
To fill those roster spots, the Red Sox called up outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury and catcher Kevin Cash from Triple-A Pawtucket.
``It's a nice day for the '05 draft, with Clay starting and getting the win in the first game and Ellsbury leading off tonight,'' Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein said of the team's player development system. ``I think we've got a pretty good thing going now.''
With no other catchers on the roster, Jason Varitek took Mirabelli's place in the first game. Red Sox manager Terry Francona said earlier he didn't want Varitek playing both games of a doubleheader.
``That's not going to work this time of year. That's why we've got two catchers,'' he said.
Mirabelli had been Tim Wakefield's personal catcher; the knuckleballer's regular turn in the rotation is Sunday. Epstein said it hadn't been determined if Cash, who has experience catching knuckleballers in the minors, would fill the same role.
Mirabelli reached on an RBI double in the first and pulled up lame when he came around to score on Alex Cora's double. He went straight to the clubhouse and declined comment after the game, when he was wearing a temporary plastic cast from his right foot nearly to his knee.
``He has a legitimate calf strain, which is normally two weeks on the short end,'' Epstein said.
Mirabelli was batting .212 with five home runs and 16 RBIs in 43 games this season. Cash was hitting .176 with seven homers and 25 RBIs in 59 games at Pawtucket.
The Red Sox got Pena for pitcher Bronson Arroyo in 2006, thinking he would develop into a steady fill-in for the regular outfielders when they were injured or needing a rest. But he got just 156 at-bats in Boston - not enough, the team figured, for him to develop his potential.
``That was one that we probably want back,'' Epstein said. ``Wily Mo still has the talent, in the right situation. Here, the fit never materialized.''
Said Francona: ``It put him in a difficult spot. ... Rather than just make him sit around, where it's harder for him to get better, it probably works out for everybody.''
Pena was batting .218 with five home runs and 17 RBIs in 73 games this season. His defense was part of the problem, too: He had three errors in just 85 total chances.
The Nationals hope more regular play will help there.
``One thing about Willie Mo Pena I can tell you is if you give him 500 at bats, he's going to hit 40 home runs and strike out more than Adam Dunn,'' general manager Jim Bowden said. ``And he's a below-average defender who needs to work hard on his game.''
AP Sports Writer Joseph White and Associated Press Writer Ken Maguire contributed to this story.