Who's on first? Ortiz, Red Sox wait to find out Print
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Tuesday, 23 October 2007 13:26
MLB Headline News

 BOSTON (AP) -Daisuke Matsuzaka hit a home run in Japan last year, and the Boston pitcher should get a chance to bat when he starts Game 3 of the World Series.
Which also means that either David Ortiz, Mike Lowell or Kevin Youkilis will be left out of the lineup with no designated hitter at Coors Field.
Ortiz has been slowed by an ailing right knee, and that could be a factor. Red Sox manager Terry Francona wasn't ready to reveal his plans Tuesday, a day before the opener against Colorado.
``It puts us at a disadvantage'' without a DH, Francona said. ``Youkilis, Lowell, Ortiz, two out of three play.''
The Red Sox played nine games in NL stadiums this year and went 6-3. Ortiz, the usual DH, played first base in seven of them. Youkilis is Boston's regular first baseman and Lowell is the everyday third baseman.
``I haven't talked about it yet,'' Ortiz said. ``I don't even know if I'm playing first base.''
Whatever Francona decides, Colorado pitchers will have one less dangerous hitter to deal with on Saturday and Sunday. On Monday, too, if there is a fifth game.
``If they got to have a DH and we didn't, then I'd say there's a disadvantage,'' Lowell said. ``It's probably more of an adjustment from the American League side because you're used to hitting nine regulars.''
Youkilis hit .425 with four homers in the first 10 postseason games, Ortiz batted .387 with three homers and Lowell hit .333 with 11 RBIs after driving in a team-high 120 runs in the regular season.
Youkilis made just three errors in 145 games at first this year and Lowell is an outstanding fielder.
Ortiz played errorless ball in two games at St. Louis during Boston's sweep in the 2004 World Series. And he was flawless in the field in seven games this year.
Soon, he should get another chance.
``Wish me good luck,'' he said.
Might his right knee hamper him in the field?
``I'll tell you after I play my first game,'' he said. ``I'm feeling good right now.''
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THE GRASS ACTUALLY IS GREENER: Red Sox groundskeeper Dave Mellor had prepared for potential World Series baseball, but he never expected he'd be watering the grass at Fenway Park to keep it from drying out in the October heat.
Temperatures that soared as high as 84 degrees on Monday forced Mellor to give his famous lawn a sprinkling. Meanwhile, Colorado counterpart Mark Razum was putting growth blankets on the grass at Coors Field to keep it warm under a snowstorm that forced the Rockies' workout indoors on Sunday.
Mellor can sympathize.
The New England weather can be every bit as tough as the Rockies, and a long succession of Fenway groundskeepers learned to pile snow in front of the heat-absorbing Green Monster to speed up the melting. The warm weather made things a little easier for Mellor.
For now.
He's got the growth blankets standing by, though, in case the Series returns to Boston for potential Games 6 and 7.
``I'm hoping it doesn't last that long,'' he said.
In the meantime, Mellor is keeping the tarps ready. Rather than snow, there was a 30 percent chance of rain for Wednesday night's opener.
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DADDY'S LITTLE GIRL: Whether fans are rooting for the Rockies or against them, Colorado manager Clint Hurdle and wife Karla always hear a kind word about their 5-year-old daughter.
Madison Hurdle was born with a rare genetic disorder called Prader-Willi Syndrome, resulting in low muscle tone, morbid obesity and other problems, and there is no known cure. She also has seizures.
``This doesn't need to a 'Dr. Phil' show, but as I said before, her purpose in life, and I think the purpose of many special needs children in people's lives, can be dynamic,'' Hurdle said Tuesday.
``If you don't have one, you'll have no understanding. It's a very special fraternity or sorority to enter into. You don't raise your hand and get to the front of this list,'' he said. ``But once it happens, you're in. And I think most importantly, once you're in it's like many things in life. You look for good, you're going to find good. You look for bad, you're going to find bad.''
Hurdle is a national spokesman for Prader-Willi Syndrome, which affects one in every 12,000-15,000 babies. He especially enjoys his regular ``Saturdays at Starbucks'' visits with Madison.
``There's a period where you need to get through the grieving, the challenges, that big picture of the unknown,'' he said. ``At the end of the day, Karla and I look at each other and say, 'Did Maddie have a good day?' And when Maddie has a good day, everybody has a good day.''
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CROWN IT WITH YAZ: Red Sox great Carl Yastrzemski will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the World Series opener, 40 years after he became baseball's last Triple Crown winner.
The Hall of Famer will be joined by Dick Williams, Boston's 1967 manager, and 20 teammates from the Impossible Dream Red Sox, including Jim Lonborg and Rico Petrocelli. Richie Conigliaro, brother of the late Tony Conigliaro, also will be on hand.
 

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