|Who's on first? Ortiz, Red Sox wait to find out|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 23 October 2007 22:45|
Boston pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka hit a home run in Japan last year, and he should get another chance to bat when he starts Game 3 of the World Series.
Which also means that either Ortiz, Mike Lowell or Kevin Youkilis will be left out of the Red Sox lineup with no designated hitter at Coors Field.
Ortiz has been slowed by an ailing right knee, and that could be a factor as to whether he moves to first base. 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.''
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 - he's occasionally filled in at third. Lowell is an outstanding fielder.
Ortiz played errorless ball in two games at first base during Boston's sweep over St. Louis 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.''
A SPECIAL NUMBER: Before Game 1 of the World Series, Colorado manager Clint Hurdle will fill out his lineup card, write ``64'' at the top and circle it.
He's done that every game for nearly two months, which closely coincides with the incredible winning surge that let the Rockies get this far.
It goes back to a high school student named Kyle Blakeman, who recently died of a rare form of cancer. Hurdle had known him for a couple of years and, after the 15-year-old's mother called and asked for one more visit, the manager and his wife went to see the high school sophomore in the hospital on Aug. 24.
Hurdle told Blakeman the Rockies needed a little luck.
``He kind of looked at me like, 'What do you want from me?''' Hurdle recalled Tuesday. ``I said, 'Do you got a number?' Do you have a number, something I can play with?'''
Blakeman said that while he'd worn several different numbers in baseball, his favorite jersey in football was No. 64.
Not sure at first what to do with it, Hurdle told Blakeman he'd write it on the lineup card.
Hurdle did it that night, then watched the Rockies rally for five runs in the bottom of the ninth to beat Washington 6-5.
After the game at Coors Field, Hurdle headed straight for the hospital, arriving after 11 p.m.
``Everybody is waiting for me. I walk in the room and there's mom and dad and there's Kyle and they're just laughing, like, did you ever not expect something good to happen?'' Hurdle said. ``I handed him the lineup card and we had a bunch of giggles about it.''
About a week later, Blakeman died. Hurdle has kept up the No. 64 tradition since then.
``It's not magic, it's meaningful is what it is for me. It's very meaningful,'' he said.
IS THAT SO?: In an act of baseball blasphemy, ardent Yankees fan Rudy Giuliani says he's pulling for the Boston Red Sox to win the World Series.
``I'm rooting for the Red Sox,'' the Republican presidential contender said Tuesday in Boston, where he was picking up a local endorsement.
``I'm an American League fan, and I go with the American League team, maybe with the exception of the Mets,'' he said. ``Maybe that would be the one time I wouldn't because I'm loyal to New York.''
The former New York City mayor said his declaration of temporary Red Sox loyalty was ``not just because I'm here in Massachusetts.''
``In Colorado, in the next week or two, you will see, I will have the courage to tell the people of Colorado the same thing, that I am rooting for the Red Sox in the World Series,'' he said.
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.