Francona plans on him in New York

Updated: April 13, 2004, 10:22 PM ET
Associated Press

BOSTON -- Pedro Martinez will still miss Boston's opening series against the New York Yankees even though the Red Sox shook up the rest of their rotation Tuesday.

A daylong rain washed out the night game against Baltimore and forced Boston manager Terry Francona to consider several ways to realign his rotation.

 Pedro Martinez
Martinez

He changed the scheduled pitching days for four starters, but not for Martinez, a move that took some of the glamour out of the four-game series starting Friday night at Fenway Park.

"I'm trying to understand the electricity that goes on with the fans and the Yankees," Francona said, "but I don't think you can ruin your rotation ... because of that point."

So Tim Wakefield will pitch Friday night's series opener, with Curt Schilling, Bronson Arroyo and Derek Lowe working the other three games.

The postponement caused less shuffling of Baltimore's rotation. Kurt Ainsworth, who was scheduled to pitch Tuesday, will miss the series with Sidney Ponson and Matt Riley making their scheduled starts on Wednesday and Thursday nights.

The game will not be re-scheduled during the current series, the Red Sox announced.

The postponement allows Francona to set up his rotation in a way he didn't think he could so early in the season with knuckleballer Wakefield throwing between power pitchers Martinez and Schilling.

"I just think it can give us a different look three nights in a row," Francona said. "This was an opportunity to do it without a ton of headaches."

If Martinez's start were pushed back a day to Friday, he likely would have missed the three-game series the following weekend in New York in which he was scheduled to pitch the final game.

But with rain forecast for Wednesday and the possibility of another rainout, might Martinez end up facing the Yankees at Fenway after all?

Francona said the rotation would have to be adjusted again but he wouldn't say how. And he said he doesn't expect a doubleheader Thursday even if there's another rainout.

Lowe, who was scheduled to pitch Tuesday, is now slated to work Wednesday. Schilling and Arroyo also were pushed back a day.

The last pitch Martinez threw against the Yankees ended up as a popup by Jorge Posada that fell for a two-run double in short center field Oct. 16 in New York. The eighth-inning hit tied the seventh game of the AL championship series 5-5 and the Yankees won on Aaron Boone's 11th-inning homer off Wakefield.

Francona said having Martinez face the Yankees in New York rather than in Boston fits his plan for the rotation.

"I understand when you talk about the Yankees (rivalry)," he said, "but we have a lot of other games and if we win when we play we're going to be OK, whether that's the Yankees, the Blue Jays, the Orioles."

The postponement, combined with Monday's day off, gave Boston's overworked bullpen a chance to recover. Scott Williamson, bypassed in Sunday's 6-4 win over Toronto because of a sore elbow, felt fine Tuesday.

"You get the rainout so you get an extra day (off)," he said. "So it helps out everybody. It definitely helps the bullpen."

And if Francona's revamped rotation succeeds, the bullpen should get even more rest.

"We gave thought to about eight different things" before deciding, he said. "We think this is the most practical and it will best suit out ballclub and our pitchers."

Notes
CF Johnny Damon, who missed the last two games because of a swollen knee after hitting a ball off his kneecap, was in the lineup posted for Tuesday. ... RF Trot Nixon, on the disabled list because of a mildly herniated disc, is expected to swing the bat on Wednesday and Thursday. He has been undergoing treatment in Miami. ... SS Nomar Garciaparra, on the disabled list with tendinitis in his right Achilles tendon, is making slow progress, Francona said.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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