Sore hand sidelines Red Sox catcher

Originally Published: July 25, 2004
Associated Press

BOSTON -- Boston Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek was out of the lineup with a sore right wrist Sunday, one day after he pushed New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez in the face and touched off a bench-clearing brawl.

Varitek said he didn't know how he injured himself, but it was likely that it was during the fight.

"I don't think of any other way it could have happened," he said. "I'll be all right."

Varitek said he felt fine when he left the ballpark, but started to feel pain before he got to bed. Team doctor Bill Morgan said he didn't see the need for X-rays.

"It's gotten a lot better," Varitek said. "I was getting a little worried last night."

Also Sunday, the Red Sox placed right fielder Trot Nixon on the 15-day disabled list with a left thigh injury that he said didn't result from the fight.

The Red Sox were trailing 3-0 and hitless Saturday before Bronson Arroyo plunked Rodriguez, prompting the AL MVP to stare at the mound as he moved slowly toward first. Varitek positioned himself in front of Rodriguez and the two began jawing before Varitek, still wearing his mask, pushed the Yankees star in the face.

The dugouts and bullpens emptied.

"I told him, in choice words, to get to first base," Varitek said after the game, which the Red Sox won 11-10 on Bill Mueller's two-run homer in the ninth. "And then it changed from him yelling at Bronson to yelling at each other, and then things got out of hand."

Several scrums erupted, with Gabe Kapler battling Yankees starter Tanyon Sturtze, soon joined by Nixon and David Ortiz. Kapler and Kenny Lofton also were ejected.

"Everyone wants to turn it into something it's not," Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling said. "There's a lot of respect between these two clubs. And there should be."

Asked if it reinforced in his mind the intensity of the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry, Schilling said, "I don't think I needed any reinforcement. I've never seen a rivalry like this in sports."

Boston manager Terry Francona said he wasn't concerned about suspensions from the brawl.

"I have a feeling when they look at the film, I think we will probably fare better than them," Francona said.

Boston is already expecting to be without Ortiz pending his appeal of a five-game suspension for throwing bats toward the umpires.

Nixon started the season on the disabled list with a slight disk herniation then strained his left quadriceps while rehabilitating the back injury and missed the first 63 games. He said Sunday he would rest for a week then undergo an MRI on his quadriceps.

"My leg feels like a rock sometimes," he said before the finale of the three-game series against the New York Yankees. "It's so hard in there, so much fluid and blood."

He said he didn't think he would need surgery.

Also Sunday, the Red Sox placed reliever Curtis Leskanic on the 15-day disabled list with a sore right shoulder and activated reliever Terry Adams, obtained Saturday in a trade with Toronto. Boston also called up catcher-first baseman Andy Dominique from Triple-A Pawtucket to take Nixon's roster spot.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press