BOSTON (AP) -- Terry Francona's return to managing had to wait another day when Friday night's series opener between the Boston Red Sox and Milwaukee Brewers was postponed by rain.
The skipper of the AL All-Star team did, however, add managers Joe Girardi of the New York Yankees and Jim Leyland of the Detroit Tigers to his coaching staff for that game against the NL on July 15.Francona had missed the previous two-game series in Baltimore because of the death of his mother-in-law. Now he's set to manage two games Saturday, one that had been scheduled for 3:55 p.m. and a makeup of Friday's rainout at 8:35 p.m.Bench coach Brad Mills filled in against the Orioles."There's a lot of trust in the coaching staff, Millsy and (pitching coach) John Farrell and everybody," Francona said. "They got stuck with a lot of responsibility. They can do it just fine."You just feel a little guilty because you have a responsibility to be there for people and you're not there to do it. Even if the reasons are good, it's not a good feeling."He was happy, though, to give Girardi a chance to coach in the All-Star game at Yankee Stadium in its last year as the Yankees home before they move into a new stadium."I thought it was appropriate that the manager of the Yankees be there," Francona said. "It's their last game. I just thought it was appropriate."He also praised Leyland for helping him as a minor leaguer."When I was a young player in Triple-A, he was the manager. You could tell then he was really good. He always had time for me when I became a young manager," Francona said. "I didn't even know if he'd be interested because he's done this (all-star game) before as a manager. He was so great when I called him. It really made me feel good."First comes Saturday's doubleheader.Boston's Daisuke Matsuzaka (6-0) and Milwaukee's Jeff Suppan (2-3), who were scheduled to start Friday night, will pitch in the opener. Saturday's originally scheduled starters, Boston's Tim Wakefield (3-2) and Milwaukee's Dave Bush (1-4), were pushed back to the night game.The postponement was the first of the year for both teams, and came after a delay of 1 hour, 25 minutes.The teams have met in interleague play in only one series with the Red Sox taking two of three games in June 2003.They last faced each other in Boston on Sept. 7, 1997, when Milwaukee was still in the American League. The Red Sox won 11-2 with six homers, four off starter Jeff D'Amico. John Valentin hit two homers and Troy O'Leary had a grand slam.Manny Ramirez's pursuit of his 500th homer -- he needs two -- was put off for a day by the rain. He hit his 498th Monday at Minnesota.Boston right fielder J.D. Drew, who missed one game with a sprained left wrist, and shortstop Julio Lugo, who missed five with a mild concussion, were in Friday's lineup."Lugo was cleared (Thursday) so he's all set to go," Francona said. "J.D. talked to the trainers and said he felt good."Because of television commitments on other games this weekend, there were indications the teams could not reschedule the postponement as part of a doubleheader this weekend. But they found a way to do that."I'd rather do that than come back in August, to be honest with you," Milwaukee manager Ned Yost said. "Instead of coming in here on an off day and playing a game, I'd rather just go ahead and play it."Had Friday's game started after a rain delay, he said, he would have started Mark DiFelice instead of Suppan. DiFelice was called up Thursday from Triple-A Nashville when reliever David Riske went on the disabled list.Yost wasn't worried about putting a strain on his pitching staff with three games in two days."I've got an off day Monday," he said. "I'm OK with that. Three days in a row is what kills me. That's not going to be the case anyway."
Former AL Cy Young award winner Bartolo Colon could make his Red Sox debut on Tuesday night against Kansas City. Boston hasn't announced a starter for that game. Colon, signed to a minor league contract during spring training, allowed one hit in six scoreless innings for Triple-A Pawtucket on Thursday night. ... Milwaukee OF Gabe Kapler returned to Boston where he played from 2003-2006. "I'm probably more appreciative for that relationship with the city of Boston than any other relationship I've developed in baseball," he said. "It's really important to me. Just walking up and down the streets, people say nice things."