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Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Scutaro hurt; Schoeneweis out

By Gordon Edes
ESPNBoston.com

BOSTON -- Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona revealed after Wednesday night's game that shortstop Marco Scutaro has been bothered for some time with a troublesome left (non-throwing) elbow and was administered a cortisone shot before the game Wednesday.

That will sideline Scutaro for a couple of days, and for that reason, the Sox need a temporary shortstop. That led to the team designating left-handed reliever Scott Schoeneweis for assignment in order to call up shortstop Angel Sanchez from Triple-A Pawtucket. Sanchez will start at short Thursday, with Bill Hall, who started at short Wednesday, playing the outfield against Twins left-hander Francisco Liriano.

As for Schoeneweis, the Sox have 10 days to trade, release or place him on waivers for the purpose of outrighting him to the minor leagues. (They only have a week to waive him.)

Scott Schoeneweis
Scott Schoeneweis, who was picked up by the Red Sox in the last week of spring training, allowed left-handers to hit .346 against him.

Schoeneweis got the news on the eve of the one-year anniversary of the death of his wife. Schoeneweis' wife, Gabrielle, was found dead in their Arizona home last May 20 from a drug overdose, a combination of cocaine and the anesthetic lidocaine.

Picked up in the last week of camp, Schoeneweis had his chance but couldn't get the job done, as left-handed hitters were batting .346 (9-for-26) against him. That was the highest average on the staff.

"It's disappointing," Schoeneweis said. "But it's more disappointing for my kids. Tomorrow's a tough day for me and my family anyway. But everything is for a reason, so I'll get to be home for them and for me. There's worse things, obviously. I've been through all that."

Francona described Scutaro's injury as "tennis elbow," common parlance for inflammation of the tendon at the outer part of the elbow, usually caused by repetitive twisting of the wrist or forearm.

"It's actually been bothering him for a while,'' Francona said. "I know it's been bothering him when he's been swinging the bat, and he really wanted to play through it. He's done a great job, he's been out there all the time.

"We talked about it a little bit last week. He said, 'You know what, we've got a day off coming up, I don't need two,' and just the more we talked, the more sense it made to do that.

"He's going to be just fine. I think it's hurt him, but he's been a tough kid. Again, we don't want him to play all year like this. It's been affecting things like working out. He can't maintain some of his strength. Just nagging. We just don't want it to turn into something serious.''

General manager Theo Epstein said the injury also has caused Scutaro some problems in closing his glove. "The elbow, the same muscles involved,'' Epstein said.

Scutaro had appeared in each of the team's first 40 games and started all but one until Wednesday night, the day after he made two damaging errors against the New York Yankees.

Scutaro's second-inning error, in which he botched a routine double-play ball, led to two unearned runs. He then imperiled the Sox in the ninth by misplaying a grounder for another error, his sixth of the season, that led to another unearned run before the Sox and Jonathan Papelbon held on for a 7-6 win.

Scutaro, who started the season batting ninth but took over the leadoff spot after Jacoby Ellsbury sustained a hairline fracture of four ribs, leads the majors in plate appearances with 187 and is batting .267/.342/.359. With 26 runs, he is on pace to duplicate the 100-run season he had as the Toronto Blue Jays' leadoff man last season, but in 17 games this month he has not knocked in a run. He has just seven RBIs overall.

Scutaro made just 10 errors in 144 games last season.

His error in the ninth Tuesday conjured visions of another blown ninth-inning lead (as happened to the Sox on Monday), and not only among the fans watching at home.

"Yeah, here we go,'' Scutaro said Tuesday night, recalling what he was thinking at the time. "It was one of those games. Kind of crazy. Everything I hit, they made an error, and everything they hit to me I made an error. Crazy.''

Scutaro reached on Alex Rodriguez's error that started Boston's game-tying, four-run rally in the eighth, then in the ninth hit a fly ball that Yankees right fielder Marcus Thames dropped while attempting a basket catch, leading to Jeremy Hermida's go-ahead, two-run double.

Yes, Scutaro said, he was relieved when Papelbon left the tying and winning runs on base to preserve Tuesday night's win.

"Oh, definitely,'' he said. "Especially after the night he had [Monday] night, I didn't want to put him in that situation. But whatever is going to happen, happens. You don't want to make an error like that. It was tough. But you've just got to turn the page.''

Sanchez, 26, is a former Royals' draft pick -- selected by Epstein assistant Allard Baird in the 11th round in 2001 when he was Kansas City GM -- who is in his ninth pro season. The Sox signed him as a minor league free agent last December, and he was batting .313 with no homers and nine RBIs with Pawtucket.

Epstein said no consideration was given to calling up shortstop Jose Iglesias from Double-A Portland.

"No, not at this time,'' Epstein said. "He's still developing. Angel's here for exactly that reason, to provide major league depth.''

Once Scutaro is available to play, which should be by Friday in Philadelphia, expect the Sox to add another reliever, most likely by recalling Scott Atchison for a second go-round with the club.

Atchison, who was 0-1 with a 6.10 ERA in seven appearances for the Sox after breaking camp with the club, has pitched very well since being sent down to the PawSox on April 26.

He has pitched seven scoreless innings in his last six outings, and overall has held hitters to a .162 average (6-for-37), with no home runs. With Joe Nelson, who was called up earlier Wednesday when Josh Beckett was placed on the 15-day DL and was 2-1 with a 1.13 ERA in his last dozen outings with the PawSox, Francona will have two new options to try to get left-handers out in addition to Hideki Okajima.

Gordon Edes is ESPNBoston.com's Red Sox reporter. He covered the Red Sox for 12 years and has reported on baseball for 25 years. Ask a question for his next mailbag here.