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BOSTON -- Perhaps if the Red Sox's catching crisis had occurred just days earlier, Bengie Molina would have been sought out by Boston before the Texas Rangers grabbed him.
On June 30, the night Tampa Bay's Carl Crawford fouled a ball that struck Jason Varitek and fractured his right foot -- putting a second Sox catcher on the DL -- the Rangers closed a deal with the San Francisco Giants for Molina, a decorated veteran made available because the Giants were ready to promote phenom Buster Posey.
|Bengie Molina became the fifth Ranger ever to hit the cycle when he did it Friday at Fenway.|
The Molina deal, in fact, was announced on July 1, the same day that the Sox acquired catcher Kevin Cash, who had been sent to the minors by the Houston Astros after being designated for assignment and clearing waivers. If Molina had still been available, you have to believe the Sox would have at least floated his name.
Cash, who played briefly for the Sox in 2007 and was a backup in 2008, has played 10 games since being pressed into service. After striking out twice and rolling out in Friday night's 8-4 loss to the Texas Rangers, he is batting .111 (3-for-27) in this go-round with the Sox. He does not have an extra-base hit, nor does he have an RBI. Neither does Gustavo Molina in his seven at-bats as Cash's backup.
The Sox did not acquire Cash to hit, but an occasional contribution would be appreciated.
Bengie Molina, meanwhile, hit a grand slam Friday night as part of one of the most wildly implausible cycles in baseball history. The self-proclaimed slowest man in baseball added a triple in his final at-bat when center-fielder Eric Patterson dropped his drive into the center-field triangle."It makes you happy for a guy that's probably the slowest guy in the world,'' Molina said of himself, "[a guy] who has been criticized for his speed his whole career.'' How slow is Molina? Earlier this season, while still with the Giants, a game highlight on ESPN's "SportsCenter" used the theme song for "Chariots of Fire" as background music to video of Molina attempting -- and failing -- to score on an overthrow. Molina took offense, writing on his blog that ESPN had attempted to "humiliate" him. Molina also hit a home run in Thursday night's 7-2 Rangers win, his first extra-base hit in eight games with the Rangers. "The last two nights,'' Sox manager Terry Francona said, "every mistake we make he hits. He's whacking the ball all over the place. He's killing us.'' The biggest Sox wounds were self-inflicted, on a night they fell 6½ games behind the Yankees, the furthest they have trailed in the AL East since May 29.
|Rookie pitcher Felix Doubront's throwing errors proved costly for the Red Sox, who couldn't get control against Texas on Friday night.|