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He allows that it's a problem

He allows that it's a problem


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - While the six stolen bases by Carl Crawford yesterday - tying a modern major league record - didn't help Boston's record on steals, it was just one very bad day in what has been a season of too much running. Jason Varitek leads the majors with 26 stolen bases allowed, six more than San Diego's Nick Hundley.

Overall, including George Kottaras's stats, the Sox have allowed 34 of 42 steals. Varitek has caught just seven runners; Kottaras one.

When Varitek was asked his thoughts on whether the Sox were doing a good job catching thieves, he said, ``I don't really want to say.''

An 81 percent success rate on swipes will only increase attempts. While teams always have run against Tim Wakefield, they are also stealing profusely against Varitek and the rest of the starters, including Brad Penny yesterday.

``I can't do more than what I can do,'' Varitek said. ``Early I made a bad throw, but later I made some decent throws. It's a work in progress with our pitchers. I, obviously, can't try to do too much. That's kind of what my job entails. It's not fun to sit there and watch people constantly go and be safe. Hopefully we'll continue to do things, and hopefully we'll get our fair share.''

Crawford, who took the major league lead in steals from Jacoby Ellsbury yesterday with 17, is an exceptional base stealer, and has not been caught in his last 19 attempts.

``Crawford, the best way is to keep him off base,'' manager Terry Francona said. ``Two of the throws, we had Penny 1.28 [to home plate, and Jason at 1.9 [to second]. We can't go faster than that. He outran it. Actually he had two really good throws. And the steals of third we didn't defend. There's two outs. In certain situations we didn't cover, we weren't throwing. It makes a day that [Crawford] had, a spectacular day, look even worse on our end.

``There's just times we elect not to defend a stolen base with two outs at third. I don't think it puts us in a better place to stop them from scoring. But at the moment to throw him out you've about got to be perfect.''

In addition to the six by Crawford, Jason Bartlett and Michel Hernandez each had one steal.

``I made a real bad throw on the first one, obviously,'' Varitek said about a first-inning steal by Crawford, his throw going into center field after the left fielder got a ``terrible'' jump. ``I probably had a chance right there. Some of the other ones I made good throws; some of the other ones I didn't get the ball out. It was a combination of both, and I'll take the responsibility.''

Kotsay is set back

Mark Kotsay, who was in his second rehab game with the PawSox yesterday, suffered a setback as he attempts to return from January back surgery. But this time it was his calf. The first baseman/outfielder aggravated a calf strain that first occurred in extended spring training in Fort Myers, Fla. The injury happened when Kotsay was running to first base in the third inning. He was removed in the fourth inning. Kotsay had been playing center field, his first defensive action since going on his rehab stint. Yesterday morning, Francona had estimated Kotsay might need 20-25 at-bats before he would be ready to return to the Red Sox . But that figure might be in jeopardy based on this setback. General manager Theo Epstein said Kotsay would be re-evaluated today. Kotsay was 0 for 2 before coming out of the game . . . Jason Bay left Saturday night's game with a contusion on his left ankle. But it wasn't really a contusion. While Bay thought at the time he injured himself when he fouled a ball off his ankle in his second at-bat, which later caused him discomfort in the outfield, he later realized that things with the foot didn't add up. So he went to the tape. When he came in yesterday morning, Bay sat down with trainer Paul Lessard to look at video of the at-bat. The pair discovered that when Bay fouled the ball off his foot, he also rolled his ankle, making it more of a sprain than a contusion. Bay was back in the lineup yesterday and joked before the game, ``We'll live.''

End of the line

After 19 consecutive outings without allowing an earned run, Manny Delcarmen allowed his first of the season yesterday. It was his first since Sept. 7, and brought his ERA to 0.63 in 14 1/3 innings. Delcarmen entered the game to begin the seventh inning. He got B.J. Upton to pop to second, then allowed singles to Crawford and Evan Longoria. The real problem came when Delcarmen hit Carlos Pena and Pat Burrell with pitches, the latter forcing in Crawford. ``Not the best way to give up my first run, but I just lost the feel that I had today,'' said Delcarmen. ``As soon as I got on, I felt like I couldn't get a good grip on the mound. I didn't have it today.'' Francona added: ``He throws a breaking ball to the lefty and a fastball to the righty. He lost both sides of the plate on two pitches. He's been really good. Manny has had moments where he hasn't thrown a whole lot of strikes, but with his stuff he can climb back into a count.'' . . . The Sox released a statement about chief operating officer Mike Dee leaving for the Dolphins. ``The departure of Mike Dee marks a great loss for the Boston Red Sox ,'' principal owner John Henry said. ``His rare combination of imagination and ingenuity has helped this franchise reach historic milestones on and off the field.'' Dee added, ``I'd like to thank John Henry, Tom Werner, Larry Lucchino, and all of the great men and women who make the Red Sox the best organization in all of Major League Baseball for the last seven wonderful years. I will always remain a Red Sox fan.''

A laughing matter

When Francona went out to give Dustin Pedroia a time out in the fourth inning of Saturday night's game, the manager ended up laughing. Not at the injury, in which the ball hit Pedroia in a sensitive area. ``Actually I asked him, because he was turning a color, I said, `Are you going to throw up?' Because I told him if you throw up I've got to get out of here because it will be a chain reaction. That's all anybody needs to see.'' Pedroia did not get sick on the field, and got up after a short period . . . The Sox seemed eager to get a look at the new Yankee Stadium, where the team plays tonight, weather permitting. Pedroia said he heard it was like a resort. Francona said, when the home clubhouse at the Stadium was described to him, ``I guess you've got $1.3 billion, you've got to spend it somewhere. There's something to be said for our clubhouse. I haven't seen it, but I'm OK with where we're at.'' There was some reminiscing about the old stadium as well. ``I loved the games there,'' Francona said. ``They were great. The atmosphere, I mean knowing when you went there the game meant something. That's how you felt. I'm sure it's the same way now. It was fun. I'm looking forward to the new one, but I enjoyed the old one.'' . . . On the sacrifice bunt by Hernandez in the eighth inning that sent Bartlett to second, there was some confusion. Kevin Youkilis fielded the ball right on the line, kicking up some chalk. ``The first base umpire called it foul, that's not his call,'' Francona said. ``He [screwed] up. I didn't know what to do.'' . . . Ramon Ramirez allowed an inherited runner to score in the eighth, the first time that has occurred in his tenure with the Sox .

Amalie Benjamin can be reached at abenjamin

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: May 4, 2009

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