"First baseman Sean Casey...has been battling a stiff neck."
"J.D. Drew (back)...his sixth straight game on the bench."
"David Aardsma and Julio Lugo...MRIs today in Boston."
"Mike Lowell (oblique) is scheduled to speak with medical director Dr. Thomas Gill today to get approval to head to New York."
Walking wounded. Injured. Crap Festival. This list didn't even include Josh Beckett, whose return is very much up in the air. There are some who might say that this opens the door for a Yankee/Red Sox-free playoff picture. Our rotation is decent enough for now (Wake, Daisuke, Lester, Byrd), but we've been severely weakened in other areas by this recent ravage of injuries.
We're operating with two players on the roster (Casey and Drew) who can't play. This means that Coco, Bay, and Ells need to basically be playing every inning in the outfield. Aside from Bay, we're pretty punchless out there. The infield is similarly stretched. Hopefully DP, Youks, and Lowrie aren't in need of rest; we need all 3 to be in the lineup somewhere everyday in order to have a chance at scoring enough runs.
There's been talk of adding other players over the waiver wire: Mark Kotsay may be available from the Braves. His OPS+ for the season is 101 and he still provides good defense. His numbers aren't eye-popping, but seeing as he'd only need to provide an offensive improvement over Coco or Ells...
The Sox also signed Jason Lane to a MiL contract. He hit some HRs for the Astros in 2005-2006, but has shown weak on-base skills in the ML, though his career OBP in the minors is .362. I recall him being a decent OF, and the Sox have been using him in RF at Pawtucket. He might be more of an option as a 5th OF when rosters expand, rather than as a temporary replacement for Drew.
Internally, Jonathan Van Every has had a good season for the Pawsox, and might deserve a chance to try hitting ML pitching for longer than one game. Chris Carter remains on the DL, and could require moving Bay to RF? in order to minimize Carter's weaknesses defensively anyway. ...Kevin Millar has cleared waivers. 100 OPS+ this season, though he'd really only be an option to replace Casey if this neck issue is serious. He's played 15 innings in the OF since 2005. If the neck problem is serious, would anyone here be interested?
Jim Molony (of MLB.com) via MLBTR, has reported that the Sox inquired about Darin Erstad. I hope to heck that's not true, even though that lead "fizzled", which would be an accurate description of what Erstad's career has done since 2000. He also apparently believes that we might want Kevin Millwood (1.69 WHIP) or Vicente Padilla (1.48 WHIP). On behalf of all Sox fans, I'd like to throw out a "no thanks" to both of them. Let Pauley start. Give Hansack or Zink another shot. Anything.
Aardsma's injury along with MDC's continuing Jekyll and Hyde act makes me wonder if the Sox might reconsider bringing along Daniel Bard as slowly as they have. While I feel like Chris Smith and Hunter Jones could both be helpful bullpen pieces, Bard is our only semi-advanced prospect who could make an impact in late-inning and high-leverage situations.
One position I feel confident in for now and in the future is SS. Jed has been impressive to say the least, and there was another column featured on MLBTR which suggested that the Sox could move Lugo this winter and hand Jed the job on a permanent basis. I think we've all seen the same thing out of Lowrie: Solid hitter with a good approach, line-drive power, good patience, and a good enough glove with an (in my opinion) average arm. Lugo may have better defensive tools, but Lowrie has thusfar proven to be much steadier. Expect more about Jed and some speculation of destinations for Julio Lugo sometime tomorrow.
It's kind of a tough time to be a Sox fan. To make the playoffs, it's as though we're in the driver's seat (1 game ahead of the Twins), but our car has a flat tire. What a horrible metaphor. At any rate, there's a lot of pressure on DP, Youks, Papi, Lowrie, Paps, Wake, and Lester to keep the curtain up until we get some of these guys back in action or find pseudo-acceptable replacements. We're coming up on a fairly tough stretch (3 @ MFYs, who will want to make a statement in their last games at the Toilet vs. us; 3 vs. CWS, who have proven a lot stronger all season than I thought they'd be, and are in good shape for winning the Central or if they slip, sneaking off with the Wild Card;). Suddenly it feels vital to win both series, and hopefully take 5 of 6.