Kerrigan out with Red Sox; Escobar out for season

Posted: Wednesday, March 06, 2002

The Boston Red Sox took another step in their transformation under new ownership, firing manager Joe Kerrigan on Tuesday and replacing him with interim manager Mike Cubbage.

The move came six days after John Henry's group bought the team, and five days after general manager Dan Duquette was dismissed in favor of interim GM Mike Port.

''This kind of decision is always difficult to make,'' Port said. ''We have the utmost respect for Joe, and admire his work ethic and his achievements as a pitching coach. ... We firmly believe that this action is in the long-term best interest of this franchise.''

Duquette promoted Kerrigan late last season after he fired Jimy Williams on Aug. 16.

Earlier Tuesday, the Roberto Alomar trade got worse for the Cleveland Indians. Alex Escobar is out for the season.

Escobar, the young outfielder the Indians got as the centerpiece of the deal that sent the All-Star second baseman to the New York Mets, will be lost because of a major knee injury.

The 23-year-old prospect will undergo reconstructive surgery after completely tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

''This is the worst-case scenario,'' general manager Mark Shapiro said Tuesday. ''We know injuries are part of the game. It is frustrating and disappointing, but we expect him back playing at 100 percent next year.''

Escobar was injured Monday while running into the center-field wall at Bradenton, Fla. An MRI exam showed Escobar tore his ligament and sustained a second-degree sprain of his medial collateral ligament.

Coincidentally, the Indians announced Tuesday that Escobar signed a contract for the 2002 season.

The Indians weren't the only team dealing with an injury to a young player. St. Louis' Rick Ankiel will miss his next scheduled start because of pain in his left elbow.

The 22-year-old left-hander, who has struggled with his control since the 2000 playoffs, allowed six runs in two innings Sunday in his first start of the spring. On Monday, he reported feeling pain.

''The doctors don't think it's anything serious,'' Duncan said. ''I didn't know anything about it until the next day.''

Instead of starting Friday against the Minnesota Twins, Ankiel, will throw in the bullpen, if the elbow allows.

Left field might be a bigger issue for the Cardinals. Eli Marrero became the fifth starter at the position in six games.

Japanese import So Taguchi was the opening-day spring starter in left, and he's the only player with two starts at that position. The Cardinals are anxious to see whether Taguchi, who's played well in the field but is 0-for-12 at the plate, is worth the three-year, $3 million contract they gave him.

New York Yankees infielders Derek Jeter and Jason Giambi felt better on Tuesday but remained out of the lineup.

Jeter is expected to miss at least four more games with a strained neck muscle. Giambi's left leg stiffened Monday, and he hopes to return Thursday.

''It kept tightening up because it was so cold,'' said Giambi, who took batting practice indoors Tuesday. ''Knowing how to manage it is a big plus. If this was the season, I'd be out there.''

Giants second baseman Jeff Kent returned to the San Francisco area for additional tests on the broken bone in his left wrist, which revealed minor ligament damage.

One person who is back is Colorado manager Buddy Bell, who returned to the Rockies on Tuesday, five days after leaving spring training for follow-up tests on the back surgery he had Dec. 11.

Red Sox 4, Braves 2

At Fort Myers, Fla., Pedro Martinez pitched two shutout innings for Boston.

Martinez faced seven batters, throwing strikes on the first pitch to six. Of his 29 pitches, 21 were fastballs, seven were changeups and one was a curve. He threw 21 strikes and just eight balls.

Expos 1, Marlins 1, 10 innings

At Jupiter, Fla., Florida catcher Charles Johnson jammed his left thumb on a tag play.

''I don't know how serious it is, but I know it can hurt like heck,'' manager Jeff Torborg said.

Montreal starter Carl Pavano extended his shutout streak to five innings.

Blue Jays 5, Pirates 4, 10 innings

At Dunedin, Fla., Tom Wilson, trying to make Toronto's roster as a backup catcher, squeezed home the winning run.

Twins 4, Orioles 2

At Fort Myers, Fla., Joe Mays pitched three scoreless innings for Minnesota. Baltimore's Brook Fordyce hit a two-run homer in the fifth.

Indians 4, Astros 0

At Winter Haven, Fla., Danys Baez allowed one hit in three innings for Cleveland. Rookie second baseman Keith Ginter had two of the Astros' five hits.

Phillies 3, Reds 1

The Reds have committed 17 miscues in seven spring games, five of them in a loss to the host Phillies. All of Philadelphia's runs were unearned.

Rangers (ss) 8, Yankees (ss) 5

At Tampa, Fla., Mike Mussina allowed two runs and six hits over two innings, but New York lost to Texas. Texas starter Doug Davis allowed three hits in three scoreless innings.

Rangers (ss) 2, Devil Rays 0

At Port Charlotte, Fla., Texas starter Steve Woodard and five relievers combined on a four-hitter.

Cardinals 4, Dodgers 4, 10 innings

At Vero Beach, Fla., Luke Allen singled in the tying run with two outs in the eighth inning, rallying Los Angeles. Omar Daal, trying to become the Dodgers' fifth starter, allowed two first-inning homers and six hits in three innings.

Mets 4, Royals 0

At Port St. Lucie, Fla., Jeff D'Amico, Satoru Komiyama, Bruce Chen and David Weathers combined for a one-hitter against Kansas City.

Athletics 10, Padres 0

At Peoria, Ariz., Mark Ellis hit a three-run homer and tripled in another run to lead Oakland. Barry Zito pitched three shutout innings for the Athletics.

Rockies 4, Diamondbacks 3

At Tucson, Ariz., Tony Womack went 3-for-3 and scored twice in Arizona's loss. Todd Helton hit a two-run homer for the Rockies.

White Sox (ss) 20, Cubs 6

At Mesa, Ariz., Mario Valenzuela went 3-for-3 with a home run and four RBIs for the White Sox, who scored 10 runs and had 12 hits in the fifth.

Jason Bere allowed three hits and two runs in three innings for the Cubs, and reliever Jeff Fassero gave up six runs in two-thirds of an inning.

Cubs closer Tom Gordon left in the fourth because of cramps in his right triceps area.

Angels 6, Giants 3

At Tempe, Ariz., Aaron Sele allowed four hits and two earned runs in his first spring start for Anaheim.

Darin Erstad hit an inside-the-park homer in the first inning off Giants starter Russ Ortiz, who allowed two earned runs in three innings.

Mariners 6, Brewers 4

At Phoenix, Ichiro Suzuki singled twice and drove in three runs for Seattle.

Ryan Thompson, fighting for a job as the fifth Milwaukee outfielder, homered and doubled.

Tigers 5, Yankees (ss) 3

At Lakeland, Fla., Dmitri Young had an RBI single and a double for Detroit. He is 8-for-13 with three doubles, two homers and six RBIs in five spring games.

New York's Sterling Hitchcock allowed four runs in the first inning on three singles and three walks.

Diamondbacks (ss) 16, White Sox (ss) 5

At Tucson, Ariz., Arizona leadoff hitter Junior Spivey reached base five straight times. Spivey, hitting .364 this spring, had a double, three walks and was hit by a pitch. He also stole a base, and scored twice in Arizona's nine-run seventh.



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