Notes: Stitches sideline Damon
Center fielder, Red Sox hope for quick recovery
TORONTO -- As much as Johnny Damon prides himself in playing through injuries, there simply wasn't enough recovery time for the center fielder to be able to give it a go in Saturday afternoon's contest against the Blue Jays. Late Friday night, Damon had six stitches inserted just below his left elbow.
The day off was necessary because of a painful run-in with the new color Plexiglas scoreboard in left-center field at Rogers Centre. On a double by Eric Hinske in the second inning, Damon collided in the area where the glass is divided, as there were uncovered screws and/or bolts in that area.
Damon toughed it out and stayed in the game until the bottom of the ninth inning, at which point he exited so he could get the suture treatment.
"Just the chance of popping the stitches out with every throw, with every swing. Yeah, the doctor told me to take care of it now, [otherwise] it's something that could bother me all year," Damon said. "[Saturday], I'm definitely out, [Sunday] I'll have to see. Hopefully I'm a quick healer like I have been in the past."
At the urging of both the Red Sox and Blue Jays, stadium workers made some alterations to the scoreboard in advance of Saturday's game to make it safer.
"Dave Wallace and Chris Correnti told me they have people working on it, trying to smooth the edges of the Plexiglas and hopefully round off the heads of the bolts out there," said bench coach Brad Mills, who is serving as acting manager this weekend. "We're sorry someone had to get hurt, but at least they made the step. Anytime you have to lose a player for a day or two for something like that, that's not good."
Initial signs were that Damon was making a good recovery from the injury.
"It was good when he came in this morning," Mills said. "There was no infection and it did not swell up. That was a good sign. We hope one day is enough. We're going to have to wait and see."
With Damon out of the lineup, second baseman Mark Bellhorn led off. Jay Payton took Damon's spot in center and batted seventh.
Day off for Renteria: After having a tough time in his first four games with the Red Sox (2-for-17), shortstop Edgar Renteria was given a day off on Saturday. Ramon Vazquez took his spot in the lineup and batted ninth. The decision was made jointly by Mills and manager Terry Francona, who is resting at his home in Boston after being released from the hospital on Friday.
"I was talking with Tito and he mentioned it might be a good day," said Mills. "There's a couple of things we can get accomplished here: get Ramon in a ballgame -- he hasn't been in a ballgame yet; [and] let Edgar take a step back against a pitcher like [Roy] Halladay as well. I think there's a couple of things that can be accomplished, and now is a great time to do it."
Mills acknowledged that Renteria was probably putting too much pressure on himself to get off to a good start with his new team.
"We talked about it last night -- he might be pressing a little bit or trying to do things, thinking about a little bit too much," Mills said.
Miller moves up the chain: Red Sox right-hander Wade Miller has progressed to the point of his rehab where he can pitch at a higher level than extended Spring Training conditions. His next outing will be Wednesday for Class A Greenville in a game that will be played at Savannah, Ga.
There was some thought given to Miller pitching at Double-A Portland, but the Sox opted for a warmer climate.
Youkilis likely for Sunday: Though he wasn't going to make a final determination until after Saturday's game, Mills was leaning toward getting Bill Mueller a day off on Sunday and giving Kevin Youkilis his first start of the season.
On deck: Matt Clement makes his second start in a Boston uniform in Sunday's series finale against the Blue Jays. Left-hander Ted Lilly, who pitched arguably the best game of his career against the Sox last August, goes for Toronto.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.