BOSTON -- Dave Roberts was back in Boston on Monday, cancer-free, but once again reminded that his signature moment in a Red Sox uniform came almost seven years ago.
"God, I'm old," said Roberts, 39, and now the first-base coach for the Padres.
Again being reminded of his claim to fame during the 2004 playoffs that propelled the Red Sox to their first World Series championship in 86 years, Roberts said he loves coming back to Boston.
"From playing the big leagues and winning the World Series here, and then you get diagnosed with cancer, it's kind of a big blow to you and your family," said Roberts, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma last March. "But finishing treatment, getting clear scans today actually at Dana-Farber [Cancer Institute], that was a big day for me. I'm pretty happy to be here, and just taking every day."
While Roberts spent all of 45 games in a Boston uniform, his steal of second base in the ninth inning of Game 4 of the American League Championship Series kept the Red Sox from being swept by the Yankees, and perhaps manager Terry Francona from losing his job.
"If it wasn't for Dave, you'd be talking to somebody else," Francona said before Monday's game.
"You know what? We had a special group," Roberts said. "People always talk about the '04 team and what it meant to the people in New England and Boston. The group, we're still tight, all of us are still tight. We still reminisce about '04 and the group we had."
-- Jason Mastrodonato
McLeod's thumbprints on Boston's lineup
BOSTON -- He's a San Diego guy through and through, but for six years, Padres assistant general manager Jason McLeod left his beloved West Coast, finding success working for the Red Sox, where he presided over several bountiful Drafts as their director of amateur scouting.
McLeod returned to Fenway Park on Monday, as San Diego opened a three-game series. McLeod, in his second season as assistant general manager of the Padres, couldn't keep his eyes from the cage during Boston's batting practice.
Nor could he stop smiling.
"It's been a lot of fun. ... I was just watching [Red Sox outfielder] Josh Reddick hit in the cage," McLeod said. "I'm so happy to see that they made it. ... I spent six years here and I'm very grateful."
The feeling is no doubt mutual, as during his time running the Red Sox's drafts, McLeod's department drafted eight players on Boston's current roster, including outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury and second baseman Dustin Pedroia.
- 131 wins
- 121 wins
"One of my best memories is a photo from on the field in Denver after winning the 2007 World Series in Colorado, with Dustin and Jacoby," McLeod said, beaming.
The 2005 Draft was an especially successful one for the Red Sox, who selected and signed Ellsbury (23rd overall pick), pitcher Craig Hansen (No. 26), pitcher Clay Buchholz (42), second baseman Jed Lowrie (45) and pitcher Michael Bowden (47).
All five have reached the Major Leagues, and Ellsbury and Pedroia were hitting at the top of the Red Sox's order Monday.
"We went 5-for-5 ... [and] they all made it," McLeod said. "That '05 Draft in itself was just so talent-laden throughout. It's fun to look back at that. It was pretty unique."
McLeod and current Padres director of scouting Jaron Madison recently completed their second Draft with the club. McLeod said he's brought some of the same methods that he used in Boston back to San Diego.
The Padres had five of the top 58 Draft picks in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, and McLeod and the organization would like nothing more than to see a Draft on-par with the one that the Red Sox had in 2005.
"It's still a work in progress, but a year and a half into it ... we feel really good about it," McLeod said. "We're really excited about how our Draft went this year."
Prior to first pitch, Bell gets acclimated to Fenway
BOSTON -- Three hours before first pitch Monday, Padres closer Heath Bell jogged out to the mound at Fenway Park and went through his paces as if he was about to deliver a pitch.
Someone in the press box joked that it might be the only time Bell, a two-time All-Star, gets to visit the mound during this three-game series against the Red Sox.
Lately, it's been awfully difficult for Bell to make an appearance on any mound.
Going into Monday's game, Bell had appeared once in the Padres' previous six games -- and that appearance, a save on June 13 in Colorado, came on the night San Diego last won a game.
"I want to get in there, but I also realize that the season can be a roller coaster," said Bell, who has 18 saves this season. "There's going to be some weeks where I'm going to pitch a lot and other times when I don't pitch that much."
As for going through a faux windup and delivery on the mound Monday?
"Every new stadium I go to, I go out to the mound and look around and try to familiarize myself with everything," said Bell, who actually made a previous appearance at Fenway Park on June 27, 2006, with the Mets.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. Jason Mastrodonato is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.