Red Sox's Damon `can't remember anything' of crash

Collision to sideline him at least 2 games

Boston removes Kim from roster

ALCS notebook

Baseball Playoffs

October 09, 2003|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

NEW YORK - Boston Red Sox manager Grady Little held a roster spot for injured center fielder Johnny Damon yesterday, making his leadoff hitter available to play in the American League Championship Series.

Damon suffered a grade 2 concussion after colliding with Damian Jackson in the concluding Game 5 of the Division Series. They hit head-on, knocking both players to the ground, and Damon left in an ambulance.

"I'm actually feeling OK," Damon said. "I was in really bad shape. I can't remember anything. I'm starting to recollect the fly ball coming down and getting in position to catch it and, poof, not remembering anything.

"I do remember waving my hands out to the crowd, but at that moment I actually thought I was walking off the field and saying bye to the fans ... I didn't realize I was on a stretcher.

"I got a whole lot of sleep last night, 14 hours, and then caught the bus here to the stadium. Hopefully I'll get another good night's rest and be ready to partake in some drills tomorrow."

Damon met with a neurologist in Boston on Tuesday night and the test results came back negative. He rejoined the team yesterday and might be ready to move into the lineup this weekend when the series shifts to Fenway Park.

"He's still groggy," Little said. "There's no way he'll see any action in these first two games in New York."

Gabe Kapler, claimed off waivers in late June from the Colorado Rockies, started in center last night, and Todd Walker batted first in the order.

While many of his teammates were slumping in the Division Series, Damon hit .316 with two doubles, one homer and two stolen bases.

"It'll be different without him in there," said New York left-hander Andy Pettitte, who starts Game 2 tonight. "That's a little bit of a break for us."

Setting the rosters

Even with Damon staying on the roster, both managers made changes for the series.

Little removed injured reliever Byung-Hyun Kim and switch-hitting outfielder Adrian Brown, replacing them with pitchers Jeff Suppan and Todd Jones.

Suppan was 3-4 with a 5.57 ERA in 11 appearances, including 10 starts, after being acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates at the non-waiver deadline. He lost at Yankee Stadium on Sept. 7 despite holding New York to two runs and three hits.

Though slated to work in long relief, Suppan could replace John Burkett to start Game 4.

Kim, who saved 16 games for Boston during the regular season, was bothered by shoulder stiffness in the Division Series. Brought into Game 1 to protect a 4-3 lead in the ninth inning, Kim issued a walk and hit a batter before Little replaced him. The tying run scored, and Boston lost in 12 innings.

The Red Sox acquired Kim from the Arizona Diamondbacks for third baseman Shea Hillenbrand, a career .313 hitter against the Yankees. Hillenbrand probably would have been more useful than Kim, who blew consecutive save chances at Yankee Stadium during the 2001 World Series.

"We can't go into a series like this with a guy who's not 100 percent," Little said.

Lowe sees single role

Derek Lowe, who will start Game 2 for the Red Sox tonight, doesn't expect to be used in relief during the ALCS after twice pitching out of the bullpen during the Division Series.

"I think my relief days are over," Lowe said.

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