Olerud out by a foot at first, but Giambi won't return

Torre to stick with Clark

catchers mask their fatigue

ALCS notebook

October 20, 2004|By Joe Christensen | Joe Christensen,SUN STAFF

NEW YORK - John Olerud underwent a magnetic resonance imaging exam on his left foot yesterday, and New York Yankees manager Joe Torre said the first baseman injured in Game 3 wouldn't be available for the rest of the American League Championship Series, and that his availability for the World Series was in doubt.

"We'll have to wait for the results (of the MRI)," Torre said.

Torre has said he will not put Jason Giambi on the playoff roster, even with Olerud injured. Giambi went 4-for-33 after returning from a long absence with a benign tumor, and he's still not strong enough to play regularly.

So the Yankees will stick with Tony Clark at first base for now.

A catching odyssey

Boston Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek and Yankees catcher Jorge Posada each played every inning of the back-to-back marathons in Boston on Sunday and Monday, giving them 26 innings behind the plate in a span of 27 hours.

But neither gave even a passing thought to sitting out Game 6 last night.

"When the game starts, adrenaline takes over," Posada said. "Waking up today, it's tough, but I think everybody's on the same page."

Varitek's task was especially hard Monday night, when the Red Sox turned to knuckleballer Tim Wakefield. In the 13th inning, Varitek allowed three passed balls, matching a postseason record.

With only two catchers on the roster, Boston manager Terry Francona couldn't afford to turn the game over to Wakefield's personal catcher, Doug Mirabelli.

"I know it was a battle (for Varitek)," Francona said. "But all of a sudden, you get a foul tip, and we're bringing in Pokey (Reese) for Mirabelli."

Reese, a former Gold Glove winner at second base, is the team's emergency catcher.

A hit on TV

The Red Sox's 5-4, 14-inning victory in Game 5 was the high-est-rated weekday League Championship Series day game in 18 years.

The 5-hour, 49-minute game had an 11.3 rating and 19 share on Fox, Nielsen Media Research said, up 59 percent for the 7.1/16 for Game 5 of last year's AL series between the same teams.

The last weekday LCS day game with a rating that high was the New York Mets' 16-inning Game 6 clincher over the Houston Astros in the 1986 NLCS (17.0/39).

Memories of 1979

When Boston was trailing 3-0 in this series, Red Sox executive vice president of public affairs Charles Steinberg had a historical reason to stay optimistic. He was working for the Orioles, when they blew a 3-1 lead and lost the 1979 World Series to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

But what struck Steinberg about Games 4 and 5 at Fenway Park was the way the crowd seemed to help lift the Red Sox to comeback victories.

"It reminds me of the birth of Orioles magic, in June 1979," Steinberg said. "At Memorial Stadium, we had 53,000 on their feet believing they could affect the outcome."

Around the horn

The Yankees' Mike Mussina has pitched at least six innings in each of his past five postseason starts, allowing four or fewer runs each time. For his career, he is 6-6 with a 3.08 ERA in 19 career postseason appearances. ... Since the time Torre took over as manager in 1996 through last year's World Series, the Yankees' bullpen had four blown saves. Entering last night, the Yankees had blown three save chances this postseason.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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