Knuckling Under

The Red Sox fell into second place yesterday as Tim Wakefield gave up five early runs and the Mariners bullpen stalled the Red Sox in the 5-4 Sox loss. Nick Cafardo, Jeff Horrigan, and Steven Krasner have game stories.

Nick Cafardo tells us in his notebook that Nomar Garciaparra will begin his rehab assignment for the PawSox tonight in Louisville. He also reports on Scott Williamson, who is getting ready for his return and top prospect Hanley Ramirez, who will be out for a month with a wrist injury. Jeff Horrigan’s notebook also focuses on Sox injuries as Trot Nixon looks to his next assignment and Williamson looks forward to joining the team on the upcoming road trip.

Bill Reynolds looks at the career of former Globe columnist Leigh Montville and his new book, Ted Williams: The Biography of an American Hero. Bob Hohler has a nice article on Terry Francona’s success in getting comfortable as the manager of the Red Sox. Dan Shaughnessy has a very cynical comparison of Manny Ramirez and Joe DiMaggio. You may want to compare that to Michael Silverman, who has a more conventional look at the red hot Red Sox slugger. Tony Massarotti compares the Red Sox to the Angels and has a look at the struggles of Shawn Green, Baltimore pitching, and the Cleveland bullpen. Gordon Edes looks at the Sox bullpen, the baseball draft, and some bad blood between the Reds and Marlins.

Michael Felger tells us that the Patriots will get Adam Vinatieri some help as he got worn down last season. Felger also explains that Tom Brady has shown no bad effects from his shoulder procedure he had this offseason. Mike Reiss relates that most NFL players need to get ready for life after football. Andre Tippett and J’Rod Cherry are two local players that have. I would be remiss if I did not comment on the Pat Kirwan article that Rich linked to yesterday. Kirwan speculated that the Patriots might have to put the franchise tag on Tom Brady in 2006. Kirwan is uninformed here. Brady is signed through 2006 and it is a bit early to be concerned right now about a free agent year that is four years away. That doesn’t stop Michael Smith though. Smith writes today about Richard Seymour’s contract status even though Seymour is also locked up through 2006. Smith also has a look at a heroic rescue attempt by former Patriot Cam Cleeland. In addition, he spoke to Corey Dillon who likes the fact that the Pats offseason training regiment is more demanding than anything he has seen before.

Charlie Pierce has a feature on an optimistic Doc Rivers. As the NBA draft approaches, Steve Bulpett believes that Celtics fans need to be patient as none of the players available will bring instant gratification.

Steve Conroy reminds us that Brian Rolston, a member of the Team USA World Cup team, had a lousy season and is a free agent.

Bill Griffith reports on the 25th birthday of ESPN as it shares its birthday with Paul Mara of Belmont. NECN’s Chris Collins makes the case for saving the marriage between Garciaparra and the Red Sox in this week’s The Improper Bostonian. But there is a curious line in there in that Collins believes that Nomar is more popular in these parts than Tom Brady. That may have been true before 2004. Things have changed lately though.

NESN has the Sox-Mariners today at 2:05 as Curt Schilling gets the start at Fenway.

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