Grapefruit League Notes

Boston Legend Pesky Hit by Line Drive

Monday, March 20, 2006

Johnny Pesky broke a bone in his lower leg after he was hit by a line drive during a college game, and the 86-year-old Red Sox icon was headed back to Boston.

Pesky, who serves as a Red Sox instructor during spring training, suffered a non-displaced fracture of the left fibula on Saturday while watching a game between Suffolk (Mass.) and Denison (Ohio) University on a back field at Boston's camp.

He was wearing a removable boot yesterday and said his injury is expected to take four to six weeks to heal. But he's hoping for a quicker return, by April 11 -- when Boston plays its home opener against Toronto.

"I want to be ready for Opening Day," he said. "I don't want to run out there like a little pigeon." . . .

The Red Sox signed OF Juan Gonzalez to a minor league contract. Gonzalez, 36, had one at-bat last season. Boston has few available roster spots but the right-handed hitting Gonzalez could spell lefty-hitting RF Trot Nixon . . . .

Houston's top relievers, Brad Lidge and Dan Wheeler , looked fine in their first game back from the World Baseball Classic. Each pitched a perfect inning in a 5-2 loss to the Tigers. . . .

He's not yet the Oliver Perez of 2004. That doesn't mean the Pirates weren't eager to get the left-hander back in their rotation following his two-week stay with Mexico in the World Baseball Classic. Perez, erratic with his velocity and control, gave up a two-run home run to Shea Hillenbrand while lasting two innings in his first Pirates start this spring, a 9-7 win over the Blue Jays.

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